The Party Wall Act allows homeowners to carry out certain developments on their property, whilst protecting neighbouring properties from adverse effects. This legislation has been put in place to pre-empt any disagreements that could arise from construction work taking place near to another person’s property. Should there be any disputes surrounding the work, this Act also provides the legal framework to allow for a resolution.
This Act is generally applied to work carried out on semi-detached houses, flats or terraced properties, as these all have adjoining walls. It also covers floors and ceilings between properties. This can also be applied for businesses, such as shops and offices that share walls, floors or ceilings with their neighbours.
What areas are covered by the Party Wall Act?
The Party Wall Act covers several types of work in which larger changes are made to the party wall. These are changes that are likely to affect the other party during the course of the work. Some examples of this work include:
- Building a new wall that is touching, or on, a property’s boundary.
- Underpinning (Strengthening/stabilising a structure)
- Increasing the thickness of a wall.
- Taking down or rebuilding a wall (You’d be pretty angry if a neighbour knocked through into your lounge without asking first!)
- Extending a property upwards on the property boundary.
- Loft conversions also often have to comply with the Party Wall Act, so it’s always worth checking!
What areas are not covered by the Party Wall Act?
Whilst most types of work are covered by the Party Wall Act, there are also some areas where you don’t have to worry about these rules. These are for minor alterations, that shouldn’t affect the wall from the other party’s side. These include:
- Decorating, such as painting or wallpapering
- Electrical rewiring
- Putting up shelves
Does the party wall act cover fences?
The Party Wall Act does not apply to fences at the boundary line of two properties. Whilst similar in concept, fences are not necessarily shared between both property owners, unless purchased together or if you have a specific agreement. For more information on this matter, please check out our post on fencing and property boundary disputes.
That said, it does cover what we refer to as a “party fence wall” which is not part of a building. This is a wall along the boundary of two properties. To be classed as a party fence wall it will have to be placed on both properties’ land, rather than on just one side.
How Munday + Cramer can help
Munday + Cramer’s expert surveyors carry out specialist party wall surveys, adhering to the Party Wall Act. Surveys include several elements, from drafting a schedule of condition, pre-works inspections and information to help settle party wall disputes.
For information on how Munday + Cramer can help with party wall advice and boundary disputes, or if you would like to find out more about our architectural and building surveying services, operating in Essex, London, Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk, then get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200.