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  • Writer's pictureCristina Cuevas

The Party Wall: A Guide to Notifiable Building Works

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

If you're planning any building work near or on a shared property boundary, commonly referred to as a "party wall," it is crucial to inform your neighbors. Party walls can either be part of a building or stand alone, but they do not include structures like garden walls or wooden fences. To gain a comprehensive understanding of party wall regulations, we recommend reading the government's party wall booklet, which covers everything you need to know about party walls. In this blog post, we will highlight the different categories of notifiable works under the Party Wall Act.


Party wall Act





Notifiable works will fall under one of three categories


#1: Work which has a direct effect on a party wall (Lofts, removal of chimneys, and structural reconfiguration)


 

#1: Work which has a direct effect on a party wall -Section 2 of the Party Wall Act



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This category includes activities that are often associated for lofts, chimney removal, and structural reconfiguration. Below is the list of clauses that you may need to include within your party wall notices, and how they may apply.


Section 2 (2)(f)to cut into a party structure for any purpose (which may be or include the purpose of installing padstones/bearer plates and steel support beams); This section typically applies to loft conversions where steel beams are necessary to be inserted into the party wall.



Section 2 (2)(l). to raise a party wall ; This section applies, for example, if you want to raise the party wall for a mansard loft conversion, where the party wall must be raised in conjunction with the adjoining owner.




Section 2 (2)(n) to expose a party wall or party structure hitherto enclosed, subject to providing adequate weathering. *The purpose of this section is really to protect an adjoining owner where a building owner plans to remove part or all of his structure and, as a result, expose the party structure. It may be necessary to protect the newly exposed wall with felt and battens if the exposure is temporary, or if it is to be exposed, a more permanent solution such as rendering may be needed.


There is a minimum of 2 calendar month notice period for your loft conversion.


#2: Excavation Close to an adjoining owner's building


This section is applicable to most extensions. The type of work is covered by Section 6 of the Act and is divided into two parts.



Section 6(1), where


(a) a building owner proposes to excavate, or excavate for and erect a building or structure, within a distance of three metres measured horizontally from any part of a building or structure of an adjoining owner; and


(b) any part of the proposed excavation, building, or structure will within those three metres extend to a lower level than the level of the bottom of the foundations of the building or structure of the adjoining owner.


Section 6(2) where

(a)a building owner proposes to excavate, or excavate for and erect a building or structure, within a distance of six metres measured horizontally from any part of a building or structure of an adjoining owner; and


(b)any part of the proposed excavation, building or structure will within those six metres meet a plane drawn downwards in the direction of the excavation, building or structure of the building owner at an angle of forty-five degrees to the horizontal from the line formed by the intersection of the plane of the level of the bottom of the foundations of the building or structure of the adjoining owner with the plane of the external face of the external wall of the building or structure of the adjoining owner.


The notice period for excavation work which comes within the scope of The Act is 1 calendar month

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#3: The construction of a new wall at the line junction between two properties


This category covers the construction of new walls at the line of junction, i.e., the boundary line between two properties in different ownership. The new wall may be built up to the boundary line but wholly on the land of the building owner or astride the boundary line, i.e., with part of it on each owner's side. If the adjoining owner refuses consent, then the wall must be built wholly on the building owner's side. The construction of a new wall at the line of junction is covered under Section 1 of the act.



There are two practical reasons why a building owner might want to carry out the work detailed under this section of the Act:


1. To maximise the width of a rear extension


If the flank walls of a new extension can be built astride the boundary, then a few extra square feet of internal floor space will be gained. It should be noted that new walls built astride the boundary under this section of the Act will be defined as party walls and may be enclosed by the adjoining owner at a later stage (subject to serving notice and contributing towards the cost of building the wall).


2. To replace an existing boundary wall, fence, or hedge with a party wall or party fence wall.


The notice period for building a new wall at the line of junction is 1 calendar month. Procedures differ from those under Sections 2 and 6 of the Act in that there is no automatic dissent to a notice after 14 days. If the wall that the building owner wishes to construct is wholly on his land and he has had no response to his notice, after one calendar month has passed, he is free to proceed.


How to create your notices


Party wall surveyors and other professionals charge on average £100 per notice, but you can serve the relevant documents for free yourself, and sometimes a more informal approach is helpful. Gov.uk has example notice templates which you can download and use. Alternatively, you can also use the online generator such as the one below to create the two-part printable documents.



Click on the above link where you can create a "Notice of Adjacent Excavation for Extensions," "Party Structure Notice'' for Lofts, and "Line of Junction" if you wish to build astride a boundary line.



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