A Guide to Party Wall Procedure

Party Wall Notice Requirement

RMA Surveyors Ltd provides professional and independent advice concerning Party Wall procedure.

If you intend to carry out building work to your property which could affect your neighbour, you should determine whether works require notification under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Notifiable works include:

  • Work on an existing wall, structural soffit or floor structure shared with another property. e.g. loft conversion, supporting a beam on a party wall, removing walls in a flat, or digging out a basement.
  • Building on or at the boundary with another property. e.g. building an extension or replacing a boundary wall.
  • Excavating near a neighbouring building or structure to a depth lower than their existing foundation.

If the work undertaken is notifiable under the Party Wall Act etc. 1996, the correct type of notice not must be issued. RMA Surveyors provide advice and guidance on which Notice/s should be issued. See our Section Notices blog for more information.

The Party Wall Act is designed to avoid and minimise disputes, notices are served to ensure that the property owners notify their adjoining owners in advance of notifiable works commencing.

Party Wall Notices should contain the following:

  • Name the building owners (those proposing the work) and all adjoining owners (those potentially affected by the work).
  • Clearly indicate the work that is notifiable under the Act.
  • State a proposed start date in accordance with the notice periods prescribed by the Act.
  • Be dated and signed by the building owner or their representative with the authority to act on their behalf.
  • Notices will usually be accompanied by drawings or plans to illustrate the proposals of the notifiable works.

Once notice is served the adjoining owner can:

  • Provide written consent within 14 days from the date of the notice.
  • Provide written consent with conditions (which may be refused) in writing within 14 days.
  • Refuse consent, which will start the dispute resolution process.
  • Do nothing. The matter will be deemed to be in dispute after 14 days, then the adjoining owner should appoint a surveyor within 10 days, or one will be appointed on their behalf.
  • Serve a counter notice requesting additional works be done at the same time. There may be a cost implication to the adjoining owner in this regard.

Notices may have to be served up to two months before work commences (timings vary dependent on the notice served).

If consent is not agreed or notice is ignored,  the Act provides for the appointment of an independent surveyor to act on behalf on the adjoining owner. In this case an Agreed Surveyor (a surveyor appointed to act for the interests of both parties) cannot be appointed.  Where a dispute does arise, the Agreed Surveyor route is often the more cost effective route for the building owner. This arrangement can only be made by agreement from both parties in writing.

Once Surveyors are appointed they should act independently. They are not required to fight their appointing owner’s corner, rather their role is to determine the dispute between owners.

If the building owner does not comply with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, building works might be delayed, declared unlawful, and might incur a court injunction preventing works proceeding and associated legal costs.

If you need Party Wall advice or help through the Party Wall process, call RMA Surveyors on 01635 579 208.

Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors Members

RMA Surveyors Ltd are proud to announce they have been accepted for membership of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. RMA Surveyors Ltd have always acted as competent party wall surveyors, and are pleased to reinforce this by accreditation from this prestigious organisation. RMA Surveyors Ltd will assist the Faculty in maintaining the highest standards of professional practice in the field of Party Wall Surveying.

Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors Logo


RMA Surveyors Ltd will be continue to act professionally in accordance with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 on all party wall matters. Whether they be acting for an adjoining owner, building owner, or for both as an agreed surveyor.

RMA Surveyors Ltd are pleased to be part of an organisation whose membership includes the most eminent practitioners in Party Wall matters.

Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors

The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors have enjoyed steady and continual growth since its inception. Their members benefit from legal support and counsel when required. By obtaining membership RMA Surveyors Ltd belong to the principle organisation dedicated to Party Wall matters. Effectively anyone can call themselves a party wall surveyor, membership of this organisation ensures that a minimum standard of competence is required. The Faculty provide telephone advice to surveyors and the public, provide a list of party wall surveyors

Richard Mountain MRICS MFPWS, RMA Surveyors Ltd managing director, said “Becoming a member of the Faculty demonstrates to appointing owners, that we will deliver a high level of professional competence. The Faculty provides us with additional resources and support when dealing with the technicalities of interpreting the Party Wall Act, it also gives those we act for a method of redress. These two factors are critical, when there are unfortunately some unscrupulous companies trading as party wall surveyors, who do not act properly.”

If you have a Party Wall matter you need to discuss contact RMA Surveyors Ltd, who will be happy to assist.

Need a Party Wall Award?

party wallHaving recently undertaken Party Wall Award Notices in Windsor, Newbury and Leckhampstead. RMA Surveyors Ltd are experienced in providing advice in compliance with The Party Wall Act 1996, throughout Berkshire and the South-East.

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

The Act is separate from obtaining planning permission or building regulations approval. It provides a mechanism for preventing and resolving disputes relating to building work near or on a shared property boundary, or ‘party wall’.

If you require advice on a Party Wall, contact us on 01635 579 208.

For further reading on Party Walls visit the RICS information page.

Issuing Party Wall Notification

Terraced housingWe were recently instructed to act as Party Wall Surveyors in Pangbourne. We were acting on behalf of the building owner to issue party wall notices to two adjoining owners on a Victorian Terrace.

Our client had already approached their neighbours and explained to them the works to be undertaken, then requested we issue formal notification of works to them.

Sometimes, as in this case where there is more than one adjoining owner, party wall notification can be more complicated. It is our role to determine who has an interest in the adjoining properties and which are the correct notices to serve under the Party Wall Etc Act 1996.

Our client had quite a tight deadline in which they wanted the Party Wall Agreements to be in place, as their appointed building contractor had an extremely busy schedule. So we acted efficiently and effectively to ensure everything was in place.

If you would like any advice regarding the Party Wall Etc Act 1996, please contact us on 01635 579 208, or complete the form below with your enquiry.

For further reading on Party Walls read our Understanding a Party Wall page.

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Understanding a Party Wall Award

A picture of a wallWhat is a Party Wall?
In short, it is a wall or structure that separates buildings belonging to two or more different owners.

This could be a wall in your property attached to your neighbour (e.g. semi-detached house or flat), a garage wall linked to another property, or a garden wall built astride a boundary (known as a Party Fence Wall). Separating floors in flats and shared chimneys are also party structures.

What is the Party Wall etc. Act 1996?
The Act is designed to avoid and minimise disputes between the two owners of a party structure.

It ensures that the Building Owner carrying out the work notifies the Adjoining Owner in advance of the proposed works that are likely to affect the Party Wall.

TOP TIP: It is a good idea to talk to your neighbours about your plans before serving the notice as that will greatly increase the chances of them agreeing, or at least concurring in the appointment of an ‘Agreed Surveyor’.

How does the Act work?
Certain works are deemed to be ‘notifiable’ under the Act. Typical examples include cutting into a party wall to take the bearing of a beam (e.g. in a loft conversion); inserting a damp proof course (even if only to your own side of a party wall); demolition and rebuilding of a party wall or structure; raising a party wall; underpinning a party wall or part of a party wall; and excavating within three or six metres of a party structure.
The Act details the requisite notice periods applicable in each situation.

In the event of a ‘dispute’ in response to any notice served, the parties (the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner) must either each appoint their own Surveyor, or decide to appoint a single ‘Agreed Surveyor’. The Surveyor must act impartially. They are not appointed to win the argument for either side.

The purpose of this appointment is the resolution of the dispute by way of a Party Wall Award.

What is a Party Wall Award?
A Party Wall Award is a legally binding document drafted and served by the appointed Surveyors, or Agreed Surveyor, to agree how works should be executed.

It sets out the nature of the proposed works, together with details as to who is responsible for the cost of the works and any associated fees.

The Award will contain a Schedule of Condition to record the condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property prior to commencement of any works; this may be needed for later referral in determining the extent of any damage as a direct result of the awarded works.

The Award will usually also state which party is responsible for implementing any remedial works in the event of resultant damage.

Does the Party Wall Act apply to you?
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 applies to all ‘notifiable’ works in both residential and commercial property and includes:
• The building of a new wall on the line of junction (boundary) between two properties
• Works to a Party Wall
• Works to a Party Fence Wall
• Excavations – excavating foundations within three metres of a neighbour’s structure and lower than its foundations OR excavating foundations within six metres of a neighbour’s structure and below a line drawn down at 45° from the bottom of its foundation

Call RMA Surveyors Ltd on 01635 579208 for guidance on the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 or to enlist our services as a Party Wall Surveyor.

For further information, read the RMA Party Wall information page or download the RICS Information Guide