I get Government information on the Party
From your Local Building Control Department.
How do I know
if it is a Party Wall?
If your building shares the wall with your
neighbours property or your buildings wall
sits astride a boundary. The Act also applies
to garden walls but does not include wooden
fences. If you are in any doubt about the
Act ask the person who is preparing the plans
for your extension about the Party Wall Act.
Do not ignore, it will not go away.
When am I likely
to want to work on a Party Wall?When you want to build an
extension over a garage, especially when the
dividing wall between the properties
are of single brick construction.
When you want to do
a loft conversion.
When you want to underpin
When you want to cut
into a wall to take bearing for steelwork
When you want to demolish
and rebuild a Party wall.
When you want to put
flashing over to protect walls from a higher
to a lower wall.
I do if I want to work on the Party Wall?
You must inform the adjoining owner in writing
of your intentions. If you do not inform your
neighbours in the proper manner they are legally
entitled to stop the work and seek legal redress.
You will probably lose any resulting court
action. A neighbour cannot stop you from working
on a Party Wall provided you have given them
proper notice and followed the terms of the
Act. They can however influence how and when
the work is done. If you are instigating the
building works you must ensure they are done
in a manner that causes the minimum inconvenience,
with sufficient care to provide protection
to the adjacent property and provide for compensation
where any damage is caused to the neighbouring
Who should I
The person or persons who lives in the adjacent
property. In the case of tenants or leaseholders
it will be necessary to inform the landlord
How do I inform
the adjacent owners?
If you do not have a professional advisor
the best way is to wait until you have had
your plans prepared for your extension or
alteration and show them your plans for what
you intend to do. Explain how you do not wish
to cause them any inconvenience and how you
will take measures to protect their property
from any damage. Leave them a copy of the
plans to look at in their own time. You can
then explain about how you have to give them
notice under The Party Wall Act in writing
and hopefully if you have already cleared
up any possible snags they will readily give
consent under the notice. As a helpful tip
it may be a good idea to frame a response
letter for them to sign with a section asking
for their comments. If they are agreeable
they then only have to sign the response.
How do I write
Your own name, address and the date.
The buildings address if different.
A statement that you are serving Notice of
intention to work on the Party Wall under
the terms and conditions of The Party Wall
A description of what you intend to do including
a set of plans where appropriate.
The date that you intend to start.
How do I deliver
If you have talked to them in advance deliver
in person and talk to them.
By post otherwise.
Where the adjacent premises are empty or the
owner is not known you may serve notice addressed
to "The Owner" and fix it to the front door.
The Local Authority does not need a copy of
this notice or any reply, but it is essential
for your own protection that you keep your
When do I serve
At least 60 days before the planned starting
Hopefully if you have handled it carefully
your neighbour will give their consent in
writing. In which case provided you keep them
informed you can proceed with the work when
you are ready.
Your neighbour may serve you with a counter
notice within 14 days expressing concerns.
If you receive a counter notice you must respond
in writing within 14 days or a dispute is
regarded to have arisen.
If after 14 days you have received no reply
from your neighbour a dispute is regarded
to have arisen.
At this point one would hope that you would
not require any further information on the
Party Wall Act.
What if I can't
Try to settle it with your neighbour by friendly
discussion. Provide them with a copy of the
Government booklet on the Party Wall Act 1996
the full 25 page copy. Ensure that they have
a copy of your plans.
If this fails you are left with two alternatives;
You can each jointly appoint an " agreed surveyor"
to draw up an " award." The terms of the Act
state that this should not be the person or
company that you have used to prepare your
Or alternatively if it is getting very difficult,
each of you can appoint your own surveyor
to draw up an award together. Provided the
surveyors are competent they should be able
to agree an award, but in the event of the
surveyors disagreeing they will then jointly
appoint a third surveyor to act as an arbiter.
All surveyors appointed under the disputes
resolution procedures have a duty to act impartially
and consider the interests of both parties.
They are not there to argue the case for each
Who pays the
The surveyor or surveyor decide who pays the
fees for drawing up an award and checking
that the work has been carried out in accordance
with the agreement. Usually the owner who
first planned the work will pay all the costs
concerned with drawing up the award.
Is the award
To all intents and purposes yes.
Who pays for
the Building work?
When an award is made this is stated in the
agreement. Generally it is the person who
wishes for the building work.
The neighbour may pay for part of the cost
when work to a party wall is needed because
of defects or lack of repair for which the
adjoining owner may be responsible.
Or where the adjoining owner requests that
additional work be done.
Where agreement has not been reached the
disputes resolution procedure may be used
specifically to resolve questions of costs.
if my neighbours will not do anything?
If a dispute has arisen and the neighbouring
owner refuses to appoint a surveyor. Again
ensure that he has a copy of the relevant
booklets and a copy of the plans and inform
him that you intend to appoint a second surveyor
on his behalf within the next 14 days. If
you receive no reply to this, appoint a second
surveyor on his behalf to allow the procedure
to go ahead.
Remember to keep copies of all correspondence.
Is there anything
else I should know?
Hopefully not. More information is available
from the booklet provide by the DETR whose
address and telephone number are at the top
of this page. The Party Act 1996 is law and
should not be ignored. As the instigator of
building works it is your responsibility to
know what is required and that the provisions
Ignorance is no defence.
If you are still not sure use the pre-prepared
notice of intention to start building works
(Letter 1), and the reply letter for your
neighbour (Letter 2), supplied below:
Party Wall Letter Downloads
Party Wall Letter 1 (MS Word format -
Party Wall Letter 2 (MS Word format -
Party Wall Letter 1 (Acrobat Reader format
Party Wall Letter 2 (Acrobat Reader format
Copies of the DETR booklet on the Party Wall
Act 1996 are available free of charge from:
PO Box 236,