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Last edited 31 Jan 2020
Party wall notice response options
A neighbour may serve you with a Party Wall Notice with regards to upcoming construction work. For example, a building owner may want to build an extension, amend/modify the structure of a party wall or may work close to a building’s foundation. A building owner may even serve you with a notice if they need to carry out excavations near neighbouring buildings.
In this scenario, you have three options. You may ignore the notice, you may agree or you may dissent/disagree. There are consequences of all these actions:
- Your neighbour may consult with you with regards to this issue or may appoint a party-wall surveyor if you do not reply to the notice.
- You have to sign the ‘acknowledgement’ letter that is enclosed together with the party wall notice if you agree to the notice. Signing this letter attests to the fact that you agree to the construction work.
- A formal dispute between you and your neighbour will start if you disagree. Your neighbour may appoint a party-wall surveyor to resolve the issue. You also have the right to appoint a surveyor in order to represent your interest.
According to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, you will be identified as an ‘adjoining owner’ as you received the notice and your neighbour is identified as the building owner as they served you with the notice.
 Appointing solicitors
If you dissent/disagree with the construction work outlined in the party wall notice then you may appoint a solicitor to represent your interests in the dispute. You may appoint a qualified and experienced party-wall surveyor instead of appointing a solicitor.
 Consenting to construction work
The simplest option after being served with a notice is to consent to the construction work outlined in it. If you agree to the notice, then you are permitting the building owner to move forward with the proposed construction works within the specified timeline.
It is not uncommon for an adjoining owner to receive an incorrectly drafted notice or letter. A notice being served to an adjoining owner may be invalid due to a technicality. The construction work is not supposed to start until the flawed notice has been corrected and redrafted and has been reserved on all affected parties.
 Consenting with conditions
According to the Party Wall Act 1996, an adjoining owner has the legal right to ask for an amendment to the proposals. However, you have to make a financial contribution to the construction project if this amendment benefits your property. A ‘building-owner’ is allowed to consider this request. They may seek the advice of a surveyor to ensure that this request is permitted by the Party Wall Act or to learn about the impact of this amendment on their property.
 Dissenting from construction work
It is possible to delay a construction project if you sign the acknowledgement notice as disagreeing to the work. It informs a building owner regarding your objection and they may try to resolve this issue through a discussion with you or may appoint a party-wall surveyor. You may propose to appoint a surveyor to represent your own interests.
A building owner is supposed to pay the consultation fees of all appointed surveyors. However, in exceptional circumstances, an adjoining owner is supposed to pay the consultation fee of the party wall surveyor who represents their interest in the party wall dispute.
 Ignoring the party wall notice
Nothing is gained from ignoring a party wall notice, as it will turn into an automatic dissent/dispute after a few days. However, this process protects an adjoining owner if they are away from home for a few days and cannot learn about the notice until their return.
- Altering/rebuilding/repairing a party chimney stack on the roof.
- Cutting out and replacing the damaged bricks of a shared parapet wall that rises above the roof level.
It is also prudent to work with separate party-wall surveyors if there is complex construction work (piling, opening-up a structure, deep excavations) or if a surveyor has to monitor the structure during construction.
 About this article
This article was provided by Berrylodge in January 2020.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Adjoining buildings definition.
- Appointing consultants.
- Basement excavation.
- Building an extension.
- De minimis.
- Derogation from grant.
- Line of junction notice.
- Load-bearing wall.
- Party structure notice.
- Party wall surveyor.
- Preventing wall collapse.
- Responsibility for boundary features.
- Right of support.
- Statutory approvals.
- Statutory authorities.
- Wall types.
- What approvals are needed before construction begins.
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