Our Party Wall Surveyors are often asked to explain what a party wall is; this is never a simple answer. As with all party wall matters, this can be complex.
Role of a Party Wall Surveyor & The Party Wall Act
The Act covers new buildings on or at the boundaries of two properties. It also includes works to existing party walls or party structures. Furthermore, excavations near to and below the foundation level of the neighbouring building or structures.
This could include building a new wall. If you are planning to remove chimney breasts, the Act may cover this.
As there are too many variables to explain here, please contact us for more information.
What is a Party Wall?
A party wall is defined as a wall within a building. This wall joins two properties and forms the boundary between them.
There is also a party fence wall; this wall stands astride the boundary of the two properties. It does not form part of the building.
Usually, party walls will be declared in the deeds.
Fences are not covered by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Our Party Wall Surveyor Surrey Team has all the experience required to help you with these matters.
The Work of a Party Wall Surveyor
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 recognises two types of Party walls.
- A wall standing astride the boundary. The boundary would be on the land of the two adjoining owners. Usually positioned at the centre of a wall, but not always.
- Two owners will use a wall standing wholly on one owner’s land to separate their buildings; this could be where one neighbour has a structure against a wall owned by the other neighbour. The party wall is the wall that is enclosed by the lean-to structure.
For further information regarding this matter, please contact one of our specialists here.
Party Walls Becoming External Walls
Party walls can sometimes become external walls; this can happen when, for example, works are needing to be done on the road; this could be road widening works; this would mean the demolition of the party wall to some degree.
If you are experiencing this situation, please seek advice. We can give you all the information you require regarding this matter.
Walls that Are Not Party Walls
These may include boundary walls and external walls. The boundary wall would be a fence/garden wall built wholly on one owner’s land. Exterior walls would consist of the wall of a building built up to but not astride the boundary.
Confusion Over Party Fences and Walls
Sometimes there is confusion over party walls, party fence walls, and a party structure.
Here is a basic overview of each of these items:
Party Fence Wall
A party fence wall stands astride the boundary of the two properties. It does not form part of a building. Walls that stand on just one person’s land are not party fence walls. Wooden fences and fences with concrete posts are not party wall fences.
This is any part of a building that divides it from other parts owned by someone else; this can include walls and floors between flats.
It’s essential to have all the right information. Experience in dealing with this matter is paramount to our Party Wall Surveyor Team.
Excavating Near a Neighbour’s Property
If you want to carry out works near a neighbour’s property, please speak to our Party Wall Surveyor Surrey Team first; this, as with all party wall matters, is a complex subject. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 needs to be adhered to. The Government has a free explanatory booklet available. Please click this link to download.
Even if you are just planning on digging a hole on your land, notice must be served. We are often asked why this needs to happen. Excavation works close to structures can cause a risk to the foundations. The structure could be compromised and movement could occur. Our Party Wall Surveyor Surrey Team can provide more information relating to this matter.
Establishing a Party Wall
From the above information, you can see how important it is to get this established. By talking to our Party Wall Surveyor Surrey Team, we can help you clarify this matter. Establishing a party wall is an integral part of the process. Questions often arise in this regard.
Other Information Relating to Party Walls
If you plan to carry out any of the work listed below, please contact our Party Wall Surveyor Team. We will advise whether this falls within the Party Wall etc. Act 1996:
- Building a free-standing wall or a wall of a building up to or astride the boundary with the neighbouring property – Section 1 of the Act.
- Work on an existing party wall or party structure/building against a party wall or party structure – Section 2 of the Act.
- Excavating near a neighbouring building – Section 6 of the Act.
If you would like to read the full Party Wall etc. Act 1996 please click here.
If you are experiencing a dispute with regard to party walls, the Government has provided useful information here.