Building Owners

As a building owner proposing to carry out works covered by the Act, you must give adjoining owners notice of your intentions in the way set down by the Act.

Your intentions may be to –

Build on or at the boundary of your 2 properties

work on an existing party wall or party structure

dig below and near to the foundation level of their property

Which could include –

building a new wall

cutting into a party wall

making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper

removing chimneys from a party wall

knocking down and rebuilding a party wall

Although your neighbours cannot stop you from developing you property in a lawful manner, they do have rights which can affect how and when your works are carried out.

Party Wall Notices

Notices must be served on all parties concerned, e.g. leaseholders, freeholders and under the act the following time scales need to be adhered to for each section of the Act–

Section 1 Notice / Line of Junction Notice (One month notice must be given)

If you are planning to build a new wall either as a Party Wall or a Party fence wall (astride a boundary) subject to your neighbour’s consent, or up to the line of junction and wholly on your own land, a Section 1 Notice must be served. If a proposed wall needs foundations to a lower depth than your neighbours foundations, a Section 6 notice would also be required.

Section 3 Notice / Party Structure Notice (Two months notice must be given)

If you are planning to cut into a Party Wall to insert flashings or a damp proof course, cut away chimney breasts or projections, raise, rebuild repair, underpin, expose the Party Wall to the weather or enclose upon a wall on or at the line of junction turning it into a Party Wall, in such cases a Section 3 Notice must be served.

Section 6 Notice / Notice of Adjacent Excavation (One month notice must be given)

If you are planning to excavate within 3m of neighbour’s foundations to a lower depth, or within 6m to a lower depth than a line struck at 45 degrees down from the underside of the neighbour’s foundations, then a section 6 notice must be served.
When serving a Section 6 Notice, plans and sections of the proposed works must also be provided.

You can speak to your neighbour to explain the work you want to carry out, before giving notice in writing.

Should you choose to appoint Practical Party Wall Limited as your Party Wall agent we would serve initial notices on your behalf.

Your adjoining owner can choose either of the following options when responding to the notice –

  • Consent
  • Dissent

If adjoining owner opts to dissent to your proposals then its at this stage Practical Party Wall Limited would become your appointed Surveyor acting on your behalf to agreeing the necessary Party Wall Award between both parties.

Your adjoining owner must also appoint a surveyor this can be either of the following –

  • Agreed Surveyor:
    Appointed by both the Building and Adjoining owner, and is required to act impartially to administer the rights and duties of both owners. This option can be both more time and cost efficient.
  • Independent Surveyor:
    Appointing an independent Surveyor of their choice.

All notices served are followed up after 14 days and if your adjoining owners have failed to respond in writing to the initial notice within this period then a ‘Section 10(4) Notice’ will need to be served advising that both parties are now deemed to be in dispute as its assumed the adjoining owner has dissented to the works.

The Section 10(4) Notice will advise that the adjoining owner has a further 10 days to appoint their own Surveyor but failing to respond in writing within this period, the Act state you as a Building Owner will appoint a Surveyor on their behalf to progress matters and ensure proposed works are not delayed any further.

Please note as the Building Owner you have the legal responsibility to cover the cost of your neighbours surveyors fees.

You are of course within your rights to serve Notices independently but if you was to serve a Notice incorrectly and a dispute was to emerge, the Notice may be deemed invalid which could lead to new Notices being served and furthermore legal expenses in a civil court which will no doubt cause unforeseen delays.

If would like any further advice on the best way to action the Act correctly, please do contact us today.