Excavation works are covered by the Party Wall Act when they are within 6 meters of a neighbouring structure.
According to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, a structure is any formal wall or building that relies on a particular foundation for stability, enabling it to withstand the impact of the elements.
Often, people ask us whether excavation works that occur within three or six meters of a nearby building require a party wall notice. More often than not the answer is yes. In this case, the Party Wall Act applies where the works extend deeper than the adjacent structure.
The crucial point here is the integration of these factors. Choosing one over the other would not be enough, seeing that the party wall arrangement states that both factors should be considered if the party wall notice is relevant.
How then can a nearby building owner determine whether the works are deeper than the nearby structure’s foundation? There is no particular strategy that Icon Surveyors can use to determine this fact without being conversant with the proposed foundation depth for the proposed works and the neighbouring building owner’s proposed works.
Not many nearby building owners want to incur costs and experience the disturbance that comes with digging their property or garden to establish the foundation depth. Often, a skilled Party wall surveyor should rely on their knowledge and understanding of the building to make an informed decision.
For instance, many old houses are founded on corbel-based footings (a mixture of bricks located beneath the building to form the property’s base.) Hardly will these bricks go beyond three to four courses deep which means, many houses in the UK stand on shallow foundations.
Today, building regulations are in place, and more people understand advanced construction faults than was the case in the 1900s. Under the building laws, newly constructed buildings will require a minimum foundation depth of 1 meter or a raft base. As a result, many new buildings today will weaken nearby structures.
The foundation of a building is one of the crucial components that Icon Surveyors will consider when evaluating proposed works on a building or surrounding property. They will need to advise the nearby building owners accordingly while ensuring that they are not approaching them unnecessarily. The party wall arrangement will often be simple, and building owners will need to give advance party wall notices before the commencement of the proposed works.
Today, more building owners disregard crucial party wall arrangements laid out by the party wall act of 1996. If you are sure that your neighbour will be executing works on their property or are planning to do so and you suspect that the works fall under the party wall act, take action before the timeline within which the act applies expires.
Remember, after proposed foundations are laid, the party wall act seizes to apply. As a result, we recommend that you should contact a reliable party wall surveyor as early as possible. They will take the necessary action to secure your property, interests, and assess the proposed building works concerning your property and the administration of the Party Wall Act. Doing so will guarantee that all the parties involved are well protected.