If the planned conversion will affect the wall that joins your house to your neighbour’s house, you will need to have a Party Wall Agreement. This is an agreement between you and your neighbour, which aims to ensure that work carried out is fair and will not endanger your neighbour’s property. Once the agreement is in place, all work must comply with the notice.
Under The Party Wall Act 1996, which came into force in 1997, you are bound by rights and responsibilities. The Party Wall Act does not affect any requirement for Planning Permission or Building Regulation Approval for any work undertaken. Obtaining Planning Permission and/or Building Regulation Approval does not override the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
Under the Act, a ‘party wall’ does not just mean the wall between two semi-detached properties, it also covers, for example:
- A wall forming part of only one building but which is on the boundary line between two (or more) properties.
- A wall which is common to two (or more) properties, including where a wall was built and a neighbour subsequent built a structure butting up to it.
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the boundary line (or butts up against it) and is used to separate the properties but is not part of any building.
The general principle of the Party Wall Act requires that notification must be given involving all work to be carried out, which might:
- Have an effect upon the structural strength or support function of the party wall, or
- Cause damage to the neighbouring side of the wall
The notice must include :
- Owners of the property undertaking the work.
- Address of the property.
- Names of all the owners of the adjoining property.
- Brief, single line description of the proposed work.
- Proposed start date for the work.
- Clear statement that the notice is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- Date the notice is being served.
If the neighbour has any concerns, they may request an independent party wall surveyor to approve the work who may ask for any reasonable amendments to be made before signing off the work to proceed.