Party walls

Page updated on: 10/11/2017

Some kinds of work carried out to a property may not be controlled by the Building Regulations, but may be work which is covered by the Party Wall Act 1996. This is a separate piece of legislation with different requirements to the Building Regulations. There will be some instances where both the Party Wall Act and the Building Regulations apply to the work being carried out.

The Party Act came into force on 1 July 1996 and applies throughout England and Wales. The Act provides guidance for preventing and resolving disputes about party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.

If you intend to carry out building work which involves any of the following you must find out whether that work falls within the Act. If it does, you must notify all adjoining neighbours:

  • work on an existing wall shared with another property
  • building on the boundary with a neighbouring property
  • excavating near a neighbouring building

What is a Party Wall?

According to the Act a wall is a 'party wall' if

  • it stands astride the boundary of land belonging to two or more different owners and is part of one building
  • or it belongs to one owner but separates two or more buildings

A wall is also a 'party wall' if it stands wholly on one owner's land but is used by two or more owners to separate their buildings. A 'party fence wall' is not part of a building, and stands astride the boundary line between lands of different owners e.g. a garden wall. A 'party structure' could be a wall, floor partition or similar which separates buildings or parts of buildings e.g. flats.

The Act covers work on existing party walls, new buildings on the boundary line between neighbouring pieces of land and excavation near neighbouring buildings.