top of page

Frequently Asked Questions

Click to


  • When does the Party Wall Act apply?
    The Act generally applies if you are undertaking any of the following: Building along / up to the boundary between your property and one or more others. Excavating within 3m or in some instances 6m of a shared or adjoining structure. Working on, into or beneath a party structure – which is a wall or floor separating properties in separate ownership. Notifiable works include cutting into the separating walls to insert beams, loft conversions, rear extensions up to the boundary, removing chimney breasts and digging foundations close to a neighbour’s structure. Check with your designer if the Act will apply to the proposed works.
  • When do I tell my Neighbours?
    A building owner must give two months written notice on building works which affect a party wall or boundary, or one month's notice for excavations. Planning permission is not needed to serve a Party Wall notice, and once notice has been served, the homeowner has up to a year to start work. For notices to be legally valid, they should include enough information for your neighbour to be able to ascertain what you are prosing in some detail. They should be dated and require a response within 14 days.
  • What if I do not serve a Notice?
    One risk of not serving a party wall notice on your neighbours, is to leave yourself open to maliciously exaggerated claims of damage. Your neighbour may claim damages have happened that were in fact not your fault or that were pre-existing. Another risk is that your neighbour will have earned the right to question other aspects of your project, such as the quality of tradesmen on the job, the location of the skip on the road, the noise nuisance caused by constant drilling, the dust kicked up by demolition, and so on. You risk being taken to court if you do not serve party wall notice to neighbours prior to the commencement of works. Your neighbour is at liberty to appoint a Solicitor and take out an injunction to stop your works forthwith. You will usually have to meet the cost of this. And of course, you risk creating bad blood in your relationship with the neighbours.
  • Why appoint a Surveyor?
    Firstly, the right surveyor will be an expert in party wall matters and ensure any potential party wall risks or claims that may affect you, are dealt with. Second, the surveyor will usually carry out a schedule of condition covering the ‘at risk’ parts of the adjoining property before any construction work begins. In the event that damage occurs as a result of the work, a schedule of condition will protect both parties from unfair or misleading claims. Surveyors will also be well-placed to prepare a party wall award, which regulates the time and manner of works covered by the Act.
  • How may my Neighbour react?
    When a neighbour receives a notice, they usually have a choice from the following options: 1. Simply agree in writing to the works. 2. Agree to the works provided a schedule of condition is undertaken to record (with photos and notes), the condition of their property near to the works and prior to commencement. 3. Not agree to the works unless a party wall award is written up and agreed using the services of one surveyor. 4. Not agree to the works unless a party wall award is written up and agreed using the services of a different surveyor for each party.
  • Can a Surveyor act jointly?
    Yes – a party wall surveyor is obliged to be fair, whether appointed only by the person carrying out the work or neighbours as well. Under the Act both parties can use the same Party Wall Surveyor to draw up the Award if they so wish. The advantage of both ‘sides’ appointing one surveyor is that it is usually cheaper and quicker.
  • What is a Party Wall Award?
    An award is a legally binding document that sets out the nature, timing and agreed conditions pertaining to the proposed works. It is a signed document some nine or ten pages long, with drawings and schedule of condition added to it. The award will cover important aspects such as working hours, insurance, access, protection, cleaning and final inspection. It can be appealed within 14 days of issue at a local court, but is otherwise binding.
  • Can Work be started before the Party Wall Process is concluded?
    No, or at least not the part of the works that are covered by the Act. While it can be tempting to start work before the award has been agreed and served, doing so would invariably be unlawful. If you serve notices and your neighbour agrees in writing to your works without requiring an award you can start. If an award is requested, it must first be concluded before notifiable works start.
  • How much does a Party Wall Surveyor cost?
    Most party wall surveyors charge a fixed hourly rate for all tasks related to the party wall matters. This typically ranges from £110 - £200 often plus VAT. Our hourly rate for party wall work is £140 per hour. This is often reduced if we are already involved in the design and drawing of the proposed works before they reach party wall stage. How many hours are expended depends on how complex the proposed works are. If the works are more complex, the Adjoining Owner may seek to utilize other experts to check the design teams drawings, specification etc. This normally takes the form of a checking engineer, and is common in basement excavations and big projects. In almost all cases, people receiving party wall notices have no fees to pay at any stage.
  • Further Advice
    Advice which is specific to your project is available if you contact us.
bottom of page