What is the Party Wall Act?

The Party Wall Act etc. 1996 comes into play during three types of work; when working on an existing shared (or party) wall, when building new structures upto or across the boundary of adjoining land and when excavating in close proximity to neighbouring properties.

If you are carrying out this type of work you will need to serve the affected neighbouring property with a notice. Once a legal notice has been served upon the neighbours they can either consent to the works or have a Party Wall Surveyor represent them.

The Surveyor can either be what is known as an Agreed Surveyor whereby one individual acts for both neighbours independently and impartially or alternatively the Adjoining Owner may appoint their own Surveyor and the two Surveyors will then liaise in order to bring about an agreement.

The Party Wall Act is there to facilitate and enable building work to take place whilst protecting all parties from damage that may occur and spurious claims by clearly identifying pre-existing and post-work damage. The act also controls specific aspects of the work that affect an Adjoining Owner, to make the construction process smoother and less disturbing. In this way, neighbours can afford costly legal disputes by having a professional Surveyor look at both the particular legal and construction issues which arise as result of undertaking building work.

Visit GOV.UK for more information or read through the RICS Party Wall Guide here.