Do you want to know when you would need a party wall notice or party wall agreement? Our helpful guide gives you all the answers you need to obtain the correct permissions to carry out your building works. And, if you need one, how to find a party wall surveyor.
When do I need a party wall agreement?
A party wall is a shared wall, usually between a terrace or semi-detached house, dividing the homes of two separate owners. Party walls often include garden walls built over a boundary and excavations close to a neighbour’s property – within three or six meters, depending on the depth of the new foundations.
In the home, Party Wall Agreements are most commonly needed for building works that involve loft conversions, the insertion of damp proof courses and the digging of new foundations.
How to get permission for party wall building works
Before any party wall buildings can commence, the homeowner needs a written Party Wall Agreement from all affected neighbours including adjoining owners, or a party wall surveyor has to be appointed to prepare a Party Wall Award – a document that outlines how the works should progress. To start this process, the homeowner has to serve a Party Wall Notice on their neighbours, in writing, about the planned party wall works.
Serving a party wall notice
Serving a notice can be done for free, using appropriate forms or by a qualified party wall surveyor for a flat fee. A letter of acknowledgement for the neighbour to complete and return is usually included in the notice too. A homeowner has to give two months written notice on building works which affect a party wall or boundary, or one month’s notice for excavations.
Planning permission is not needed to serve a Party Wall notice, and once the notice has been served, the homeowner has up to a year to start the works.
Once the notice is served, a neighbour has fourteen days to respond, after which, there are three possible outcomes. One outcome could be the neighbour gives assent in writing providing the homeowner will put right any problems. The second could be the neighbour doesn’t respond within 14 days so a Party Wall Award is required, and the third could be each owner appoints their own surveyor, which is expensive for the homeowner as they would be responsible for the cost of their neighbour’s surveyor as well as their own.
Maintaining a good relationship with your neighbours
Before posting a Party Wall notice through your neighbour’s letterbox, which can appear intimidating, have a friendly chat first. Having a chat allows you to discuss the options, show sketches and explain the planned works.