What is the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is a legal procedure which should be followed when building work involves excavations close to a neighbouring property, or involves cutting into an existing party wall. Excavations are generally required for extensions or basement conversions. Cutting into a party wall usually occurs during loft conversions.
Party Wall Advice
AParty wall is generally a wall shared between two properties, or it can be two walls where two detached properties are situated close to one another. It can also be a garden wall that sits on a boundary line.
Why Should I follow the act?
The act permits owners to carry out certain specific works, whilst at the same time protecting the interests of anyone else who might be affected by the works.
The act is designed to avoid or minimise disputes by making sure property owners notify their neighbours in advance of certain proposed works. Certain access rights are granted to owners to enable the works to be carried out.
One key element of the process is a condition survey of the neighbouring property before and after the works. The condition is recorded for the structure, the walls, and ceilings – both internally and externally. This enables a check of any changes to the neighbouring property.
In addition many solicitors are now asking to see any Party Wall awards during the conveyancing process when properties are sold. They help to reduce the risk of any disputes connected to building works.