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What are the issues around building close to neighbours and what is the Party Wall etc. Act?

What are the issues around building close to neighbours and what is the Party Wall etc. Act?

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The Party Wall (etc) Act 1996 applies throughout England & Wales and affects Owners who are planning to undertake work that is in close proximity to their neighbours.

The Act applies in specific circumstances including:

  • Depending on their depth, it can apply to adjacent excavations within six metres of neighbouring buildings or structures.
  • It can apply to the construction of a new wall/structure on a line of boundary or indeed, the rebuilding of an existing boundary structure.
  • It will usually apply to any works to a party wall/structure and sometimes if any works are intended that abut a neighbour’s building.

There are also benefits to building owners carrying out works to which the Act applies including:

  • Access provisions to neighbouring land.
  • Rights to carry out works to party structures.
  • The ability to obtain contributions from neighbours who benefit from the works.

It's important to seek professional advice in circumstances where you believe the Act may apply. Certain professional bodies such as the RICS and Learned Societies such as the Pyramus & Thisbe Club offer free initial advice from their membership.

How do I find out where my boundary is?

You may well find details of boundary lines, walls and fences in the title deeds or the Land Registry documents relating to your house.

If you have a mortgage, your lender will have these but if you have an older property you may need to seek legal advice to decide where boundaries lie.

N.B. Check these documents and get agreement on where the boundary lies before you start planning your new extension.

Further information

Party Wall etc. Act Explanatory Booklet