Party Wall etc. Act 1996 – Avoiding Potential Delays

Are you considering alterations or an extension to your family home or business premises or procuring a multi-million pound development scheme?

If so, it is highly likely that the Party Wall etc Act 1996 may apply.  Whilst the Act came in to force on 1 July 1997, it is still legislation which many fail to comply with and we often receive calls from concerned neighbours when a Contractor turns up and starts to remove a Party Wall on a boundary or starts to dig foundations for a neighbour’s extension.

The title of the Act can be a little confusing and, whilst it is fairly clear to most that consent is required from your neighbour to work on a Party Wall between properties, it is less commonly known that you may also require consent to carry out work to, say, a garden wall built over a boundary and for excavations close to a neighbour’s property (within three or six metres, depending on the depth of the excavations).

In a domestic situation, Party Wall consent is commonly needed for works such as loft conversions, digging for new foundations or simply the addition of a damp-proof course in the party wall.

At Banks Long & Co we are well placed to provide homeowners and developers (building owner as defined under the Act) with early advice to ensure compliance with the Act.

Our prompt advice can often save developers thousands of pounds by possibly reconsidering the position of a building so as to avoid excavation work within 6 metres of an adjoining property – doing away with the need to obtain consent for the works under the Act.

This legislation requires consent to be in writing.  It is not enough to simply pop around to your neighbours and talk about your proposed extension over a cup of coffee, although it is often a good idea to advise them of your intentions before you serve the formal notice.

We can also provide advice and act for adjoining owners who may receive a notice from their neighbour or a professional adviser.  

There are specific timeframes which are set out in the Act and, even with willing parties, agreeing an award can often take appointed surveyors months rather than weeks, especially if details are required from say an architect or engineer.  To avoid delays when starting your build consider the Act early.

Should you or your clients be considering development work then please contact: for advice.