The Party Wall Act 1996 - Part Two← Back

If you plan to build a party wall or party fence astride the boundary (even if it is wholly on your land), you must inform the adjoining owner by serving a written notice.

If you start work without having given the notice in the proper way, then the adjoining owner may seek to stop your work through a Court Injunction which could delay your work significantly.

You should serve the notice to the neighbour at least one month prior to the planned start date for building the wall / fence.

Unless your neighbour objects, you may start work one month after your notice was served.

You have the right to place footings and foundations extending under the adjoining owner’s land provided they are not reinforced concrete.

The wall will be built wholly at your own expense and you will have to compensate any adjoining owner for any damage to his property caused by building of the wall, or placing footing on his land.

If  there is a disagreement about any work by building on the boundary line including compensation, the dispute can be settled under the procedure as covered in part one of our blog, which can be found by clicking here.

Excavation near neighbouring buildings
You must inform the adjoining owner by serving them a written notice if you plan to do any of the following:
  • Excavate / construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 3 metres of a neighbouring owner’s building or structure where work will go deeper than the neighbour’s foundations  which would be most likely;
  • Excavate / construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 6 metres of a neighbouring owner’s building. you have to do an assessment of the depth of the foundations to see if it will fall within a zone of influence which is usually a 45 degree line drawn from the bottom of the neighbour’s foundations.

Note: adjoining owners could include your next – but - one neighbour if they have foundations within 6 metres.

 The notice must state whether you propose to strengthen or safeguard the foundations of the building or structure belonging to them.
Plans and sections must show the location and depth of the proposed excavation or foundation and the location of any proposed building which must also accompany the notice.
If special foundations , like piles being used then they will almost certainly need to serve the notice.
If you start the work without having first given notice in the proper way, adjoining owners may seek to stop your work through a court injunction which may add substantial delays and costs to your project.
You are required to serve the written notice at least one month before the planned starting date for the excavation.
If the adjoining owner gives written notice within 14 days agreeing to the proposed works, then the work may go ahead. If the adjoining owner does not respond or objects to the proposed work, a dispute is regarded as having arisen. Refer to our blog the Party Wall Act – Part 1

To continue to Part 3 of this topic, click here.