Building Owners

When you carry out party wall work you have legal responsibilities and obligations under The Party Wall etc Act 1996 BUT you have rights as well.

Section 2 of the Act confers rights and responsibilities but only if you engage the Act and follow the required process.

The most commonly used rights are;

  • To underpin, thicken or raise a party structure, a party fence wall or an external wall which belongs to the Building Owner and is built against a party structure or a party fence wall, including excavating up to the boundary for foundations for a new wall.
  • Cut into a wall to take the bearing for a beam
  • Raise the height of a wall and/or increase the thickness of a party wall and to cut off any projections/overhangs which prevent you from doing so
  • Demolish and rebuild the party wall including foundations up to the boundary
  • Underpin the whole thickness of the wall
  • Protect two adjoining walls by putting a flashing from higher over the lower, even if this requires cutting into Adjoining Owner’s independent building.


Section 8 of the Act also gives you the right to enter the premises of the Adjoining Owner for the purposes of executing any work in pursuance of the Act. With these right come responsibilities/ obligations to your Adjoining Owners;

  • To serve the appropriate notices and give the relevant notice periods BEFORE starting work.
  • To carry out the work with the minimum of inconvenience to your neighbours.
  • To make good all the damage to any adjoining properties caused by your work.
  • To pay all the Party Walls Surveyors fees.

Issues

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 is often over looked by Building Owners during the planning stages when the focus is on the architectural and design elements and the obtaining necessary contents. As the notice periods will be between one and two months such as oversight can set the works back considerably.

There are other potential consequences if you do not follow the process laid down by the Act;

  • The Adjoining Owner(s) may well get an injunction to stop the work
  • You may be responsible to the Adjoining Owners for cost and damages.