Are My Foundations Notifiable to the Party Wall Act?

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

In this blog, Icon Surveyor’s will consider what a Foundation Detail is and when notice of such detail is legally required.

What is a ‘Trial Pit’?

In the simplest of terms, a ‘Trial Pit’ sometimes termed as a ‘Test Pit’ or ‘Trial Hole’ is a hole that has been dug out of a small piece of the land the proposed works are to be carried out on. There are usually several pits made on the site which can range from between 3 and 15 feet deep.

What are the Benefits of a ‘Trial Pit’

‘Trial Pits’ are used to confirm that the land upon which the works are to be carried out is not in any way unsuitable for the proposed building project. In other words, it is a physical examination of the ground beneath the intended construction site. This type of examination is, for good reason, usually carried out by Surveyors prior to any construction projects being carried out.

The benefits of digging a ‘Trial Pit’ far outweigh any pitfalls that may be lurking beneath the proposed construction site. For example, if the soil condition was unsuitable or contaminated, or there was groundwater seepage or a water table location, buried structures, or for some other reason or another, the stability of an existing or proposed structure or building has the potential of being jeopardised as a result of the proposed works, the building owner would not only be liable for any associated costs incurred by the findings, but would most certainly face serious delays to the proposed works. Not to mention, any potential damage and/or injury that could be caused to an adjoining owner or their property.

When is a Party Wall Surveyor Required?

When serving a section 6 Party Wall Notice a building owner is required to provide plans within which the “site and depth of any excavation the building owner proposes to make” must be included together with any proposals to erect a building or structure on the site. In many cases, due to the costs associated with the provisions to provide the actual depth of an excavation, many building owners base their proposed works on assumed depths. A primary requirement of the Act is to protect adjoining owners from being subjected to any unnecessary disturbance, damage and/or injury. It is therefore imperative for the protection of any adjoining owner that is served with a Notice containing an assumed depth that a Trial Pit is carried out.

For this reason, a surveyor is under the Act, required to issue a Party Wall Award detailing the measures’ that the building owner is required to undertake prior to the commencement of any proposed works.

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

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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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