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Party wall FAQs

Are you planning to carry out any building work on your property? If yes, then you need to think about your neighbours, especially if the work to be carried out is on the boundary of a shared property. This is known as a party wall. What is and isn’t allowed can sometimes be confusing, as are the regulations surrounding party walls. Here we answer some of the most popular frequently asked questions. We hope they help you.

What exactly is a party wall?

A party wall is the shared boundary of two or more properties. This is either a boundary wall that is part of one building, divides a property via a garden wall (but not the fence), or a wall that is on an owner’s property that separates the building and which is used by other owners.

What is a party structure?

A party structure differs from a party wall. This is usually a boundary that involves flats or houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs). This party wall structure usually refers to the floor or wall.

What type of work do I need to tell my neighbour about?

If you are planning to carry out any type of work that affects your neighbour, and in particular the boundary wall, then you will need to inform them if:

• You plan to build up to or on the boundary of the two properties.
• You plan to work on an existing party wall structure or party wall boundary.
• Any work will involve digging near to the foundation of their property.

What is a Party Wall Agreement?

The Party Wall Agreement is when the work has been agreed and a Party Wall Award has been served. This basically sets out the work that has been agreed and what will happen in case anything goes wrong.

In most cases, the Party Wall Award also states how the work is to be carried out, if there are any access issues, as well as any costs or issues surrounding security during the building work.

What are the types of work that need a Party Wall Agreement?

The types of work will include the following:

• Cutting or altering a party wall structure.
• The building of a new wall.
• If you plan to make a party wall deeper, shorter or taller.
• Knocking down a party wall.
• Rebuilding a party wall.

You will need a party wall notice if you are going to carry out the following type of work on your property.

• An extension or loft conversion.
• A basement conversion.
• Any work that affects the boundary wall.
• Any type of evacuation work that is being carried out next to your neighbour that is within 3m of their property.

What is the required distance between my property and my neighbour?

Is it within the 3m mark? This is important if you wish to carry out any foundation work for a new build, if you are reducing the ground level or even if you want to build a basement.

What do I not need to tell my neighbour about?

They don’t need to know about any minor changes that you plan to do such as drilling into the wall, putting up shelving, any type of electrical work or if you plan to plaster the wall.

How do I tell my neighbours about my planned building work?

This is when you will need a Party Wall Notice to alert your neighbours to any planned work that affects the party wall or boundary.

This needs to be in the form of writing and has to be issued within two months of starting the planned work. Once the Party Wall Notice has been served you then have a year to complete the work. There is nothing stopping you from talking to your neighbour, but you must issue a Party Wall Notice in writing. You do not need planning permission to issue a Party Wall Notice.

How do I go about obtaining a Party Wall Notice?

You can issue your own Party Wall Notice, as there are many templates that you can use that are found online. However, most people choose to use the services of a Party Wall Surveyor, as the job will be done thoroughly and to any building regulations.

What is the role of a Party Wall Surveyor?

The Party Wall Surveyor is a professional who can give you expert help and advice on your obligations and the overall procedure of Party Wall Agreements and work that is to be carried out. They will look at any plans and check that they conform to the Party Wall Act regulations. This will avoid any dispute in the future. They can then help issue the Party Wall Notice, carry out a Party Wall site survey and issue the Party Wall Award to all parties involved.

How do my neighbours respond?

They need to respond in writing. They can either agree to the proposed work, refuse the planned work, which will then kick start dispute resolution, or they may request that additional work should be carried out at the same time, although they may need to pay for this.

How long do they have to respond?

No matter how they choose to respond, they have to do so within fourteen days.

Who will pay for the work?

This is often confusing – who pays for work, you or the neighbour? In most cases, if you have instigated the building work then it is you who must pay all costs.

However, if the work to be carried out is because it needs repairing or has defects, then they may be liable to share the cost with you. This is when a Party Wall Surveyor will work out these costs for you.

Party Wall regulations can be very confusing. Here at AC Design Solutions, we offer a range of services including party wall services in London. If you are currently searching for party wall surveyors London-wide or building regulation services in London, we can help you. Simply get in touch with us today.