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Party Wall (WikiPedia)
A party wall (occasionally parti-wall or parting wall, also known as common wall or as a demising wall) is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that is shared by the occupants of each residence or business. Typically, the builder lays the wall along a property line dividing two terraced houses, so that one half of the wall’s thickness lies on each side. This type of wall is usually structural. Party walls can also be formed by two abutting walls built at different times. The term can be also used to describe a division between separate units within a multi-unit apartment complex. Very often the wall in this case is non-structural but designed to meet established criteria for sound and/or fire protection, i.e. a firewall.
The Party Wall Act 1996
as it impacts the garden
At first sight, it is simple to believe that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not impact garden building, however it does affect the building of border walls even if not part of structures and can likewise applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 came into force in 1997, so it is now law and offers you rights and responsibilities whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing work on a pertinent structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to limit fences.
The Party Wall Act does not impact any requirement for Planning Permission for any work carried out. Having Preparation Consent does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act comes into impact if someone is preparing to do deal with an appropriate structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not just indicate the wall in between two semi-detached homes, as far as gardeners are concerned it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the boundary line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the homes but is not part of any structure.
- Excavation close to a neighbouring home.
For information of how the Party Wall Act affects structure operate in general, take a look at this page.
Similar to all work affecting neighbours, it is constantly much better to reach a friendly agreement instead of turn to any law. Even where the work needs a notification to be served, it is much better to informally discuss the designated work, think about the neighbours remarks, and modify your strategies (if proper) before serving the notice.
What garden work needs a notice and authorization.
The basic concept of the Party Wall Act is that all work which may have a result upon the structural strength or support function of the party wall or might cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall should be alerted. If in doubt, advice should be sought from a regional Building Control Office or expert surveyor/architect.
Operate in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act consist of:
- To rebuild/build a party and/or demolish boundary wall.
- To increase the height or density of a party border wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring structure where the excavation will go listed below the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
- Excavations within 6 metres of a neighbouring structure where the excavation will go below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the structures of the neighbouring structure.
If the planned work on a boundary wall falls under the Party Wall Act, a notification must be provided to all affected neighbouring parties. The notification must include (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall leaflet):.
- The owners of the residential or commercial property carrying out the work.
- The address of the property.
- A complete description of the proposed work (this will normally be simply a single sentence detailing the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear declaration that the notification is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notice is being served.
- If the work involves excavations, a drawing showing the depth, position and so on
If the planned work is a new border wall as much as or astride the limit line the procedure of serving a notification under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The person intending to perform the work needs to serve a written notification a minimum of one months before the desired start of the work to every neighbouring party giving details of the work to be performed.
- Each neighbouring party must react in composing providing approval or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party does nothing within 14 days of getting the notice, the result is to put the notification into conflict. However no official contract is required for a wall as much as the limit line, the neighbour just requires not to object in writing.
- No work may start on a wall astride the boundary line till all neighbouring celebrations have actually concurred in writing to the notification (or a modified notice).
See below concerning what happens in the event of a dispute/objection.
If the prepared work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notice needs to be served a minimum of one month prior to the prepared start day of the work. Neighbouring celebrations should offer written arrangement within 14 days or a disagreement is deemed to have actually happened.
See below concerning what occurs in the event of a dispute/objection.
What occurs if a conflict develops.
If agreement can not be reached between neighbouring celebrations, the process is as follows:.
- A Surveyor or Surveyors is/are designated to identify a unbiased and reasonable Award, either:.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all celebrations).
- Each party designates their own Property surveyor to represent the private parties.
The individual who is performing the work will generally need to pay all the expenses of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Property surveyor needlessly – in the opinion of the Surveyor. It should be kept in mind that any Surveyor needs to act within their statutory duties and propose a fair and neutral Award.
- A single ‘Concurred Surveyor’ (someone acceptable to all celebrations).
- The Agreed Surveyor, or the private Surveyors collectively, will produce an Award which should be reasonable and unbiased to all parties.
- When an Award has actually been made, all parties have 14 days to interest a County Court against the Award.
Once you have agreement.
Once you have arrangement, all work should adhere to the notification. All the contracts must be maintained to ensure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer of the property may wish to establish that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
- We have actually just provided a quick outline of the Party Wall Act here as it affects garden work but take a look at the Communities and City government site for a more comprehensive explanatory pamphlet including example letters for notifications and actions.
- If a notification gets here suddenly, talking about designated work with neighbours is totally free and can prevent misconception which might develop.
- Your regional Structure Control Office may be able to offer complimentary guidance regarding the Party Wall Act and how it applies to specific situations.
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