An explanatory guide to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996


The following information is not an authoritative interpretation of the law.

It aims to explain in simple terms how the Party Wall etc Act 1996 (“the Act”) may affect someone who either wishes to carry out work covered by the Act (the "Building Owner") or receives notification under the Act of proposed adjacent work (the “Adjoining Owner”).

Under the Act, the word “owner” includes the persons or body

  holding the freehold title, or

  holding a leasehold title for a period exceeding one year, or
  under contract to purchase such a title, or

  entitled to receive rents from the property

There may therefore be more than one set of “owners” of a single property.

In this section the word “he” is used to include “she” and “they” (where there are joint owners or the owners are companies or other sorts of body).


This section is only about the Act, which is separate from planning or building regulations control.


You must remember that reaching agreement with the Adjoining Owner or owners under the Act does not remove the possible need to apply for planning permission or to comply with building regulations procedures. Conversely, gaining planning permission or complying with the building regulations does not remove the need to comply with the Act where it is applicable.

If you intend to carry out building work which involves one of the following categories:


  work on an existing wall or structure shared with another property (section 2 of the Act)

  building a free standing wall or a wall of a building up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring property (section 1 of the Act)

  excavating near a neighbouring building (section 6 of the Act)

you must find out whether that work falls within the Act. If it does, you must notify all Adjoining Owners.

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