Adjoining Owner Information
The Party Wall Act obliges property owners to serve formal Notice on their neighbours of building works that might affect the party structure between their properties.
If you haven’t had a Notice and works have started, then knock on their door and ask what is happening, it may be that the building works don’t require a Notice. If you are not certain, please ask us.
Normally, you’ll have been sent a Notice that asks you to ‘consent’ or ‘dissent’ to the works. This sounds like you can prevent works going ahead – but it doesn’t. If you ‘consent’ then the work will proceed without any checks under the Act. Look at our case studies to see what can go wrong.
We always recommend that adjoining owners dissent to the Notices as this will ensure you will have the protection of the Party Wall Act rather than relying on a personal claim if things go wrong.
When you dissent you need to appoint a surveyor to act for you. This can be the same surveyor, since the surveyor has to be impartial under the Act, effectively working for the best interests of the wall – something that may not be easy if the surveyor is also the designer. Your neighbour is required to pay all of the surveyor’s reasonable costs so it should cost you nothing.
After this, your property will be inspected by the surveyor(s) and its condition recorded. Then a Party Wall Award document is issued detailing the works and also any precautions that might need to be taken to protect your property.
The works then go ahead and your property is inspected on completion to check for any damage. If there is damage, then you have the choice of letting their contractor put it right or taking compensation instead.