Party Wall or Not ?

09 July 2018

Party Wall

Party Wall or Not

When a Building Owner is proposing to carry out a rear extension, it is only natural that they would want to maximise from the maximum amount of floor space available within their land subject to planning and cost of course.

If a ‘structure’ (wall) does not currently exist on the boundary location, a Building Owner is entitled to build up to the Line of Junction (boundary line) which includes projecting footings to build a wall wholly on their land, after serving one months’ Notice under Section 1(5) of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act). There is no requirement to obtain consent from an Adjoining Owner when building wholly on the Building Owner’s land.

Alternatively, in order to create additional floor space with their full width extension, the Building Owner can serve Notice under Section 1(2) of the Act to build a wall astride the boundary, positioned equally on both lands; a party wall. However, as building a party wall requires encroachment upon the Adjoining Owner’s land, there is a requirement to obtain express consent from the relevant Adjoining Owner. If express consent is not obtained to build a party wall from an Adjoining Owner, the Building Owner will have to revert to building an independent wall positioned wholly on the Building Owner’s land, as per Section 1(5) above.

An advantage of an Adjoining Owner agreeing to the construction of a party wall will be that in the event they wish to build their own extension in the future they will then be entitled to enclose and benefit from the party wall, subject to serving their own relevant Notice. However, where an Adjoining Owner encloses upon an existing party wall, the Building Owner will then be entitled to receive payment from the Adjoining Owner of half the estimated cost of the wall’s construction, calculated on present day value. The Adjoining Owner’s programme and general inconvenience will however be reduced by having the party wall element of their extension already complete.