Party Wall Notice | RICS |

Party Wall Notices are an essential aspect of construction or renovation projects involving shared structures between properties. A party wall notice is a legal document that serves to inform your neighbour of proposed works that might affect the party wall, such as a chimney or a boundary wall, in a semi-detached or terraced property. The process is crucial for ensuring that both parties agree on the proposed works and can prevent potential disputes in the future.

When planning to make alterations to a structure that impacts your neighbour's property, it is important to serve notice and initiate a party wall agreement. This agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties to ensure that the construction project proceeds smoothly and with minimal disruption. Once the notice is served, your neighbour will have an opportunity to review the proposed work and voice any concerns or objections.

Party Wall Notices foster a sense of transparency and cooperation between neighbours, ensuring that shared structures such as chimneys, boundary walls, and other elements are maintained and improved in a way that benefits both parties.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the ins and outs of the Party Wall Act 1996 and how to navigate the process of serving a party wall notice to minimise the risk of disputes.

What is a Party Wall Notice?

Party Wall Notice | RICS |, Harding Chartered Surveyors

A Party Wall Notice is a written notification, sent to Adjoining Owners, before works that are covered by the Party Wall etc Act 1996 are carried out. This covers certain proposed works to a party wall, to a party fence wall, or to a party structure (which includes horizontal floor/ceiling structures separating two different properties). The Act also covers certain types of excavation, at specified distances and depths to properties that are up to 6 metres away from the boundary of a property. Owing to the level of pertinent information that needs to be included for a Notice to be considered valid (and therefore lessen the risk of any challenges or delays), it is prudent for the Notices to be drafted and served by someone who is experienced in dealing with party wall matters.

A party wall Notice cannot be served retrospectively, even if works covered by the Party Wall Act have been commenced or completed. This is another reason to arrange for Notices to be served at an expedient point, to lessen the risk of delays to building works, costly arguments or allegations of damage

Key Topics

  • Party Wall Act 1996
  • Party wall notice requirements
  • Appointing a surveyor
  • The Role of party wall surveyors
  • FAQs

Party Wall Act 1996: Understanding Your Responsibilities

Party Wall Notice | RICS |, Harding Chartered Surveyors

The Party Wall Act 1996 is a crucial piece of legislation that regulates building work on or near shared walls, boundaries, and structures between neighbours. Here's what you need to know:

  • The Act covers party walls, party structures, and shared boundaries.
  • It applies to various building works, including extensions, loft conversions, and excavations within 3 metres of neighbouring properties.
  • The Act aims to minimise disputes between neighbours by requiring building owners to serve a party wall notice before undertaking any work covered by the legislation.
  • Adjoining owners have 14 days to respond to the notice and can either consent or dissent.

Serving a Party Wall Notice: The Process

When planning to carry out building work near shared boundaries, you must serve a party wall notice on your neighbours. Here's how it works:

  1. Identify the type of work you want to carry out and whether it falls under the Party Wall Act.
  2. Check the boundary line, shared walls, and any garden walls that may also be affected.
  3. Prepare a written notice with details of the work, including plans and drawings. You can use party wall notice templates available online.
  4. Serve the notice to the adjoining owners, ensuring they receive it at least one month before work starts.
  5. The adjoining owners have 14 days to respond. If they agree, work can commence. If they dissent, you'll need to appoint a party wall surveyor.

Party Wall Surveyor Quote

Party Wall Notice | RICS |, Harding Chartered Surveyors

Appointing a Party Wall Surveyor: Ensuring Compliance

If your neighbours dissent from your party wall notice, you'll need to appoint a party wall surveyor to help come to an agreement. Here's what you should know:

  • You can appoint an agreed surveyor, or each party can appoint their surveyor.
  • The surveyor(s) will prepare a party wall award, outlining the terms and conditions for the work.
  • You'll need to cover the cost of the surveyor(s), which can vary depending on the complexity of the work and the number of surveyors involved.
  • Once the party wall award is in place, work can commence.

Party Wall Surveyors: Their Role in the Process

Party wall surveyors play a vital role in ensuring that building work adheres to the Party Wall Act 1996. They are responsible for:

  • Assessing the proposed work and its impact on adjoining properties.
  • Mediating disputes between neighbours and helping them come to an agreement.
  • Preparing party wall awards to outline the terms and conditions for the work.
  • Monitoring the work to ensure compliance with the party wall award and addressing any issues that occur during the build.

Party Wall Notice | RICS |, Harding Chartered Surveyors

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need planning permission to serve a party wall notice?

No, you can serve a party wall notice even if you haven't obtained planning permission yet. However, you'll still need to obtain any required permissions before starting work.

How long do I have the adjoining owners to respond to the party wall notice?

Adjoining owners have 14 days to respond to the notice. If they don't respond within this time, it's considered a dissent, and you'll need to appoint a party wall surveyor.

What happens if I don't serve a party wall notice?

If you fail to serve a party wall notice and proceed with the work, your neighbours can seek a court injunction to halt the work. You may also be liable for damages and legal costs.

Can I proceed with work if the notice has been served but no agreement has been reached?

No, you must wait for a party wall award to be prepared by the appointed surveyor(s) before work can commence.

What type of work requires a party wall notice?

Work that requires a party wall notice includes building an extension, loft conversion, or other structural work that affects a shared wall or boundary, excavating within 3 metres of neighbouring properties, and constructing or altering garden walls.

Do I need a party wall notice for minor work like fitting kitchen units or shelving?

No, you don't need a party wall notice for non-structural work that doesn't affect shared walls or boundaries.


Understanding and adhering to the Party Wall Act 1996 is crucial when undertaking building work near shared walls and boundaries. By serving a party wall notice and appointing a surveyor if necessary, you can minimise the risk of disputes with your neighbours and ensure that the work proceeds smoothly. Remember, communication is key – talk to your neighbours about your plans and keep them informed throughout the process. By doing so, you'll help avoid misunderstandings and maintain a harmonious relationship with your neighbours

Harding Chartered Surveyors

Harding Chartered Surveyors is a reputable firm of expert RICS surveyors, dedicated to providing clients with professional guidance and support in various property matters, including the vital process of serving a party wall notice. With their comprehensive knowledge of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and extensive experience in the field, they are well-equipped to help clients navigate the intricate requirements of party wall procedures.

When clients engage the services of Harding Chartered Surveyors, they can expect personalised assistance from RICS surveyors who possess an in-depth understanding of the legal and technical aspects of party wall matters. These surveyors work diligently to ensure that clients are fully informed about their rights and responsibilities while also helping them to maintain good relationships with their neighbours during the construction or renovation process.

One of the key ways Harding Chartered Surveyors can assist clients is by preparing and serving party wall notices on their behalf. Their expertise ensures that the notice is accurate, comprehensive, and compliant with all relevant regulations. This attention to detail not only minimises the risk of disputes but also helps to streamline the process for both parties involved.

Furthermore, Harding Chartered Surveyors can act as party wall surveyors, representing either one or both parties in the event of a dispute or if a party wall agreement is required. Their impartial and professional approach ensures that all concerns are fairly addressed and that an amicable resolution is reached.

By choosing Harding Chartered Surveyors, clients can have peace of mind knowing that they are working with experienced and reliable RICS surveyors who are committed to helping them successfully navigate the intricacies of serving a party wall notice and ensuring a smooth, hassle-free experience for all parties involved.

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Discuss Party Wall Matters with Us Today

With our professional help, you can simplify the process of altering a party wall while complying with the law and minimising the risk of disputes and costly setbacks. We can help leaseholders, homeowners, landlords and investors save time, money and effort, and we always provide free quotes upfront.

London Party Wall Surveyors help prevent and resolve any disputes arising from changes you plan to make to your property that could affect theirs. This includes party walls, shared boundaries and excavation work within 3-6 metres of their property. With our help, you can improve your home and increase its value, stress-free. Harding Chartered Surveyors are specialist Party Wall surveyors, please contact us today to find out more about our services or get some advice.