The majority of building works carried out involve a Party Wall Notice, below is the most common form work where a Party Wall Notice is required.
The Party Wall Act 1996 has been put in place for a number of reasons involving construction works and alterations. The Party Wall Act is there to protect yourself and your neighbour(s).
As a general rule of thumb we advise our clients that a party wall notice is to be served to your neighbours prior to the building works begin (min. 8 weeks). This is to allow for your neighbour to respond and or address any queries they may have. Allowing time before the works begin to organise the party wall notice, will in most cases prevent any delays in the works or any unforeseen circumstances.
A party wall is a wall shared between adjacent properties and owned by two owners, for example the wall between a semi detached or terraced house. When works being carried out to this wall other than maintenance, a party wall notice will need to be served. An example of when a party wall notice has to be served is with a loft conversion, the new steel beams supporting the ridge and floor will be inserted into the party wall, a party wall notice will need to be served. Also with rear or side extensions if your neighbour is within 3m of your extension and you are digging foundations that will be below their foundations a party wall notice will need to be served. If you are building an extension and the excavation for foundations are within 6m of your neighbour and the structure within 6m is within a 45 degree plane of your excavation a part wall notice needs to be served. Once a notice has been served your neighbour(s) then has the right to dissent and appoint their own surveyor.
It is always advisable that you serve a party wall notice to your neighbour(s) as the completion of the works may be delayed and can even be stopped until a notice has been put in place. The Party Wall Act 1996 is an effective tool to protect yourself as well as your neighbour and to avoid any disputes regarding the works to be carried out. If you have been served a notice by your neighbour, it is advisable to go through the notice carefully to obtain a full understanding of the works and see all drawings associated with the works. If you have any queries or wish to dispute the notice you can appoint a surveyor at your neighbours expense to represent you in the matter.