A party wall is a wall separating two properties which are in separate ownership, for example, the wall dividing a terraced or semi detached house from its neighbour. A party wall can also be a garden boundary wall where it is known as a party fence wall. The Act permits an owner to carry out certain works to a party wall or for a new wall to be constructed on the line of a boundary whilst at the same time protecting the interests of a neighbour who might be affected by the work. The Act is designed to avoid or minimise disputes between adjoining owners where work is to be undertaken to a party wall or at a boundary line. The Act requires the owner who wishes to undertake the work to serve a notice on the adjoining owner and sets out very specifically the manner in which the work must be done.
The Act also applies where excavation for foundations is to be carried out, for example, in conjunction with the construction of an extension or a new building, and where this work will be within three or six metres depending on individual circumstances. It is important that procedures under the Act are followed in order to avoid disputes and the possibility of your neighbour serving an injunction to stop the work until proper procedures have been followed.