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  • Stephen Hawes MFPWS MCIOB CIHCM MCIArb AssocRICS MAPM MCABE C. Build E

Are my proposals notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996

An important part of the process for planning a building owner’s construction works is to establish whether the proposed works fall within the jurisdiction of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and to identify which adjoining neighbour requires notice to be served upon them.


Notifiable works within the act either fall within Sections 1, 2, or 6, but how does a building owner establish which elements of their proposals are notifiable, which notice they are required to serve, and on which adjoining neighbour that they must serve notice upon.


To establish which elements of the proposed works are notifiable under the act it is recommended to approach a suitably qualified party wall surveyor, we at Stephen Hawes & Co. Party Wall Surveyors are happy to offer our time and advice at the initial consultation stage of the building owners’ proposals to review their building reg./construction drawings so to advise on the elements notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, to establish under which section of the Act notice is to be served and to identify the adjoining owners that must be served upon.


Upon receipt of your drawings, we will first identify which elements of the projectare notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and under which section notice should be served under, section 1, section 2 or section 6.


So let’s look at some of the typical notifiable works proposed in drawings we see day in, day out starting with:


Section 1 – Building of a new wall at the line of junction.


This section of the Act is relevant to a ground floor extension, rear/side/front, and if part of the flank wall to that extension is being proposed either up to or astride the line of junction with an adjoining owner. Altrenatively a proposed new wall sitting astride the line of junction is a party wall and can only be built with the written consent of the adjoining owner (s). Noitice served under this section of the act caries a one month notice period.


Examples of both the building of a new wall astride the line of the junction and wholly upon the land of the building owner are demonstrated in the drawings below as well as a wall being built wholly on the land of the building owner and set back of the line of junction, making the latter non notifibale.


The first drawing below demonstrates a proposed ground floor rear extension, on the left-hand side circled in blue is a wall being built wholly on the building owner’s land and up to the line of junction making it notifiable under section 1 (5) of the Act. A noitce for such works carries a one month notice period.


To the right circled in red, we have a proposed flank wall being built set back of the line of junction and wholly on the land of the building owner making it non-notifiable thus requiring no notice to be served.


If the new wall is set back from the line of junction, even by a slim margin, section 1 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 will not apply, thus meaning there is no requirement for the service of notice as the flank walls of the rear extension are set back from the line of the junction as demonstrated in the below drawing with the non-notifiable flank walls circled in red.



The below image demonstrates the proposed flank walls of this ground floor rear extension, to the left circled in blue a flank wall is being built astride the line of junction thus meaning a new Party Wall built with half of the thickness of the proposed wall on each of the owners land, a new wall in shared ownership. A newly proposed flank wall can only be built sitting astride the line of junction once a notice under section 1 (2) of the Act is served and the adjoining owner consents to a new Party Wall being built partly on their land. With respect to the proposed flank wall to the right of the drawing circled in blue as we have covered earlier in the passage, a section 1 (5) notice would need to be served in accordance with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.


If a section 1 (2) notice is served proposing the new flank wall being built atride the line of junction and no consent is received after 14 days then the building owner will have a consent to build the flank wall wholly on their own land and up to the line of junction as the 1 (2) noitce served without reply after 14 days would then default to section 1(4) giving the building owner such consent.



Section 2 – Works to the Party Wall/Party Wall Structure/Party Fence Wall


This section carries the broadest range of works under the act, but the notice served for the works we are going to look at requires a section 3 (1) notice. A section 3 (1) notice for works that fall under section 2 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 carries a two-month notice period which is a longer notice period compared to works that fall under section 1 and section 6 of the act.






The drawing to the left demonstrates the building owners’ intentions to underpin an existing party wall thus meaning that a notice under section 2 (2) (a) must be served on the adjoining owner which carries a two month notice period.








This drawing demonstrates a steel beam being inserted parallel into both party walls as part of the ground floor plan for a rear extension, with the beam sitting upon a pad stone/bearing plate. In this instance, this element of the ground floor extension will be notifiable under section 2 (2) (f).



The below drawing demonstrates the first-floor plan of a loft conversion, showing three steel beams being inserted into one of the party walls, two of these steel beams run parallel into the other party wall, these works require a section 3 (1) notice to be served for works that fall under section 2 (2) (f) on both the adjoining owners.



We see many different styles of architectural and structural plans during the consultation stage of the Party Wall Process here at Stephen Hawes & Co. Party Wall Surveyors, the below drawing shows ground floor works that involve steel beams being inserted into the party wall which we have circled in blue as these will require a notice being served, if we look closely at the steel beam the ends of which we have circled in red as non-notifiable as they sit upon columns thus meaning no incisions being made into the Party Wall for pad stones/bearing plates and no notice is required to be served under The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 in this instance.








Incisions may also be made into the party wall for the purpose of inserting a damp-proof course. Usually, this will involve a specialist damp proof company being instructed to undertake such works. The drawing to the left was provided by a damp proof company to show the locations of the incisions for the damp proof course. This drawing is not entirely clear as it does not give an indicative indication of the line of the junction and thus if the walls are party walls. Your Party Wall Surveyor will approach your design team or damp-proof contractor to ascertain these points. Here we suspect and circled in blue the incisions which will likely require notice to be served under section 2 (2) (f) and circled in red what will not require notice to be served




The next drawing below demonstrates the raising of a party wall to facilitate an extension proposal. In this case, a notice would need to be served for works under section 2 (2) (a). This drawing also demonstrates a flashing detail which would require notice to be served under section 2 (2) (f).



Below is a drawing that demonstrates a flashing detail being inserted into a shared Party Parapet wall that will require notice to be served by the building owner under section 2 (2) (f). A flashing detail can also be inserted into a party wall under the same section of the act. Also under section 2 (2) (j) a building owner can cut into a wall wholly upon the land of the adjoining owner to insert a flashing detail, this is necessary when building a new flank wall wholly upon the land of the building owner and up to the line of the junction where the adjoining owner already has a flank wall which serves their own existing rear addition built upto the line of junction as this will create a small gap between the two walls, such a flashing detail will stop rainwater or any other unpleasantries from causing future issues. A flashing detail under section 2 (2) (j) can also sometimes be required at roof level when a building owner is proposing a loft conversion/roof works/works to the chimney stack.



The below drawing demonstrates a loft floor plan as existing to the left and to the right as proposed. This demonstrates the existing chimney breasts being removed at this level of the property, notice for such works would need to be served under section 2 (2) (g), the drawing below demonstrates chimney breasts being removed only on the loft floor plan, chimney breasts are often commonly removed at the ground floor and the first floor level also, if this is what a building owner is proposing then notice under section 2 (2) (g), would need to be served, for the avoidance of doubt this can all be noted in the same party wall notice as works under 2 (2) (g).



If a building owner is proposing removing the chimney breasts at all levels of their property and they have no plans to remove the chimney stack on their side of the line of junction then there will be a requirement for a support method for that remaining stack commonly this will be a steel beam or more uncommonly these days gallows brackets. This support method would need to be demonstrated on the drawing provided by the building owner’s structural engineer. Below circled in green is the support method for the remaining chimney stack as a steel beam. This we have highlighted in green as the support beam is non-notifiable under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 as it is not being inserted into the Party Wall, as it is perpendicular.



The below drawing demonstrates the removal of the whole chimney stack by the building owner as a part of their proposals for a loft conversion this was an option as the connected chimney breasts were no longer in use. A whole chimney stack can only be removed if consent is given by the adjoining owner to do so. If the adjoining owner does not give consent, then the building owner will have to revise their plans/drawings to demonstrate only the half stack on the side of the building owner being removed. In this instance provide your drawings for such works to us here at Stephen Hawes & Co. Party Wall Surveyor so we can advise if there are any notifiable elements that would require a Party Wall Notice to be served for works notifiable under section 2 (2) of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.





The above drawings demonstrate just some of the more common works that require a section 3 (1) notice to be served in accordance with the act for works that fall under section 2 (2). It is not exhaustive and there are other works that this section of the act covers such as demolishing a party fence wall and rebuilding it as a new party wall, exposing the party wall to the elements, cutting into the party wall to insert fixings or cutting away from the party wall an internal wall/projections etc. if you are not sure what is and what isn’t going to be notifiable and require notice to be served under this section of the act contact us here at Stephen Hawes & Co. Party Wall Surveyors.


Section 6 – Adjacent excavation and construction


This section of the act requires notice to be served under section 6 if the proposals demonstrate excavations within 3 meters (section 6 (1) or 6 meters (section 6 (2) ) of an adjoining owner’s structure for the purpose of erecting a building or structure on the building owner’s land. The serving of a notice under section 6 (5) of the act must also comply with section 6 (6) thus a section drawing demonstrating the proposed site and depth of the excavations must accompany the notice for it to be valid. The notice period for a notice served for the excavations for foundations under section 6 is one month.


The below drawing is a standard foundation cross-section that demonstrates the proposed site and depth of the excavations for the foundations such a drawing is sufficient for the serving in accordance with sections 6 (6). This drawing also demonstrates an eccentric loading for the foundations which means they will be wholly upon the land of the building owner and in no way projecting into the land of the adjoining owner.




The below drawing demonstrates a concentric loading to support a new wall being built wholly on the building owners land and upto the line of junction which would mean the toe of the proposed foundations protruding into the land of the adjoining owner which is not a right the building owner has thus we would liaise with the building owners design team on a drawing such as this prior to serving noitce and request an updated drawing be provided to demonstrate a eccentric loading for the foundations.



If the proposed excavations for foundations are further away than 3 metres from the adjoining owner's structure but are within 6 metres and falls within a plane drawn downwards at a 45-degree angle from any part of the adjoining owners building or structure and within those 6 metres meet a plane drawn downwards in the direction of the proposed excavations and to a depth lower than those existing foundations, then a notice would then need to be served under section 6 (2).


A common project type that requires a notice to be served under section 6 (2) are basement proposals, below is a drawing of a section demonstrating excavations for foundations for a proposed basement project.


If you are unsure if your proposal fall within the jurisduition of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 then you are very welcome to contact one of our experts for free advice. We’re also happy to review the drawings of your proposals and advise what notices need to be served and identify the adjoining owners who need to be served upon.