section 20 Party Wall

In this blog, Icon Surveyors will consider what is a “Party Wall” under Section 20(b) of the Party Wall Act 1996 and whether a building or adjoining owner has any rights pertaining to it?

What is a section 20(b) Party Wall?

In the simplest of terms,

The section 20 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, defines the meaning of certain words that have been legislated throughout the Act. Under the heading of “Party Wall” section 20 provides part (a) and part (b). Part (a) and (b) states that a party wall is;

a) a wall which forms part of a building and stands on lands of different owners to a greater extent than the projection of any artificially formed support on which the wall rests; and

b) so much of a wall not being a wall referred to in paragraph(a)above as separates buildings belonging to different owners”

Thus, a section 20(b) ‘Party Wall’ is a wall that is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings even though the Party Wall stands solely on one owners land. That is to say, if a building owner built a wall wholly on their land and at a later date the original adjoining owner (now a building owner) decided to build a structure that butted against the existing wall, the parts of the structure that butted against the original building owner's existing wall would be considered to be a ‘Party Wall’.

Imagine an building owner building a garage that butted up against a part of the adjoining owner’s wall, only the garage wall that butted against the adjoining owner’s would be considered as a Party Wall, the remainder of the adjoining owner’s wall is not a ‘Party Wall’, nor for that matter, is any part of the building owner’s garage wall that does not butt against the adjoining owners wall or sit astride or on the boundary line.

There are several provisions under the Act pertaining to the rights and protections of both building and adjoining owners. However, if any of the works being carried out by a building owner do not involve a Party Wall, none of the provisions as provided by the Act will apply or be an enforceable right or protection.

In Particular, under section 11(11) of the Act, any building owner who intends to use an existing wall that was built, paid for and remains wholly on the adjoining owner’s land, must pay the adjoining owner a due proportion of the costs incurred to build the existing wall. Under the samesaid provision, the incurred expenses shall be calculated so as to compensate the adjoining owner for the value it would have cost to build the wall at the time the building owner intends to make use of it.

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

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