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FAQs Work on existing party walls

Work on existing party walls (section 2 of the Act)

What are my rights if I want to do work on an existing party wall ?

The Act provides a building owner with rights to undertake works to a party wall. 

The most commonly used rights are as follows.

•    to cut into a wall to take the bearing of a beam (for example for a loft conversion), or to insert a damp proof course all the way through the wall.
•    to raise the whole party wall and, if necessary, cut off any projections which prevent you from doing so
•    to demolish and rebuild the party wall.
•    to underpin the whole wall.
•    to protect two adjoining walls by putting a flashing from the higher over the lower.

What are my duties under the Act?

If you intend to carry out any of the works mentioned above you must serve notice on all adjoining owners.

 If you start works to a party wall without serving notice in the proper way the adjoining owners may seek to stop your work through a court injunction or seek other legal redress.

Minor works on a party wall such as drilling to fix a picture or replastering are usually considered to be too trivial to come under the Act.

How long in advance do I have to serve the notice?

At least two months before the planned starting date for work to the party wall.

The notice is valid for one year.

What happens after I serve notice?

A person who receives a notice about intended work may give his consent in writing, or give a counter-notice setting out what additional or modified work he would like to be carried out. If this can be agreed in writing then the works can proceed.

If after 14 days from the service of notice there has been no response a dispute is deemed to have arisen and a party wall agreement will be required.

What if I cannot reach agreement with my neighbour on the work to be done to the party wall?

If you cannot reach agreement with your neighbour you should appoint a surveyor to prepare a party wall agreement. You can either appoint a single agreed surveyor or each party can appoint their own surveyor. 

In all cases, surveyors appointed under Act must behave impartially and consider the interests of both neighbours.

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