An explanatory guide to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
PART ONE : THE PARTY WALL etc. ACT 1996
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996
1. What does the Act do?
The Act came into force on 1st July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales.
It provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. It is based on some tried and tested provisions of the London Building Acts, which applied in inner London for many decades before the Act came into force.
Anyone intending to carry out work (anywhere in England and Wales) of the kinds described in the Act must give Adjoining Owners notice of their intentions.
Where the intended work is to an existing party wall (section 2 of the Act) a notice must be given even where the work will not extend beyond the centre line of a party wall.
It is often helpful in understanding the principles of the Act if owners consider themselves joint owners of the whole of a party wall rather than the sole owner of half or part of it.
Adjoining Owners can agree with the Building Owner’s proposals or reach agreement with the Building Owner on changes in the way the works are to be carried out, and in their timing. Where there is no written consent or agreement, the Act provides for the resolution of ‘disputes’.
2. What does the Act cover?
• Various work that is going to be carried out directly to an existing party wall or structure (see paragraph 4 to 19).
• New building at or astride the boundary line between properties (see paragraph 20 to paragraph 25).
• Excavation within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building(s) or structure(s), depending on the depth of the hole or proposed foundations (see paragraph 26 through to paragraph 29).