What Are Party Walls And When Do I Call A Surveyor?

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 has now been operative throughout England and Wales for nearly 20 years. Prior to 1997 party wall legislation only applied to London. The origins of party wall matters stem all the way back to the great fire of London in 1666. As a result of this conflagration there was a major redevelopment of London with buildings developed by Sir Christopher Wren and other well-known designers and master builders and the birth of the masonry party wall.

Land and Property Professionals, Robinson & Hall explain Party Walls and when you need a surveyor. Party Walls are generally thought of as being a wall that separates two buildings. However, the Act is far wider reaching than this simple view by virtue of the 'etc.' in the title. In simplified terms there are three main types of work where the Act applies:-

Section 1 - building on the line of junction between two properties. Section 2 - work to Party Walls. Section 6 - excavation work within 3 metres of buildings on the next door land where these excavations go lower than the foundations of next door. For very deep foundations this distance extends to buildings within 6 metres. The Act covers all domestic and commercial property and requires notices to be served on neighbours in advance of the work commencing. In certain situations it is necessary to serve multiple notices covering two or all three sections of the Act. Stuart Brown, Senior Building Surveyor at Robinson & Hall has been acting as Party Wall Surveyor throughout the lifetime of the Act. In his experience, the most common questions are:

Q: Can I use the Act to stop the work going...

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