What Is A Party Wall Notice?

What Does A Party Wall Notice Mean For Property Owners?

What Does A Party Wall Notice Mean For Property Owners?

Why Is It Important To Serve A Party Wall Agreement Notice Properly And In A Timely Manner?

What Should The Party Wall Notice Include

Can You Serve A Party Wall Notice Yourself?

What Are The Consequences Of Not Serving A Party Wall Agreement Notice Correctly

How to Avoid Problems During The Party Wall Notification Process

serve a party wall notice

What is a Party Wall Agreement Notice?

The Party Wall Act (1996) means property owners have a responsibility to serve Party Wall Notices before undertaking work on, or near, a boundary wall or structure. The Act protects both parties from disputes and legal wrangling. In principle, the act of sending a Party Wall Notice is simply confirming your plans in writing and giving the owner of an adjoining property the right to respond.

For the majority of major works, this needs to be done at least two months before the commencement of work. This straightforward guide has been prepared to take property owners through the process step by step.  If you’re a home or commercial property owner with construction plans, it pays to have all the information at your fingertips.

What Does A Party Wall Notice Mean For Property Owners?

‘Party Wall’ describes a boundary between two properties. It is a wall or similar structure in which two, or more, parties have an interest in because it forms or straddles a boundary. It could be a shared gable end in a semi-detached property, for example, or a garden wall that runs along a boundary line.

how to serve a party wall notice

Property Owners are legally required to consider the impact of planned construction work or excavations on Party Walls. The Party Wall Act requires property owners planning work to share their plans with the owners of adjoining properties and gain their agreement before commencing work. The Party Wall legislation exists to prevent disputes and disagreements from ending up in court.

The first part of the process is preparing and sending a Party Wall Notice.

The Different Types Of Party Wall Notices

In considering Party Wall details, there are three main types of notice property owners should be aware of.

A Section 1 Notice should be issued when you want to build something new on the boundary line. It is sometimes referred to as a Line of Junction Notice.

A Section 3 Notice is required when you want to work on an existing shared wall or structure within a property or straddling a boundary.

A Section 6 Notice is needed for any excavations within 3m of your neighbour’s property that will be deeper than their foundations.

The format for each is similar and the goal is to share your plans in detail with your neighbour including scheduled start and completion dates.

Why Is It Important To Serve A Party Wall Agreement Notice Properly And In A Timely Manner?

A Party Wall Agreement Notice is a legal requirement. It is, of course, seen as good practice and courtesy for building owners to speak to their neighbours informally about planned construction. However, sending a Party Wall Notice is a Statutory Duty and failure to comply can leave you in legal hot water.

It is always best to get formal advice from a Party Wall Surveyor before commencing any work.

what is a party wall notice

The law states that you should give at least two months’ prior notice for most work covered by the act. As a general rule, the more notice you can give the better. The adjoining property owner has 14 days to respond. It is worth remembering that work can’t commence until a Party Wall Agreement has been signed.

What Should The Party Wall Notice Include

All Party Wall Act notices should include the following as a minimum.

The name and address of the people doing the work – the building owner(s). They need to sign and date the notice too.

Notices for excavations must include plans and sections showing the site and depth of excavations and details of underpinning and foundations.

Details and descriptions of the intended work. Drawings are considered good practice.

A schedule including start and finish dates for the work.

If you are wondering what a party wall agreement looks like, there are numerous templates available online. However, a letter containing the above information is generally considered sufficient.

Can You Serve A Party Wall Notice Yourself?

“Can I do a party wall agreement myself?” is a valid question. The answer is, technically, yes. Any property owner is legally entitled to serve a Party Wall Notice directly. There is no obligation, at least initially, to use the services of a Party Wall Surveyor.

Dissent The Notice

However, the preparation of a notice in sufficient detail to gain acceptance can require specialist construction knowledge and undoubtedly benefits from experience. Trying to gain a party wall agreement without surveyor help is quite a challenging task unless it’s your full-time job.

Managing a Party Wall Notice is perhaps best left to the professionals. Any costs associated with support from a Chartered Party Wall Surveyor could, after all, prove relatively small compared with the cost of managing any dispute further down the line.

What Are The Consequences Of Not Serving A Party Wall Agreement Notice Correctly

An incorrect Party Wall Notice or one missing sufficient detail is unlikely to be accepted by your adjoining property owner or their representatives.

Such ‘dissent’ of a Party Wall notice means independent Party Wall Surveyors need to be hired to adjudicate on any areas of conflict. The Act specifies the adjudicating Surveyor is paid for by the building owner who has served the Notice.

party wall act notice

You may be asked for further information and clarity or require corrections, modifications or amendments. These will inevitably add delay and cost to the process. The best way to avoid this is to invest in getting the Party Wall Notice correct in the first place. It is undoubtedly time and money well spent.

How to Avoid Problems During The Party Wall Notification Process?

The best way to avoid problems is to trust the process to professionals. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has a range of support available for home and property owners and can advise both parties involved in any process.  RICS consumer guides on Party Walls and other processes are available online.  Written by party wall experts, their guide describes what is needed from property owners, how to choose surveyors, how the award works and who pays.

Appoint A Party Wall Surveyor

The good news is Chartered Party Wall Surveyors can, and do, provide independent, fair and transparent advice to help neighbours navigate through the Party Wall process. Starting on the right foot by issuing a Party Wall Notice correctly, and in the right spirit, can prevent dissent, dispute, delays and additional costs for your projects. In most cases, a Chartered Surveyor can work for both parties involved which greatly also reduces the risk of problems, disputes and delays.

The best way to avoid problems is to communicate with your neighbour openly, honestly and fairly. This can start informally before a formal Party Wall Notice is required. At that stage, professional support will ensure that your Party Wall Notice is complete, sufficiently detailed and likely to be accepted. If it’s not, a Chartered Party Wall Surveyor is required, by law, to help you find a solution. If it is, then that’s the job done and work can commence as planned.

If you would like to discuss your Party Wall requirements further, please call our office on 020 7391 7100 or email us at surveyor@fandt.com.