Renovating Your Home? You Should Probably Know About Party Walls

Renovating Your Home? You Should Probably Know About Party Walls
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    Did you know that nearly 1 in 10 people claim to have moved house because of disputes with their neighbors?


One of the biggest problems are disagreements over the boundaries between two properties.

Neighbors can play a large role in the works carried out on your property. At times, your neighbors will be experiencing some of the stresses that come with renovating your home which can create problems.

To protect yourself from any potential disagreement, it’s highly recommended that you use a Party Wall Agreement, also known as a Party Wall Award. After all, it can be very frustrating when neighbors object to the plans for renovating your home exterior.

What is a Party Wall Agreement?

A party wall is essentially a wall between two properties. This can include a shared wall between a semi-detached house, terrace and garden walls.

A Party Wall Agreement is generally used by homeowners before they start building works. If you have good relations with your neighbor and they agree to your notice, the process should be very easy for you. Phew!

Do you need a Party Wall Agreement?

In general, Party Wall Agreements are used for building works involving loft conversions and home extensions. You need to get your neighbor’s permission before you build close to their property. There are specific measurements set out by the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996. If you are excavating, you will need to remember two specific measurements:

  • Three meters: Excavations within a horizontal distance of 3m of your neighbor’s property
  • Six meters: Excavations within a horizontal distance of 6m of your neighbor’s property.

What To Do

  • 1. Serve Your Party Wall Notice

    You are required by law to give a notice to the neighbors who will be affected by your building works. If you are cutting into the party wall, re-building the wall, or increasing its size you should be issuing a notice.

    A property surveyor will be able to draft the notice for you. You are responsible for both your survey costs, and your neighbor’s. For the savvy homeowner, this can be done for free. There are various online templates.

    You must give your neighbors two months’ notice for any building works that could affect your shared boundary. For excavations, you should serve a notice one month before you start.

    Your neighbor has fourteen days to respond to your notice.


  • 2. Neighbor’s Response

    After serving your notice, your neighbor can respond to you in three ways. They can consent, dissent and appoint an Agreed Surveyor, dissent and find their own surveyor.

    If your neighbor consents to your party wall notice, that’s great for you. You can go ahead with your plans without any problems and begin the works on your property. Your neighbor will generally consent to your plans in writing and it is wise that you keep a copy for the future.

    Although, many property surveyors actually encourage their clients to dissent and make a Party Wall Agreement. If your neighbor dissents, it does not necessarily mean that that they can stop the works from happening. Your Agreed Surveyor will act impartially and ensure that both you and your neighbor’s rights are protected under the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

    Unfortunately if your neighbor wants to appoint their own Party Wall Surveyor, you still have to pay for their fees. You also cannot insist that your neighbor uses the same surveyor as you.

other valuable tips:
  • 3. Agreeing on the Party Wall Award

    The Party Wall Award is legally binding and will ensure that the work is carried out legally and safely. It will contain a “schedule of condition” which will protect both you and your neighbour in case there’s a later claim for damages.

    You can begin your building work two months and a day after finalizing the agreement.

Image credit: Pixabay

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