Party walls are the walls you share with your neighbours.
You may need to follow the requirements of the Party Wall Act if you are carrying out works such as: extensions, damp proofing works, loft conversions or internal or structural alterations.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 ensures that property owners throughout England and Wales must follow the procedure when their building work affects a party wall or party fence wall or excavations are near neighbours’ walls.
An ‘agreed surveyor’ can act for both owners or each neighbour can choose their own surveyor. If problems arise, the surveyor/s will determine the remedy. The Act, if followed, gives you the right to carry out work on or next to party walls. It also protects the interests of others who could be affected by the works.
For works that affect the party wall, your party wall surveyor must give written notice to your neighbours at a set period before starting works. If you don’t get your neighbours written consent The Act allows for both parties to each appoint a surveyor or an ‘agreed surveyor’ who should act impartially. The surveyor/s will prepare an ‘Award’. This specifies the work that can be carried out and how and when it may be done. It will also record the condition of the neighbouring property before work commences. Generally, the building owner who started the work pays for all expenses.
If damage occurs the surveyor/s can order that repairs are carried out or that the cost of the repair is to be paid.