Breach of the Party Wall Act

In this blog, Icon Surveyors will be considering what the consequences might be for any party who, in breach of their obligations under the Act, proposes to or indeed carries out work as prescribed by section 2 of the Act.

In the simplest of terms,

Any breach of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 will usually result in the breaching party suffering a consequential loss, be that the costs associated with any delays in the proposed works being caused as a direct result of the breach, any reversal or removal of structures being erected in breach of any statutory obligations, or costs associated with any damage, losses, or unnecessary inconvenience caused by works being carried out in breach of the Act.

The Act provides that any breach occurring under its provisions may be rectified by way of a civil remedy. That is to say, either a compensatory or injunctive remedy is available to any party that has suffered an unnecessary inconvenience, damage, losses and/or injury that is as a result of works prescribed by the Act is proposed to be, or being carried in breach of a party’s statutory obligations under the Act.

There are several sections of the Act that deal with compensatory measures as prescribed under section 7 of the Act. The first of these falls under section 1(7) of the Act, where compensation is limited to that of damage caused to an adjoining owner or adjoining occupier's property as a result of carrying out works pertaining to the building of a wall and/or the placing of footings or foundations.

The second provision can be found under sections 7 (1) and 7 (2) of the Act. These provisions appear less restrictive than section 1(7) in that section 7(1) stipulates that a building owner is prohibited from exercising any rights to carry out works granted under section 2 of the Act, if such works are not carried out in a manner and at such a time so as not to cause an adjoining owner or occupier any unnecessary inconvenience.

Section 7(2) of the Act provides that a building owner is statutorily obliged to compensate any adjoining owner or adjoining occupier for any damage or loss that is caused as a direct result of works being carried out by a building owner exercising their rights under the provisions of Section 2 of the Act.

The third provision pertaining to compensation can be found under section 11(8) of the Act, which provides that a building owner proposing to and/or carrying out works prescribed under the Act has a statutory obligation to make good any damage as provided in several sections of the Act. If an adjoining owner or occupier has suffered any such damage or loss, the Act provides that either has a right to request that a building owner fulfil their statutory obligation to make good in the form of a compensatory payment.

Icon Surveyors are happy to provide free party wall advice to any building or adjoining owners who may be affected by the subject matter raised in this blog.

Note: This blog is not an authoritative interpretation of the law; it is intended as a general guide.

Icon Surveyors

We are a team of party wall surveying experts based throughout London and the surrounding areas. Here, we share informative property survey blogs created by industry experts.