Since the Party Wall etc Act 1996 came into force, homeowners in England and Wales have had a procedure to follow when building work involves a party wall or party fence wall, some excavations close to neighbouring buildings, and new walls at boundaries.

The Act is designed to avoid or minimise disputes by making sure property owners notify their neighbours in advance of certain proposed works.

Such works include:

  • cutting into a wall to take the bearing of a beam, for example for a loft conversion
  • inserting a damp proof course, even if only to your own side of a party wall
  • raising a party wall and, if necessary, cutting off any objects preventing this from happening
  • demolishing and rebuilding a party wall
  • underpinning a party wall or part of a party wall
  • weathering the junction of adjoining walls or buildings by cutting a flashing into an adjoining building
  • excavating foundations within three metres of a neighbour’s structure and lower than its foundations
  • excavating foundations within six metres of a neighbour’s structure and below a line drawn down at 45° from the bottom of its foundations. You must also notify your neighbour if you propose to build a new wall on the line of junction (boundary) between two properties.

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