What to do if your neighbour has started notifiable works without giving you Notice

It can be alarming if your neighbour starts building work that they haven’t told you about. You may be concerned that their work could impact or damage your own property.

We have a specialist team of highly qualified and experienced Party Wall surveyors here at Harrison Clarke, who are helping property owners deal with this kind of situation every day.

In this article, we advise you on what to do if you think that your neighbour is undertaking works which could be classed as notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.


My neighbours have started carrying out building work. Should they be serving me Party Wall Notices?

The need for Party Wall Notices will depend on the type of work being carried out by your neighbours, and the distance of those works from your property or structure. 

There are three different types of Party Wall Notices and, depending on the nature of the building works, one, two or all three types of these Notices will be required. 

You can watch this video on our YouTube channel that explains the different types of Party Wall Notices in more detail. 

It is often misunderstood what types of building work at your neighbour’s property are notifiable under the Act. 

For instance, if your neighbours are redecorating, or refitting their kitchen, it is highly unlikely that this will be notifiable work. A few examples of works which are more likely to be notifiable include excavations for a new extension, a loft conversion or removing any part of a shared chimney either internally or externally. 

An experienced Party Wall surveyor will be able to help you determine whether your neighbour is carrying out any notifiable works.


What should I do if think my neighbour’s works are notifiable, but they haven’t served Party Wall Notices?

Our first recommendation would be to speak to your neighbour if you can. They may not be aware of their obligations under The Party Wall Act as this is not common knowledge outside of property professionals, and they may not have any prior experience in this area.

Also, they may genuinely not realise that their works are notifiable, as this can be notoriously difficult to ascertain if you are not familiar with the Party Wall Act. 

Whilst Party Wall Notices can technically be issued by your neighbour themselves, if they are not done correctly the Notices could be invalid. In our experience, it is very common for DIY Party Wall Notices, or Notices drawn up by professionals who are not qualified Party Wall surveyors, to be invalid. This is why we always recommend that you go to an experienced Party Wall surveyor for advice.

It is your neighbour’s responsibility to ensure that they fulfil their obligation under the Party Wall Act. Usually, contractors involved in a construction project, like the architect and builder, do not offer to take care of Party Wall Notices for their clients, due to their insufficient knowledge of the Act.

if you do not feel comfortable communicating with your neighbour directly, or are unable to for whatever reason, a Party Wall surveyor can manage this for you.

They should be able to explain the process, speak to your neighbour and determine if the building works are notifiable. 

At Harrison Clarke, we have invested in training with The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and we regularly attend Party Wall education events to ensure we continue to give our clients up to date and expert advice regarding Party Wall matters, and make the process as smooth as possible. 


Is it too late if my neighbours have already started building work?

The Party Wall Act cannot be used retrospectively so, if your neighbours have already started notifiable work, it would depend on whether this work has been completed or is still going on. 

If notifiable work has already been completed, Party Wall Notices are redundant.

However, if the notifiable works are still underway and have not yet been completed, you are within your rights to ask your neighbour to stop work until Notices have been served. 

Halting work would only apply to notifiable works. For example, if they are undertaking an internal renovation and removing a shared chimney breast, it may be that only the removal of the chimney breast will be notifiable work, and they can carry on with other aspects of their building work which are not notifiable in the meantime. 


My neighbours did not serve Party Wall Notices and my property was damaged by their building work. What can I do?

If your neighbour’s building work is complete, and they did not serve Notice, this will fall outside of the Party Wall Act. 

In the first instance, we recommend speaking to your neighbours about the damage you believe to have been caused, as they may still have their contractors on site and, in the best case scenario, will be willing to carry out the repair. This would be a relatively quick and easy solution for everyone. 

If this is not an option, you should speak to an experienced Party Wall surveyor, who will be able to advise you on the most appropriate course of action. 


How Harrison Clarke can help

If you are concerned about your neighbour’s construction works and want to find out whether their works are notifiable, we highly recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified and experienced Party Wall surveyor.

We also appreciate that, if your neighbour’s building work has already started and you need our support urgently, we will do everything we can to be quick to take action on your behalf.

As we are dealing with scenarios like this every day, our expert team of Party Wall surveyors has also built up a lot of experience in handling sensitive situations. This can be a useful buffer to keep your relationships with your neighbours as cordial as possible.

We also have a range of blogs talking through various surveying services, and videos too. You can access them via our website and our YouTube channel


How you can contact Harrison Clarke

Call our friendly, expert and highly qualified surveyors on 023 8155 0051, or email us at info@harrisonclarke.co. We would welcome the opportunity to help with any queries or needs you may have.


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Faye Williams, party wall and building surveyor at Harrison Clarke chartered surveyors.

About the author

Faye Williams,
BSc (Hons) MFPWS Senior

Surveyor & Winner of Young Property Person of the Year 2023

Faye joined Harrison Clarke in 2018. Faye found an interest in Party Wall surveying, and became a Member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors in 2022.

Since then, Faye has set out a revolutionary approach to party wall instructions, by focusing on people and relationships, backed up by expert knowledge. Faye’s approach has saved building owners £1,000s in unnecessary party wall fees.