Party Wall Act 1996 – the terminology


When it comes to litigation, sometimes it is hard to identify exactly what it all means. The Party Wall Act 1996 is national legislation providing a framework to enable neighbours who share a boundary to carry out building works.

Below we explain some of the legal terminology used, including the key ‘Sections’ of the Act that you need to take note of. ​

​Adjoining Owner​An owner of a property joined to the building owner.
​Agreed Surveyor​A surveyor acting for both the building owner and the adjoining owner in an impartial capacity
​Building Owner​The owner of a building who undertakes building work covered by the Act.
Dispute​Where an adjoining owner does not consent to an agreed surveyor and appoints his own surveyor (for which the building owner will pay)
​Dissent​Where an adjoining owner does not consent to an agreed surveyor and appoints his own surveyor (for which the building owner will pay)
​Party Wall​The wall dividing a building owner and adjoining owner.
​Party Wall Award​The legal document produced by the surveyors/agreed surveyors detailing all rights and allowing works to proceed. Owners in dispute appoint their own surveyors who then resolve and serve the award on the owners.
​Party Wall Notice​A document detailing the proposed works and served upon an adjoining owner prior to works commencing.
​Section 1 of the Act​Deals with construction of new walls on the line of junction. Only possible with consent. Must serve one month before works commence.
​Section 2 of the Act​Covers works to existing party structures.
​Section 6 of the ActDeals with excavations within three metres/six metres of adjoining owner. If proposed works are within three metres of the adjoining owners building, and the foundations are deeper than the base of the adjoining owners foundations, these are notifiable works.
​Security for expenses​Section 12 of the Act provides that the adjoining owner can request a deposit in case works commenced are not completed or there is damage to adjoining owner’s property.
​Third Surveyor​Selected by the two appointed surveyors and called upon to resolve any dispute arising.

​​More information

If you are planning a building project and need advice on the Party Wall Act please contact our specialist Property Litigation team for further advice. It is advisable to discuss this matter at the earliest possible opportunity and before instructing any building works to take place.

If you are a neighbour objecting to any proposed building works or are suffering from any existing building works subject to the Party Wall Act we can also advise on your best course of action. 

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.


Popular Insights

Footer bg

Would you like to know more?

For help and advice, talk to a member of our team. They can advise on the best options in your matter.

Call: 01708 229 444 Email us


Portfolio Builder

Select the legal services that you would like to download or add to the portfolio

    Download    Add to portfolio   

    Remove All


    Click here to share this shortlist.
    (It will expire after 30 days.)