Party Wall Notices

A party wall notice is the written intent that you must give any Adjoining Owners (any neighbours that you share a wall or boundary with) to inform them of work that you plan on undertaking to a shared party wall, boundary, or nearby excavation. You must provide this notice to Adjoining Owners for a whole host of building works. This potentially includes rear extensions, loft conversions, damp proof course, any excavations for foundations, and removal of chimney breasts, amongst a variety of other works.

Below we’ll cover everything you need to know about serving a party wall notice.

How do you serve a party wall notice?

A Party Wall Notice can be served by the building owner (the owner of the building/plot intending to undertake construction work) if they feel confident that they have captured all the information a Party Wall Notice requires. There are considerations for when the notice is served, what’s included in each notice and which type of notice you give.

Failure to provide the correct notice will mean that there is a longer delay between when you serve notice and reaching an agreement with Adjoining Owners which allows you to start work. It is also worth noting that if an agreement is reached but later discovered to have been falsely served, or not to contain all information required, the agreement can be void and legal action taken. We advise therefore that it’s prudent to appoint an experienced party wall surveyor on your behalf.

When does a party wall notice need to be served?

It’s advisory that a party wall notice should be served at least 2 months before the date that you intend to begin any work. Section 1 Line of Junction Notice and Section 6 Adjacent Excavation Notice usually require 1 month notice while Section 3 Party Structure Notice requires 2 months notice. To make sure you give Adjacent Owners to make enquiries without dissenting, we advise giving as much notice as feasbily possible.

Don’t forget: Your party wall notice needs to be served to all Adjacent Owners, whether they’re freehold or leasehold, as defined in the Party Wall Act 1996.

Giving as much notice as possible can also be wise to give you time to make arrangements for tradespeople without needing to cancel them on short notice, which could incur a fee.

What must a party wall notice include?

As mentioned, an invalid party wall notice can delay your work. This can be because you’ve served the wrong type of notice but it could also be because the notice doesn’t include all the necessary details. The general contents of a party wall notice should outline what work is to be done so as your Adjacent Owner understands what they’re responding to, and you need to describe how it may affect their property, whether this is a building or a boundary.

Top tip: Be thorough in your description of the work. A description that’s too broad (perhaps to entice the Adjacent Owner to assent!) will invalidate the notice if challenged in court.

All party wall notices must include:

  • Name and address of the building owner/s (all must be named)
  • Signed by the building owner/s or their appointed party wall surveyor
  • The date that the notice was hand-delivered on or sent in the post (this is the date the notice period will begin to run from)
  • Details and description of the work that you intend to carry out, and the date that you want this to start from

What are the types of party wall notice?

There are 3 types of party wall notice.

Section 1 Line of Junction Notice

Section 3 Party Structure Notice

Section 6 Adjacent Excavation Notice

Section 1 Line of Junction Notice

This type of party wall notice relates to the boundary where Adjoining Owners meet but where this is no building present.

Line of Junction notices must be serviced where an owner intends to build on or up to the boundary line where Adjoining Owners meet. This notice pertains to a boundary where there is currently no building, but there could be a ‘boundary wall’ (i.e., a separating brick wall) however timber fences are not considered a boundary wall.

When this Section 1 Line of Junction notice is served, the idea is to reach agreement between all Adjoining Owners on the position and type of wall on the boundary. For example, this could be a shared party wall built astride the boundary, or an external wall wholly in one of the owner’s land. 

Section 3 Party Structure Notice

A Section 3 Party Structure Notice covers the rights that Building Owners can exercise as outlined in Section 2 of the Party Wall Act.  This includes any changes or works to be made to an existing party structure and party fence walls. Examples of work that must be notified of under a Section 3 Party Structure notice includes removing a chimney breast or inserting beams or RSJs in a shared wall.

It’s worth noting that this particular notice must be served further in advance to the proposed date of work commencing than the other two types of party wall notice.

Section 6 Adjacent Excavation Notice

It’s often thought that a Section 6 Adjacent Excavation Notice only needs to be served if the planned excavation is along the boundary line of an Adjoining Owner. This is not the case and as detailed in Section 6 of the Party Wall Act, adjacent excavation includes:

1. Excavating within 3 meters of an Adjoining Owner’s building and lower than their current foundations

2. Excavating within 6 meters of an Adjoining Owner’s building if any part of the excavation intersects with a 45 degree downward plane from the bottom of their foundations

In this party wall notice you must include the usual contents of all notices, plus you must explain how you propose to ensure the stability or strength of any of the Adjoining Owner’s foundations. An Adjacent Excavation Notice must also include the depth of planned excavation and drawings showing where this will take place relative to surrounding buildings.

Do you need to serve a party wall notice?

We’re on hand if you need us to help guide you through the process of serving a party wall notice or if you’d like us to act on your behalf, contact us for a no obligation chat on         020 8502 6323 or email us at surveyorys@thehoppspartnership.co.uk

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