PARTY WALL ACT
The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions in the way set down in the Act.
The Party Wall Act does not affect any requirement for Planning Permission or Building Regulation Approval for any work undertaken. Likewise, having Planning Permission and/or Building Regulation Approval does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
Party Wall etc. Act 1996, mentions three types of building works which are covered by the ACT.
In simple terms, they are:
1. LINE OF JUNCTION
If agreed by the adjoining owner, the wall may be built astride the boundary line and it is then either a party wall or a party fence wall.
If the adjoining owner does not consent to the wall being a party wall the building owner must not build it astride the boundary but, at his own cost, entirely on his own land, and be entirely responsible for compensating any adjoining owners or occupiers for any damage caused by his works.
2. PARTY STRUCTURE
The Party Wall Act comes into effect if someone is planning to do work on a relevant structure, for the purposes of the Act 'party wall' does not just mean the wall between two semi-detached properties, it covers:
- A wall forming part of only one building but which is on the boundary line between two (or more) properties.
- A wall which is common to two (or more) properties, this includes where someone built a wall and a neighbour subsequent built something butting up to it.
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the boundary line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the properties but is not part of any building.
- Floors and ceilings of flats etc.
- Building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties.
- Cutting into a party wall.
- Making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper.
- Removing chimney breasts from a party wall.
- Knocking down and rebuilding a party wall.
3. ADJACENT EXCAVATION & CONSTRUCTION
Excavation taking place within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure AND where the excavation will go lower than the neighbouring building or structure's foundations
If you plan to:
Section 6(1) - excavate, or excavate for and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 3 metres of any part of a neighbouring owner's building or structure, where any part of that work will go deeper than the neighbour's foundations; or
Section 6(2) - excavate, or excavate for and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 6 metres of any part of a neighbouring owner's building or structure, where any part of that work will meet a line drawn downwards at 45° in the direction of the excavation from the bottom of the neighbour's foundations you must inform the Adjoining Owner or owners by serving a notice.