The purpose of the Act is to put a framework in place in which party wall matters can be resolved without expensive legal action. It is written to assist building owners to complete their proposed work and also give protection to the adjoining owners to the extent as they may be affected.
The Act is therefore designed to enable various construction works to proceed without interference and not hinder the progress of works. If an adjoining owner dissents to a notice served on them it does not mean that they can stop works proceeding. Instead it means he has the right to appoint a party wall surveyor to prepare and serve an award taking into consideration the adjoining owner’s rights as well as authorising the time and method of the proposed works.
Basically the Act sets out precisely what can be done when proposed construction works have an effect upon neighbouring property.
The Act is applicable in the following simplified situations:
- Building on a ‘line of junction’ (boundary) that is not built upon
- Carrying out various works to an existing party or boundary wall
- Excavating within 3m or 6m of the adjoining property
The Act came into force on 01 July 1997 and applies throughout England & Wales. It does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The Act does not remove the need for Town Planning, Building Regulation or any other statutory requirements.