Party Wall Notices
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 was enacted by parliament in order to regulate certain building works likely to impact adjoining buildings and structures.
The first cog of this process is the 'Serving of Notice(s)'.
The 1996 Act places a legal obligation in the first instance on the Building Owner who must serve Notice on their adjoining owner informing them of their intention to undertake works that fall within the framework of 1996 Act.
There are three types of Notices and depending on the proposed building work a combination of the following Notices may need to be served.
A Party Structure Notice
A Notice of Adjacent Excavation
Work on the Line of Junction.
A Party Structure Notice is served under section 3 of the 1996 Act for works described under
section 2. Typically, these are works that directly impact a party / shared structure such as cutting pockets into a wall to insert steel beams, the removal of chimney breasts, cutting in flashings and insertion of DPC’s. A Notice may also be served for more intrusive works such as demolishing and or rebuilding a party wall/structure.
The Notice must be served at least 2 months prior to your intended start date and typically include, the name and address of the building owner(s), detail of the proposed work and a start date.
A Notice of Adjacent Excavation is served under section 6 of the 1996 Act under two distinct scenarios.
Firstly, if you intend to excavate within 3 metres of any part of a neighbouring owner's building or structure and part of that work will go to a lower level than the neighbour's foundations.
Secondly, for excavating within 6 metres of any part of a neighbouring owner's building or structure, where any part of that work will meet a line drawn downwards at 45° in the direction of the excavation from the bottom of the neighbour's foundations.
Typically, these works are for the purpose of constructing foundations or groundwork such as below ground drainage.
The Notice must be served at least 1 month prior to commencement and must include a statement as to whether or not you intend to safeguard the adjoining owners foundations, and be supplemented with plans and sections showing the location and depth of the proposed excavation or foundation.
Work on the Line of Junction (more commonly known as a boundary) is served under section 1 of the Act and again covers two distinct scenarios, and in both instances the Notice must be served at least 1 month before you start work.
Construction of a new wall adjacent to the boundary. If the adjoining owner does not respond to the section 1 Notice the work may commence when the notice period has expired. The building owner may also place any necessary footings and foundations (with the exception of ‘special foundations’, broadly meaning reinforced) under the adjoining owner’s land provided that it is ‘necessary’.
Construction of a new wall astride the boundary is the only type of work covered under the 1996 Act which the adjoining owner can stop. If the adjoining owner does not respond in writing within 14 days, the building owner will have to build the new wall wholly on their land. Again, the building owner may place any 'necessary' footings and foundations (with the exception of ‘special foundations’) under the adjoining owner’s land.
Serving Notices is covered under section 15 of the Act, and details 3 primary modes of service:
By hand to the recipient
Postal to the recipients usual or last known residence or place of business
If owned by a company, delivery to the clerk or secretary by hand or post to the registered office.
A Notice can also be served electronically by email but is seldom done by a building owner as prior written consent is required from the recipient.
A Notice will cease to have effect if the work to which the Notice relates has commenced and 12 months has lapsed since Service.
We hope you found this article useful, If you need further advice and guidance in relation to a Party Wall matter feel free to get in touch, one of our friendly consultants will be happy to offer you initial advice and guidance.
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