What is a Party Wall?

party wall

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The following are the most common forms of party walls:

A wall that separates the land of one building owner from the land of another. The wall could be a part of one building (for part, a house wall that also serves as a boundary wall) or two independent buildings (such as the shared wall in a semi-detached house or a terraced row of houses).

A wall on the land of the building owner where the neighbouring owner has a building (for example, the adjoining owner’s garage) that is encompassed by the same wall.

A party fence wall is a boundary wall that does not have any buildings attached to it. A garden wall is a classic example. Wooden fences are not used as party fences.

What is the purpose of the Party Wall Act of 1996?

The Party Wall Act of 1996 establishes a legal framework that allows neighbors who share a boundary to carry out construction work that includes:

  • Building up or tearing down a party wall or structure.
  • Repairing the structures of the party.
  • Excavation of a location within six meters of nearby structures.

The Act was enacted because a building owner’s construction activity can damage an adjoining owner’s property and prevent the adjoining owner from using and enjoying the party wall or structure. It establishes a system for resolving works in order to protect the interests of the surrounding property owner while also granting the building owner the rights necessary to complete the work. This is normally accomplished by a party wall surveyor issuing a legally enforceable party wall award, which will:

  • Control the scope of the work done by the building owner.
  • Define the manner in which the task will be completed.
  • In case the works create harm to the neighbouring owner’s land, document the original condition.

What are the rights and responsibilities of the building owner?

If you own a building, you must ensure that the following rights and responsibilities are complied:

You must notify the neighboring property owner in a timely notice (s).

You must complete the work on your notice and begin it within 12 months of receiving the notice.

When carrying out work, you must take reasonable precautions to prevent causing undue annoyance to a neighboring property owner.

You must compensate an adjoining owner for property damage caused by the works, as well as cover all costs associated with the works.

The legal ramifications

If you violate the PWA 1996 Act, you will lose the Act’s protection, and any harm or loss caused to an adjoining owner will be prosecuted as private nuisance and trespass. If you fail to serve a notice under the act, you may be deemed in violation of the law.

What are the rights and responsibilities of the neighboring property owner?

If you own property next door, you must ensure that the following rights and responsibilities are complied:

In response to the building owner’s notice, you have the right to file a dispute, which will require a party wall surveyor to make a party wall award.

You may be able to serve a counter notice requesting the building owner to include additional works in their works in specific cases.

You can’t stop the building owner from doing what he or she is legally allowed to do.

You must allow the building owner and his workers access to your land after getting sufficient notice.

If more work is required, you may be required to contribute to the cost of the job.


A building owner who intends to execute certain work will have a strict legal responsibility to serve a written notice to any adjoining owner who is going to be affected by the planned works.

When working on an existing fence walls or party, a party structure notice is ideal and should be served at the very minimum of two months before the work begins on the site. If undertaking excavation works or building up to a specific boundary, three or six-meter notice or a line of junction must be issued at least one month before the commencement of the work on the site. Click Here