Section 1 of the Party Wall Act 1996

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 makes provision for building works pertaining to party walls, excavations and construction that are being carried out in the vicinity of certain buildings or structures in England and Wales. It was brought into force on 18 July 1996 and was modified on 23 February 2017 and 11 February 2021 to include works relating to the High-Speed Rail line between London and the West Midlands and the West Midlands and Crewe.

Section 1 - New Building Works on Line of Junction

Subsection 1. This subsection provides that section 1 shall apply to 'lands' of different owners that are separated by a boundary line and either of them wants to build on any part of it. The boundary should not be built on at the juncture of the line, however, if it is, it can only be to the extent of a boundary wall that has been built at the line of the junction. It should be noted that a boundary wall (party wall) does not include fences, hedges or the external wall of a building.

Subsection 2 stipulates that a building owner who wants to build a party wall or fence on a boundary line must give at least one month’s party wall notice of any intention to do so with a description of the wall, to all neighbouring owners that will be affected by the works.

Subsection 3 provides what a building owner may do if the adjoining owner (s) in receipt of the notice, as described in the preceding paragraph, agrees within fourteen days that the works should go ahead. There are two choices, either, both of the parties can agree where the wall or fence should be built, failing which, the wall must be built on the junction line. In other words half on the building owners land and half on the adjoining owners land. The costs of the build will be divided into proportionate measures that are gaged by each of the owner’s beneficial use of the wall/fence.

Subsection 4 provides what the building owner may do if an adjoining owner in receipt of such a notice does not, within fourteen days, agree to the proposed works, the building owner may carry out the works at their own cost provided that the wall is an external wall or fence that is built on his own land.

Subsection 5 provides that a building owner who intends to build up to the boundary line on his own land must still serve notice as described by subsection 2 at least none month before the intended works are to commence.

Subsection 6 provides rights to a building owner who is building a wall in accordance with the provisions described in subsections (4) & (5) above. These rights include the right of the building owner to place any necessary footings or foundations below the land of the adjoining owner and a time frame by which time the works may commence one month and one day after the notice is served and be completed within twelve months.

Subsection 7. This subsection provides that a building owner who builds a wall on his own land shall do so at his own expense and shall compensate any adjoining owner for any damage that is caused as a result of the footings or foundations being dug out or from the wall or fence being built.

Subsection 8 provides for the determination procedure of any disputes between a building owner and adjoining owner that may arise as a result of compliance with any of the provisions under section 1.

If you are considering carrying out any of the works that are described in this blog, Icon Surveyors would be happy to assist you with any queries that you may have.

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.

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