party wall act 3 metre rule

In this blog, Icon Surveyors are going to discuss what is the party wall act 3 metre rule and when it applies under the Party Wall Act.

Under section 6(1) of the Party Wall Act, the party wall act 3-metre rule can be found.

This rule is specific to excavations or the intention to erect any buildings or structures that are within three metres of an Adjoining Owners property.

When Party Wall Act 3 Metre Rule Applies?

The lowest point of the excavation is lower than the underside of the footings to the adjoining owner's land, building(s), or structure(s) and if measured horizontally is within 3 metres, the rule will normally apply.

Thus, the existing footings would need to exceed the depth of any footings in order for it to apply to a building owner who wishes to exercise their rights under section 2 of the Party Wall Act. If the proposed excavation does exceed the stipulated 3-metre rule then the legal owner of the land that the works are to be carried out on must serve a Party Wall Notice to all of the Adjoining Owners whose land, buildings or structures may be affected.

For the Party Wall Notice of this nature to be valid, the Building Owner must serve a party wall notice which stipulates that the 3-metre rule applies. The Notice must also include a section drawing that shows the depth of the proposed excavations and their position in relation to any pre-existing land, buildings and structures belonging to the Adjoining Owner.

Party Wall Surveyors are experienced in party wall matters relating to the 3-metre rule and often make reasoned decisions concerning the depth of any existing foundations to a property. This can sometimes be established using, amongst other factors, the date the property was built.

In the past, Icon Surveyors have also used trial pits in order to determine both the depth and position of any existing foundations or hidden structures and/or to establish the accuracy of a proposed design. This is usually carried out prior to the commencement of any work and involves digging a hole between 3-15 feet deep so that the conditions of the ground can be investigated to ensure that any future structural collapse may occur as a result of weakened ground conditions will be avoided.

Like all statutory provisions, unless you fully understand what is required of you, costly mistakes can easily occur! Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a 30-minute free consultation of impartial party wall advice to anyone who is considering a project that involves excavation.

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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.



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