What is a Party Wall?
A party wall is a shared wall between two houses. It marks the point where the two homes are divided between the owners. It can include:-
- the wall that divides the two buildings
- any garden walls built over a boundary
- any excavations for foundations close to a neighbour’s property (i.e. within 3 or 6 meters depending on the depth of the foundations)
- any new walls constructed at or across a boundary
It’s called a “party” wall because it’s ownership is shared by both property owners. So when one owner wants to do something to their property that impacts on the party wall, the other owner needs to agree.
When will I need a Party Wall Agreement?
You will need a Party Wall Agreement if you are planning major refurbishment work on your home such as an extension, loft conversion, basement conversion, installation of a damp proofing course or other internal construction work. If it’s your neighbour who’s planning the work, then they will need to get agreement from you.
In either circumstance, the Party Wall Agreement must be in place before the work starts, and you must give (or get) at least two months’ notice. These activities are subject to the Party Wall etc Act 1996 , and any reputable builder or architect will know this. The Act is designed to legislate for any potential disputes by making sure property owners notify their neighbours in advance of starting the works.
Which is where Donald Leslie &Co comes in. If you are planning building work, then you will need an experienced chartered surveyor to draw up Schedules of Condition and issue the Party Wall Award. This is the formal document that outlines what work is planned and how it will be carried out.
Or if your neighbour is planning building work and has given you notice, then please get in touch.
At Donald Leslie & Co we have 25 years’ experience in surveying all types of properties in the Chilterns area this helps us advise our clients professionally and pragmatically. If you’re not sure if the Party Wall Act applies then call to chat things through.