THE PARTY WALL ETC. ACT 1996 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW


If you’re planning on any work on or close to the boundaries of your property it is important to understand the Party Wall Act. This Act came into force on the 1st July 1997 and applies to all properties across England and Wales. The intention behind this Act is to avoid disputes between property owners by providing a framework for construction concerning party walls, party structures, boundary walls, and excavations near neighbouring buildings. Anyone intending to carry out work of the kinds described in the Act must give adjoining owners the written notice of their intentions. This is true even if the intended work will not extend beyond the centre line of a party wall.



Written notice is given so that adjoining owners can review the building owner’s proposal and agree or reach an agreement with the building owner on the way the works are to be carried out, their timing, and their manner. These agreements should always be done in writing, even if you are on friendly terms with the adjoining owners, to provide a legitimate papertrail for any changes in the future.


Where a dispute arises if the adjoining owner has not given written consent within fourteen days of receiving a written notice served under the Act, the Act provides for this to be resolved by a surveyor. This is an alternative way to gain permission for the works if the adjoining owner isn’t interested in responding.


What does the Act cover?

  • Work carried out to an existing party wall or a party structure

  • New building at or astride the boundary line between properties

  • Excavation within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building(s) or structure(s), depending on the depth


Why is the Party Wall etc. Act important?

By law, both owners have joint ownership of the entirety of a party wall rather than the sole owners of part of the wall. If work starts without a notice being given, an adjoining owner can seek to stop the work through a court injunction or seek another legal redress.T his applies as much to private property as it does government or local authority owned property.


At Arkhi, we are experienced in liaising with Party Wall Surveyors on our client’s behalf and we ensure professional advice and guidance is tailored to your construction project. If you would like to find out more or discuss your project with one of the Arkhi team, get in touch on 01260 540170 or drop us an email at hi@arkhi.co.uk.


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