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The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

Owners Obligations

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 took effect from 1st July 1997 throughout England and Wales. The Party Wall Act was introduced to protect the interests of property owners involved or affected by building work. It covers situations where you intend to carry out building works which involve:

  • Work on an existing wall which is shared with another property
  • Building on the boundary with a neighbouring property
  • Excavating near a neighbouring building

In these instances, the Act requires a formal notice to be served on the owner of an adjoining property before undertaking building work. Agreement should be reached with the adjoining owner before the work starts.

The Act protects owners from a situation where work carried out by a neighbour could affect their property. It also allows people to carry out work without being hindered by unreasonable neighbours.

You must establish whether that work falls within the scope of the Act. If it does, you are required to serve the statutory notice on all those defined by the Act as adjoining owners.

You should remember that reaching agreement with adjoining owners on a project that falls within the scope of the Act, does not remove the possible need for Planning Permission or Building Regulation Approval. It is a civil matter between building owners.

Please note the Building Control service does NOT control or enforce the Party Wall Act.

In order to be clear whether your planned work does come within the Act, you may wish to seek professional advice.

Where can I obtain guidance and advice?

We have produced a Customer Guide for housholders dealing with the Act for the first time. This provides an introduction to the Act and its implications on your development. This can be downloaded and printed below.

There is also a free Commmunities and Local Government (CLG) booklet available from us to help you. The CLG booklet also includes model letters and forms for your use. Alternatively, further information can also be obtained from the CLG Webpage


Enquiries regarding locally based specialists dealing with party wall matters may be sought at http://www.partywalls.org.uk/.

Download the latest Newsletter, called 'Party Wall Surveyor' from the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors website.

The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors is there to promote the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Please do look at their website http://www.fpws.org.uk/ as there are useful flow charts and an information leaflet explaining party wall matters.

Advice and guidance on the Act may be sought from the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors on 01424 883300, email : enq@fpws.info or http://www.fpws.org.uk/. The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors have also produced a leaflet which you can download at http://fpws.org.uk/explanatory.aspx .

The following professional bodies hold lists of their members who may be willing to offer advice or act as a " surveyor " under the Act.

The Association of Building Engineers

Tel : 01604 404121

web site at : http://www.abe.org.uk/

or The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Tel : 020 7222 7000

web site at : http://www.rics.org.uk/

Boundary Disputes

Minor disagreements can quickly become a full-scale dispute involving solicitors letters and threats of court action. Further guidance can be sought from the RICS website at http://www.rics.org/disputeresolution.

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Party Wall Act Customer Guide

Our Customer Guide will help you to understand the implications of the Party Wall Act and the affect it may have on your development.

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Modified: 2014-01-24
Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:04:28
Author: Amanda Mellor
Editor: Allison.Helyer
RDCMS ID: 2375