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A building owner is an owner of land or building who is desirous of exercising rights under the Act. 

If you own a building or land and wish to undertake any of the following works it is likely that you are a Building Owner, as defined by the Act, will be required to serve notices to the owners of any adjacent or adjoining structures or buildings:

  • Extensions

  • Loft conversion

  • Basement Conversion

  • Garage Conversion

  • Converting houses into flats or flats into houses

  • Demolition and re-building of party wall

  • Underpinning a party wall, adjacent, or adjoining wall

  • Any other structural work 

  • Knocking down and rebuilding a party wall / party fence wall

  • Cutting into a party wall or ceiling/floor (if a party structure such as in flats) for any purpose, but generally to accommodate load bearing beams, bearing plates and pad stones

  • Reducing or increasing the height of the party wall

  • Inserting or injecting a damp proof course

  • Removing structural partitions, or chimney breasts from a party wall;

  • Excavations and foundations within 3 metres and to a greater depth than the foundations of any structure or building belonging to an Adjoining Owner;

  • Excavations and foundations within 6 metres of an Adjoining Owner’s structure or building that intersects a 45° line drawn from the bottom of the Adjoining Owner’s foundations; phone for details. 

  • Work to some boundary walls, built astride the boundary known as “party fence walls”

  • New building up to or astride the boundary line.


(this list is not exhaustive)

What happens if I do not serve notice?

The service of a Notice is a legal requirement and failure to do so can lead to expensive delays and legal costs if the Adjoining Owner seeks to stop your work by seeking a Court Injunction. We strongly encourage Building Owners serve the correct notices, or to appoint a surveyor to serve the correct notices and to engage with the Act. There are many instances of Building Owners proceeding with their work, having engaged a contractor, and then having to serve notices and commence notice periods while their contractor is on site. In such circumstances delays can be protracted, incuring delay charges from the contractor. 


It may be difficult to recover a good relationship with neighbours when that have not had their rights according to the Party Wall etc Act 1996 observed,  

Can I serve notice myself?

There Building Owner can, according to the Act, serve Notices themselves. Any error within the notices, can render them invalid. Invalid notices may need to be served again, which can cause delays to the building works while notice periods run. For this reason we recommend that service is undertaken by a professional Party Wall Surveyor

Do I still need to serve notice if I have planning and building regulation approval?

Yes. These are entirely separate statutory requirements.

If an adjoining owner consents to the works, can I proceed with my work? 

YES. However, if having served notice, a dispute arises surveyors can be appointed to settle at that point, even subsequent to a dissent to notices. 

Who pays the fees of the surveyors? 

As a general rule, the fees of Party Wall Surveyors dealing with Party Wall Disputes are paid by the party that is carrying out the work. This is because the fees are allocated to the party that benefits from the work, and usually the benefit is in favour of the building owner only. In certain circumstances, for example where there is a want of repair to a party structure, fees may also be allocated to the Adjoining Owner.  This follows common law principles, but is also reflected in Section 11 of the Act, which deals with expenses and provides more detail for reference. 

Our fee structure for action for building owners is set out at the following location >>Click here

If you have received party wall notices and you are considering your response, we would be happy to review these for you and advise.

Can I place scaffolding on my neighbours land?

Access rights to carry out work from a neighbours land can sometimes be achieved through the Party Wall Act where access is necessary to enable work to be underken 'in pursuance of rights under the Act'. Many surveyors are now of the view that this right extends as far as placing scaffolding on the neighbours land, for certain works, however opinions vary. 

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