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Simplified Party Wall Definitions

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act) places emphasis on a number of expressions contained within the legislation which is used in communication between party wall surveyors and further found in Party Wall Awards (agreements).

TK Surveying Group have put together the following simplified list of party wall definitions to allow homeowners and landlords to better understand the process and content of their agreements.

Party wall awards are not the most exciting pieces of literature unless of course you are one of our party wall surveyors.

THE BIG LIST - In Alphabetical Order

Adjoining Owner

This is the freeholder and or leaseholder of the adjoining premises or land of the building owner and can be a person or company.

A party is also deemed an adjoining owner if excavation works are undertaken within a certain distance and depth as prescribed under section 6 of the Act, in this instance the adjoining owners’ premises does not need to be adjoined.

Building Owner

This is the owner of land being a person or company who is proposing to undertake the work and can be either the freeholder or leaseholder.


This is the solid ground or man-made support on which a wall sits.

Historically, buildings were constructed directly on the surface of the ground with depths as shallow as the depth of topsoil. By the 1900’s houses were normally required to have a concrete or brick foundation unless the ground conditions were rock. Modern standards of foundation design and building control requirements are far more rigorous

Line of Junction

This is more commonly known as the boundary line.

Party wall surveyors are not appointed to resolve boundary disputes hence the utilisation of line of junction to express the boundary line.

Party Fence Wall

This is a wall that divides two premises and does not form part of a building. These do not include timber fencing and is more commonly known as a garden wall.

Party Wall

Most commonly this is a wall which divides two properties, typical of terraced and semi-detached houses referred to as a type A party wall. In this instance the whole wall is deemed a party wall.

A type B party wall where an external wall (not being a party wall) has at some point been enclosed upon by a neighbour for example for the purpose of building a garage. In this instance only the area enclosed upon is a party wall.

Party Wall Award

This is essentially a legal document which is drafted by the party wall surveyor(s), which sets out the legally binding duty and obligation relating to the proposed work. The Award should describe accurately the description of the work(s) and include any safeguarded measures to be exercised during construction.

An award does not mitigate the requirement for a party to obtain and comply with all other statutory requirements such as planning and building control requirements.

Party Wall Notice

This is a legal instrument that the building owner is required to serve on their adjoining owner(s) for notifiable works. This may be a combination of three notice types which can be served up to twelve months in advance of works.

The notice period for excavating and new construction on the boundary line (line of junction) is between one and twelve months.

The notice period for any work to a shared structure including party wall is two and twelve months.

Party Structure

This expression is used to explain any shared structure such as a party wall or a wall, partition or floor that separates parts of a building which is approached by separate entrances such as flats.

Special Foundations

These are where an arrangement of ‘rods and beams’ used within the foundation design. Typically referred to as reinforced foundations.

We hope you found this information useful.

Do you have any party wall related questions?

Please note this guide has been produced for general information purposes only and does not confer legal advice or guidance. For further advice and guidance get in touch with one of our friendly party wall consultants who will more than happy to assist you.

Call on 0208 243 8981 or email info@tksurveyinggroup.co.uk.

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