Party Walls Act Matters

The Party Walls Act 1996 provides certain rights to owners of a building to enter an adjoining property to carry out works to a party wall or to a party structure such as the repairing or rebuilding of a party wall. However, the provisions of the Party Walls Act  will not apply and no action can be taken under the Act unless a notice has first been properly served on the adjoining owner in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

An owner has to give two months written notice on building works that affect a party wall or boundary or one month’s notice for excavations. Upon receipt of the notice the adjoining owner can agree or disagree with what is proposed. Where they disagree, the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes.

The aim of the Act is to govern the actions of the owner wishing to carry out the works and to provide protection for the adjoining owner by requiring the party carrying out the works to put in place sufficient safeguards to protect the adjoining owner’s property.

Generally, where the adjoining owner has agreed to the proposed works and the works are straightforward, there may be no need to appoint a surveyor or have a party wall award. Where the adjoining owners have objected to the proposed works as set out in the notice then the Act sets out a framework for the resolution of this dispute by the appointment of a joint independent surveyor to look at the proposed works and make an award that details the works to be carried out and sets out a schedule of condition of the adjoining property.