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I Have A Good Relationship with My Neighbour – Do I Need the Party Wall Act?

Shore Engineering received a call from ‘Mrs Jones’ last week.

“Hi Jason, I want to build a simple rear extension next month. I have spoken to my neighbour and they are happy with my plans. My architect mentioned something about the Party Wall Act – do I actually need this if my neighbours are happy?”

We can’t tell you how many times we are asked this – but it’s a perfectly normal question to ask.

Relationships with your next-door neighbours are typically strong before building works commence next door. This relationship however may become strained once builders arrive on site, parking is restricted, and dust and noise is apparent throughout the day. It would be to your advantage and in accordance with the Party Wall Act to commence procedures and resolve any future disputes before they arise. As the Act forms part of UK legislation, there is a legal obligation to ensure the Party Wall Act is fully complied with.

We always advise that if your neighbour is happy to consent verbally there should be no problems formally consenting in writing via a party wall notice.

To start the party wall process you will need to serve a party wall notice. A party wall notice outlines the proposed works that apply under the Party Wall Act (with all the legal jargon) and this is served on your neighbour with a reply form.

Your neighbour will have an option to consent to the notice within 14 days without the need to appoint a surveyor.

Shore Engineering serve party wall notices free of charge which includes a simple tick box for the neighbour to consent to the works, sign and return.

Fortunately, ‘Mrs Jones’s’ project did run smoothly, evidently party wall notice was served, and her neighbour duly consented without any problems – or party wall fees!

Follow Shore Engineering’s blog for further insight into a day in the life of a party wall surveyor and for useful information in relation to the Party Wall Act.


Party Wall Act Advice

If you require advice on any matters relating to the Party Wall Act, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01206 230 820 or by e-mail.

*This post is published for general information only. Shore Engineering Ltd cannot take responsibility for any loss or damage suffered as a result of any unintended inaccuracy contained within the post.

What works fall under the Party Wall Act?

What Works Fall Under the Party Wall Act?

Now, one of our most common enquiries amongst potential clients and agents is ‘does the Party Wall Act apply for my works’?

At Shore Engineering, we provide free consultations and analysis of drawings to determine if the Party Wall Act may or may not apply. If you do not have drawings to hand, a simple conversation is typically enough to determine if the Act applies.

However, we understand that you will want some knowledge of what may be required before you start consulting party wall surveyors. We thought it would be a good idea to outline the typical works that fall under the Act and the specific sections they apply to.

 

 

Extensions

You may be planning a rear extension to open up the living room or kitchen; you may want to build a two-story side extension to add a bedroom for impending additions to the family or a simple conservatory for additional space.

Whatever the reason for extending may be, extensions usually have one thing in common – excavations for new foundations. Section 6 of the Party Wall Act 1996 makes specific reference to excavating within 3 or 6 metres of a permanent neighbouring structure. Timber fence and sheds do not count as a permanent structure.

3 metre rule

If you dig excavations within 3 metres of a neighbour’s property and below their foundations, then you need to serve a party wall notice. Further information on this can be found on our website. 

6 metre rule

The 6-metre rule is slightly more complicated. You would need to calculate the assumed depth of the neighbour’s foundations and the proposed depth of your foundations. You draw a hypothetical line 45˚ from the bottom of the neighbour’s foundations and if this coincides with your foundations, then a party wall notice is required. Any adjoining structure within 6 metres would require a notice.

The 6-metre rule usually applies with deep excavations such as piling.

 

 

Loft Conversions

Loft conversions are a fantastic opportunity to make use of any unused space to create an extra bedroom or two. If you share a party wall with your neighbour, it is very likely the Party Wall Act will apply, and notices will need to be served.

Proposals often require insertion of steel beams into a party wall to accommodate a new suspended floor or alterations to the roof.

All additional works to a party wall would be covered under section 3 of the Act – this section is quite vast and will cover additional works.

General alterations

General alterations are somewhat more open ended as many works would be too minor to warrant the services of a party wall surveyor. However, items that include removing chimney breasts on party walls, demolition and re-building shared garden walls and fixing/removing partitions to the party wall may all apply.

Section 3 of the Act will cover these works and an appropriate party wall notice should be served on all adjoining neighbours directly affected.

Please see the table below to show the type of works that may apply to your project.

Type of Works Potential section of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
Extension s. 1, 3 & 6
Loft Conversion s. 3
Internal works s. 3

Different section may sometimes interlink with one another.  At Shore Engineering, we serve all party wall notices free of charge.

Please download our helpful flow chart which outlines the full party wall process.

If you require advice on any matters relating to the Party Wall Act please do not hesitate to contact us on 01206 230 820 or by e-mail.

Follow Shore Engineering’s blog for further insight into a day in the life of a party wall surveyor and for useful information in relation to the Party Wall Act.

*This post is published for general information only.  Shore Engineering Ltd cannot take responsibility for any loss or damage suffered as a result of any unintended inaccuracy contained within the post.