Party Wall Advice

for Building Owners

Building Owners

Party Wall Surveyors for Building Owners

A Building Owner is an owner of land who is desirous of exercising rights under the Act.

Q: Do I need to serve notice under the act?

If you are contemplating undertaking the following works, then notice is most likely to be necessary:


  • Demolition and re-building of party wall
  • Underpinning the party wall
  • Cutting into a party wall or ceiling/floor (if a party structure such as in flats) for any purpose, but generally to accommodate load bearing beams and bearings
  • Knocking down and rebuilding a party wall/party fence wall
  • Reducing or increasing the height of the party wall
  • Inserting a damp proof course etc.
  • Removing partitions or chimney breasts from a party wall
  • Excavations and foundations within 3 metres and to a greater depth than the foundations of any structure or building belonging to an Adjoining Owner
  • Excavations and foundations within 6 metres of an Adjoining Owner’s structure or building that intersects a 45° line drawn from the bottom of the Adjoining Owner’s foundations
  • Work to some boundary walls, known as “party fence walls”
  • New building up to or astride the boundary line


  • Insertion of rawl plugs
  • Screw fixing wall units and shelving
  • Plastering (providing not using powered percussion tools)
  • Inserting or renewing electrical sockets

Frequently Asked Questions

Building Owners

The service of a Notice is a legal requirement and failure to do so can lead to expensive delays and legal costs if the Adjoining Owner seeks to stop your work by seeking a Court Injunction or other legal remedy. We strongly encourage Building Owners to openly discuss their proposals with their neighbours prior to serving notices, which can often prompt a positive response.

There is nothing preventing a Building Owner from serving Notices himself, but professional advice should ideally be sought from a Chartered Surveyor experienced in dealing with party wall matters, as any error contained therein, can render the notices invalid.

Yes. Such statutory approvals do not negate the requirements imposed upon a Building Owner under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

YES. However, if a further dispute arises in respect of any matter connected with any work to which the Act relates, then the Adjoining Owner may appoint a surveyor to determine such a dispute.

In all normal circumstances, the Building Owner undertaking the works, is required to pay the reasonable costs of the appointed surveyors, but ultimately the costs must be determined by the appointed surveyors.

Each scheme will need to be evaluated on its own merits. The costs depend on the nature of the proposed works, the response of the Adjoining Owner, the cooperation and efficiency of the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor and information provided by the Building Owner. We can discuss your proposals in depth and we will be able to provide you with a detailed summary of the procedures involved and associated costs for your consideration.

Access rights to an Adjoining Owner’s land are permitted to facilitate the works pursuant to the Act, but only where necessary. It is not a carte blanche right for a Building Owner to place scaffolding on an Adjoining Owner’s land just for convenience purposes.

A surveyor under the Act cannot be a party to the matter and therefore you cannot represent yourself. The appointed surveyor should ideally be Chartered, experienced in party wall matters and ideally not be involved in the design or specification of the works. Being a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and Pyramus & Thisbe Club is recommended, as both organisations promote party wall excellence.

Whenever two party wall surveyors are appointed, their first role is to select a Third Surveyor. The Third Surveyor is merely selected and is only appointed in the event that either of the appointed surveyors or owners make a formal referral to him, usually if there is a difference of opinion that cannot be agreed between the surveyors. In such an instance, the Third Surveyor will make an award determining the issue that has been referred to him and his costs will be paid by the party depending on his determination.

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