Party Wall Surveying

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Party Wall Surveyor Bhamra Associates

All you need to know about Party Walls, the Party Wall Act etc 1996 and why a Party Wall Surveyor could help you.

Read more about the Party Wall Act etc 1996.

Take a look at some other works the Party Wall Act etc 1996 includes.

Get in touch for a free initial assessment. We are fully regulated by RICS and a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, so you can be confident you will be in safe hands.

Bhamra Associates Ltd is an independent building surveying consultancy based in Little Chalfont providing a wide range of surveying and planning services in London and the Home Counties both to the commercial and residential sectors. Learn more about us here.

What is a party wall?

A party wall is a shared wall which divides the building of two owners. The boundary between the two is usually, but not always positioned in the centre of the wall. Examples of party walls include: walls separating terraced or semi-detached houses or a wall that stands completely on the owner’s land, but the neighbour has a structure that leans against it. Only the part of the wall that is enclosed by the building is a party wall.

What is a party fence wall?

A party fence wall is a wall standing on the land of different owners and is used as a boundary, but does not form part of a building. If you have a party fence wall, you can add to it, raise it or enclose it, but you can’t demolish it without the consent of your neighbour.

What is the Party Wall Act etc 1996?

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides owners of buildings with certain rights and obligations to other owners in relation to party walls and similar structures. It provides a framework for a disciplined approach to exercising these rights. The Act lays down strict procedures for the resolution of disputes between neighbours by making sure property owners notify their neighbours in advance of certain proposed works.

Its aim is to allow owners to carry out specific works while at the same time protecting the interests of anyone else who might be affected by the works.

What works does the Party Wall Act etc 1996 cover?

The Party Wall Act etc 1996 applies to:
• Work that is going to be carried out directly to an existing party wall or structure. Common examples are: cutting into a wall for a loft conversion; demolishing or rebuilding the party wall; underpinning the whole thickness of a party wall; inserting a damp proof course.

• A new building at or straddling the boundary line between properties, such as an extension.

• Excavation close to an Adjoining Owner’s building.

Why is excavation work included when it’s called the Party Wall Act etc 1996?

The Act is called the Party Wall etc Act 1996, because it covers anything that could impact on the neighbouring building or structure. A ‘structure’ must have a foundation for it to be relevant structure in the Act. Therefore, this would not include a timber fence or shed unless it had a concrete base forming the foundation for the shed.

Who is a Building Owner?

If you own the freehold or leasehold of a commercial, residential or industrial property for more than a year, then according to the Act, you are a ‘Building Owner’. The ‘Building Owner’ could be a physical person or a legal person such as a company.

Who is an Adjoining Owner?

In most cases, an Adjoining Owner means your neighbour, but it’s not always that simple. It could also include:

• Someone who receives the whole or part of the rent i.e. a management company for a flat

• Someone who is in possession of land i.e. a tenant, licensees or lodgers

You must tell all Adjoining Owners of any party wall work otherwise they might apply for an injunction stopping the works and issue a claim for damages for work already done.

I am planning work on a party wall, what are my duties under the Act?

Before you do any work, you must give all Adjoining Owners notice. If you don’t, they could take legal action against you. We always recommend talking to your neighbours before you give written notice, as this allows you to sort out any potential problems or concerns.

Why would I need a party wall surveyor?

A party wall surveyor’s sole purpose is to help sort out any party wall problems in a fair and practical way. They will draw up a Party Wall Award, a legally binding statutory determination, that resolves any disputes and sets out the owners’ rights and responsibilities in relation to how the work should proceed.

A party wall surveyor has a duty of care to both parties, so will remain impartial regardless of which party is responsible for their fees. Their role is not to provide design advice or make recommendations, but they may highlight legal implications associated with certain design proposals and may determine the manner of executing the works.

Who can be a party wall surveyor?

The term “surveyor” is defined in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 as any person who is not party to the works. This means the owner cannot act for themselves. Anyone else can take on the role, including whoever is overseeing the works, but they should have a good knowledge of construction, be well versed in party wall procedures and ideally have a relevant qualification.

What does a Party Wall Award cover?

This is a legal document, produced by party wall surveyors to protect both the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner and will normally include:

1. The award itself i.e. a set of guidelines governing how the proposed works should progress

2. A “schedule of condition” of the adjoining property, often supported by a set of photographs

3. Drawing(s) showing the details of the proposed works

Other items that could be covered by a Party Wall Award are:

• Brief details of the proposed works
• Working hours; normally 8am to 5.30pm weekdays only of residential work
• Assurances regarding the contractor’s public liability insurance
• Indemnities by the building owner in favour of the adjoining owner
• Access arrangement for the surveyors
• A time limit for commencement of the works, usually 12 months
• The adjoining owner’s surveyor’s fee

How long does it take to put a party wall award in place?

Depending on the notices served and the complexity of the job, it can take anything from 2 months to over 6 months. Therefore, it is worth considering this when your planning application has been approved.

If you still have any questions about party walls, party wall problems or aren’t sure if your works falls within the Party Wall etc Act 1996, get in touch for a free initial assessment. We are fully regulated by RICS and a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, so you can be confident you will be in safe hands.

Get in touch for a free initial Party Wall assessment

Our Company Ethos

Bhamra Associates Ltd Architectural Services logo

We always strive to deliver the best level of expertise and service possible whether we are conducting surveys, providing full planning services or handling matters relating to Party Walls’ legislation.

Bhamra Associates Ltd Architectural Services logo

We believe in being honest with our clients and will only ever offer you genuine advice and guidance based on your particular property rather than making generic assumptions.

Bhamra Associates Ltd Architectural Services logo

We will take the time to discuss and understand your needs to ensure that we provide a service that is focused on you and your objectives. Our aim is simply to give you peace of mind.


  • We would like to thank you for solving the problems we were experiencing with the builders at the property next door. It was causing us a great deal of stress, upset and damage to our property. You took the matter over, dealt with it and brought it to swift conclusion, resulting in a lovely new fence and paving repairs.

    Jack & Marg
  • Having moved in a few months now. I’ve had time to reflect and would like to personally thank everyone at Bhamra Associates for the way they dealt with producing a thorough inspection, which followed with a detailed building survey report prior to our xchange on our first property.

    Adrian Sear
  • Just a quick note to thank you for your fantastically prompt and efficient service recently. My client needed a valuation for mortgage purposes on a flat in London – and needed it done virtually straight away. You organised a valuation at a day’s notice and provided the written report a day later. My client is very happy – and so am I!

    Mike Lupton
  • It is certainly true to say that your help with our party wall agreement has been invaluable.

    Louise Goodridge