Party Wall Notices – when should they be served?

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 places a requirement on building owners undertaking work on a party wall or excavating within the vicinity of the party wall, to serve party wall notices on the respective adjoining owners.  If is often the case that whilst building owners understand that they need to obtain planning and building control consents they are unfamiliar with the party wall process and do not appreciate that it is a statutory requirement and not an optional one.

The Party Wall process can often take longer than building owners anticipate and in some cases can delay the start of works on site.  Whilst the Party Wall etc Act 1996 prescribes that notice for working on the party wall must be served a minimum of 2 months before those works commence and any excavations 1 month prior to starting, these timescales are often not long enough to deal with the party wall matters.  It is therefore recommended that party wall advice is sought early on to prevent delays to the works on site.

The party wall legislation requires a building owner to appoint a surveyor to act on their behalf if the works being undertaken fall within those prescribed in The Party Wall etc Act 1996.   Once notices are served adjoining owners have 2 weeks to respond and if they decide to dissent to the works they have the option of agreeing the appointment of the building owners surveyor or appointing their own surveyor to act on their behalf.  The building owner undertaking the works typically pays the fees which are often unwelcome however the process is a statutory requirement so cannot be ignored.

We have extensive experience in dealing with party wall issues and are able to act for either building owners or adjoining owners.  We provide clear advice on the process, setting out owners rights and obligations in accordance with the party wall legislation on all building types which can range from major new build developments, residential alternations and extensions along with minor repairs to the party wall.