What building works are notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?
If you plan to dig, whether for foundations or other purposes, to a depth greater than the depth of neighbouring foundations and within three metres of a neighbour’s building, you will need to serve Party Wall Notices. You will also need to serve notice to dig a trial pit in order to ascertain the depth of your neighbour’s foundations.
If you are excavating to a greater depth, for example for piled foundations, within six metres of a neighbour’s property, in some circumstances this will trigger the service of a Party Wall Notice. This is the case if a 45-degree angle drawn from the bottom of neighbouring foundations would intersect any part of your excavation.
The most common type of work we deal with is when alteration works are being carried out which require steelwork to be supported by a party wall. Other works such as the removal of a chimney, insertion of a new damp proof course or flashing, and raising the height of a party wall, are also covered.
You will also need to notify your neighbour if you intend to underpin the wall or to demolish and rebuild.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 also covers work to party structures (typically, the walls and floors between flats) so, if you are a developer adding storeys to an existing apartment building for example, you are likely to have to serve Party Wall Notices in connection with this work, too.
Building on the site boundary
Any construction abutting the ‘line of junction’, or boundary line, will trigger the service of Party Wall Notices. This applies whether you intend to build astride the line of junction, or wholly on your side. You will only be able to build astride the line of junction with your neighbour’s approval.
If you are constructing a garden wall, Party Wall Notices are still required as they would be for a building, but no such notices are required for erecting a fence.
If, for example, you are constructing an extension up to the boundary line, you will need to ensure that the building’s eaves or guttering do not oversail the adjoining property, as this could lead to trespass issues, which would be dealt with separately from the Party Wall process.
What building works are not notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?
You do not normally need to serve Party Wall Notices if you are completing minor work like putting up shelves, redecorating, or renewing plaster to an existing internal wall as these are unlikely to affect the wall’s structural integrity.