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The Party Wall Act: Does it Apply to My Project?

Architectural projects come with a lot of jargon, legal requirements and complex rules. That’s why the specialists here at PJH Architectural Services are always available to clear up any confusion and explain what needs to be done before any work goes ahead.

The Party Wall Act is a perfect example, as you may not have come across it before. However, it’s something that needs to be considered when planning a project that involves a party wall. Read on to find out what it’s all about.

 

What is a party wall?

It’s not quite as exciting as it sounds, as a party wall isn’t where people gather to celebrate good times. In fact, it takes one of the following formats:

  • A wall that stands on the lands of two or more owners and forms part of a building. It could be part of just one building or separate buildings belonging to different owners
  • A wall that stands on the lands of two owners but doesn’t form part of a building. A good example is a garden wall, although this doesn’t include timber fences.
  • A wall that’s on one owner’s land but which is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.
  • The term ‘party structure’ is also used, which is a wall or floor partition that separates buildings or parts of buildings owned by different people, such as in the case of flats and apartments.

 

The Party Wall Act

The purpose of the Act is to prevent and resolve disputes that can arise due to one building owner carrying out work that may affect a neighbour. A property owner who wants to carry out a project that comes under the Act must give notice to the adjoining owners as part of an official process.

Aside from the owner clearly explaining what the work they wish to have done will involve, the neighbour has the right to agree or disagree with what is being proposed. If they agree, you’re good to go as long as you stick to the plan. If they disagree, the Act gives both parties a platform for resolving the dispute.

 

Is it the same as planning permission?

No, the Party Wall Act is completely separate from planning permission. Look at it as an initial courtesy offered to your neighbours. If they agree that you can go ahead, it’s then a case of gaining planning permission unless the project comes under your permitted development rights.

 

Common examples 

There are actually quite a few types of domestic construction and renovation projects that necessitate the Party Wall Act coming into play, such as:

  • A new building on or at the boundary of two properties
  • Work to an existing party wall or party structure
  • Excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings

This may include:

  • Building a new wall on or at the boundary of two properties
  • Cutting into a party wall
  • Making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
  • Removing chimney breasts from a party wall
  • Knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
  • Digging below the foundation level of a neighbour’s property
  • Propping steelwork on a single skin party wall

 

How do I go about it?

In order to do things by the book and prevent any unnecessary confusion or delays, the government has clearly outlined the process. Take a look at this official guidance on how to give notice to your neighbours and reach an agreement.

Once you’ve digested this information, you can create an official notice using this free online generator. Alternatively, you can contact a party wall surveyor or PJH Architectural Services can provide one and manage the process on your behalf.

 

Ask us for advice

We’re here to help you transform your home with minimal stress. To find out more, get in touch on 0161 460 0382 or email the team at enquiry@pjhas.co.uk

 

 

For more useful blogs, please feel free to have a look at the following:

Open Plan Living Will Improve Your Family Life

Bifolding vs Sliding Doors

Turn Up the Heat with a New Kitchen

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