How To Inform Your Neighbours About Party Wall Works
Friday 26th July 2019
Carl O'Boyle BSc MRICS FCIOB MFPWS
It is obviously best to discuss your planned work fully with the Adjoining Owners before you (or your professional adviser on your behalf) give notice, in writing, about what you plan to do. If you have already ironed out possible snags with your neighbours, this should mean that they will readily give consent in response to your Party Wall Notice. You do not need to appoint a professional adviser to give the notice on your behalf.
Whilst there is no official form for giving notice under the Party Wall etc Act 1996, a valid Party Wall Notice must include the following details:-
- your own name and address (joint owners must all be named, e.g. Mr A & Mrs B Owner)
- the address of the building to be worked on (this may be different from your main or current address)
- a full description of what you propose to do (it may be helpful to include plans but you must still describe the works), and
- when you propose to start (which must not be before the relevant notice period has elapsed)
The Party Wall Notice should be dated and it is advisable to include a clear statement that it is a notice under the provisions of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. The notice may then be delivered to the Adjoining Owners in person or sent by post. However, where the neighbouring property is empty or the owner is not known, you may address the notice to "The Owner" - Example letters and Party Wall Notices can be found in Part 5 of the Department For Local Communities and Government Explanatory Booklet available on line by clicking here.
Some works on a party wall may be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be generally regarded as not necessary.
- drilling into a party wall to fix plugs and screws for ordinary wall units or shelving;
- cutting into a party wall to add or replace recessed electric wiring and sockets;
may all be considered too minor to require a Party Wall Notice.
The key point is whether your planned work might have consequences for the structural strength and support functions of the party wall as a whole, or cause damage to the Adjoining Owner's side of the wall. If you are in doubt about whether your planned work requires a notice to be served, then you should really seek advice from a qualified building professional.
This article was written by Carl O'Boyle BSc MRICS FCIOB MFPWS. Carl is a full professional member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building for which he currently sits on the CIOB professional conduct committee and adjudications panel.