An explanatory guide to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
24. What happens if there is a disagreement with my neighbour?
If there is a disagreement about any work of the kinds covered in paragraphs 22 and 23, including compensation, the dispute can be settled under the procedure described in paragraphs 11 to 17.
The surveyor(s) can assist the owners in reaching agreement but cannot decide who is right if the boundary location is in dispute (see paragraphs 37 and 38 in Section 4).
25. What about access to neighbouring property? — See paragraph 18.
Excavation near neighbouring buildings
Section 6 of the Act
26. What does the Act say if I want to excavate near neighbouring buildings?
If you plan to:
• excavate,or excavate and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 3 metres of a neighbouring owner’s building or structure, where that work will go deeper than the neighbour’s foundations (see diagram 6); or
• excavate, or excavate for and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 6 metres of a neighbouring owner’s building or structure, where that work will cut a line drawn downwards at 45° from the bottom of the neighbour’s foundations (see diagram 7 below)
you must inform the Adjoining Owner or owners by serving a notice — see paragraphs 7 and 8.
You may want to base your notice on Example Letter 8.
Note that, for the purposes of section 6 of the Act, “Adjoining Owners” may include your next-but-one neighbour if they have foundations within 6 metres.
The notice must state whether you propose to strengthen or safeguard the foundations of the building or structure belonging to the Adjoining Owner. Plans and sections showing the location and depth of the proposed excavation or foundation and the location of any proposed building must also accompany the notice.
The Act contains no enforcement procedures for failure to serve a notice. However, if you start work without having first given notice in the proper way, Adjoining Owners may seek to stop your work through a court injunction or seek other legal redress.
27. How long in advance do I have to serve the notice?
At least one month before the planned starting date for the excavation. The notice is only valid for a year, so do not serve it too long before you wish to start.
28. What happens after I serve notice?
If the Adjoining Owner gives written notice within 14 days agreeing to the proposed works, the work (as agreed) may go ahead. If the Adjoining Owner does not respond, or objects to the proposed work, a dispute is regarded as having arisen — see paragraph 11 to paragraph 17.
After the work has been completed, the Adjoining Owner may request particulars of the work, including plans and sections.