Party Wall Act 1996

The Party Wall Act 1996 (the Act) came into force on the 1 July 1997. It provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

Under the Act anyone intending to carry out work on or near a party wall must give the adjoining owners written notice of their intentions. Adjoining owners can agree or disagree with what is proposed and where there is a disagreement the Act provides for resolution of disputes.

The Act covers work such as structural alterations to a party wall. This could include the cutting in to the wall to take the bearing of a beam (e.g. to take a beam when making a though lounge, or in loft conversion). It also covers excavation works within 3 or 6 meters of a neighbouring building depending on the depth of the proposed foundations. Simple works such a hanging shelves or re-plastering are not covered by the Act.

If you are about to carry out works which will come under the requirements of the act you should first speak to you neighbours. You should then detail your proposals in writing and ask for your neighbour’s written consent.

The act is separate from planning or building regulations control. You must remember that reaching agreement with your neighbour under the act does not remove the possible need for planning permission or building regulations approval.

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