The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 provides a framework for amicably preventing and resolving disputes between neighbours in connection with party walls and structures, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 grants extensive rights, which do not exist within common law, to Building Owners undertaking certain construction work as defined within the Act. It legally obliges Building Owners to serve a formal Notice on Adjoining Owners before starting any works, allowing the Adjoining Owners to seek professional representation by appointing a Party Wall Surveyor, if they so wish.

The Party Wall Company provides a flowchart guide showing how the Party Wall process works for both Adjoining Owners and Building Owners. Please take a look or download it for free:

Impartial Information

The Department for Communities and Local Government produce a free Explanatory Booklet on the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 which we often recommend as a good source of impartial information.  Please download a copy below.  You can also download the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 here.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (Explanatory Booklet)The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

How The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 Works

  • In simplistic terms, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 can be split into two stages; firstly the Notifying Stage and secondly, if required, the Disputed Stage.  The first stage is where the Building Owners have a legal obligation to serve a formal Notice detailing the proposed works upon the Adjoining Owners.  If the Adjoining Owners are satisfied that the Building Owners’ proposed works will be of no inconvenience or, pose no threat of damage to their property, the Adjoining Owners only need to confirm, in writing, that they consent to the works and the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 could end there.  The second stage would only be triggered if the Adjoining Owners had any concerns relating to the Building Owners’ proposals or chose to ignore the Notice served by the Building Owners.
  • A dispute would then be deemed to have arisen and, the framework provided by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 enables a resolution so that the Building Owners could undertake works whilst providing protection to both parties.  At the point of a “dispute” having arisen, both the Building Owners and the Adjoining Owners have to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to proceed with resolving the dispute.  This could be via separate surveyor appointments or, by agreeing to a single surveyor, called the Agreed Surveyor.