Advice Hub: Party walls

Party wall questions are some of the most common queries we receive and as such we have a wide variety of articles covering this subject. There are so many aspects to party wall - serving notice, reaching agreement, awards, and also conflict with neighbours when agreement cannot be reached, or work has been undertaken without seeking party wall agreement. Whether you or your neighbour are having an extension, converting a loft or basement, having substantial garden work done, or new boundary walls or fencing, we answer your questions.

Gallows Bracket

When should gallows brackets be used?

When do I need to use Gallows Brackets?

You may have read our article about removing a chimney breast and the requirements by law to ensure you have the correct agreements in place with your neighbour if the chimney breast is on a party wall, never mind a decent builder who understands structural concerns. What we don’t talk about much in that article are chimney support brackets, or gallow brackets, which you might need to consider once you have removed Read more...

Eccentric Foundations

Extensions: maximising space with eccentric foundations

Eccentric Foundations – a guide

If you live in a semi-detached or terraced property you have a right to build up to the boundary, and ‘if necessary’, a right to put foundations on your neighbour’s land, however, you will almost certainly need party wall agreement. So, for example, if you want to extend to the back or side of your house you must get a party wall agreement. Your neighbours can say no to you putting foundations on their Read more...

Chimney breast removal party wall act

Taking out a chimney breast – Party Wall Agreements

Removing a chimney breast and why you need a party wall agreement

Taking out a chimney breast. It can look like an easy way to make a room bigger in an older house. At first glance it seems easy, knock it out with a sledgehammer, bag up the rubble, plaster the wall, decorate and hey presto a few extra square metres of living space.

But… it isn’t that easy. And you also need to do a fair bit of paperwork. Read more...

Image inside basement undergoing renovation

Can I add a basement to my property?

Homeowners continue to add basements to their property, often because it is a cost-effective alternative to buying a bigger house, and options for building higher or outward might be limited.

The process of constructing a basement is actually quite straightforward – underpin the existing walls (including any party walls shared with neighbours), dig out the hole, cast a floor slab and fit out the space (oh, and make sure it is properly waterproofed). But, a basement project also comes with … Read more...

deep excavation, JCB, party wall notice

Do I need a party wall agreement for…

Dealing with party walls and neighbours are often not considered by homeowners when they are planning works, renovating or have a project on the go. Most people know they will need planning permission and building regs/control, but many haven’t heard of party wall notices and agreements, never mind when they are required.

This article explains some common examples where party wall agreements are usually needed.

First, what is a party wall?

A party wall can be defined as one … Read more...

No reply to a party wall notice - advice from a party wall surveyor

What if I don’t receive a reply to my party wall notice?

It happens all the time. You serve a party wall notice, wait and then… nothing.

So, what do you do? Well, as far as the Party Wall etc Act is concerned there are 14 days to reply (in writing), after which your neighbour is deemed to have dissented from the notice. Strictly speaking that means that if they come back on the 16th day wanting to consent, they can’t because they are time barred, but very often common sense will … Read more...

fair faced brick wall

Do I need a Party Wall Surveyor to get a party wall agreement?

A large proportion of Collier Stevens’ work is serving party wall notices, agreeing awards and resolving disputes. We have a dedicated section in our Advice Hub that may help you answer any other party wall related queries. We’re often asked what we actually do, so this article aims to help you understand why a surveyor is needed and what the parameters of the role are.

Who can be a party wall surveyor?

There is no restriction on anybody calling themselves … Read more...

signing a party wall notice

How do you serve a party wall notice correctly?

The Party Wall Act sets out what information a properly served party wall notice must contain. There is no standard format, but many party wall surveyors use standard templates to ensure that the notice provides the required information. It is essential that your party wall notices are properly drafted and valid, any error can make them invalid and set back your work.

serving party wall notcies

It is essential that Party wall notices are always be in writing – avoid the temptation to have … Read more...

loft conversion - party walls, planning, building regulations

What are the rules and regulations for loft conversions?

We’re seeing an increasing number of homeowners considering home improvements rather than moving. People want to increase the size of their current home rather than taking the next step on the property ladder, or they might want to push up the value of their property.

A loft conversion is a great way to add a bedroom to your property without increasing the footprint or losing garden space with an extension. Generally, in the South East and London, you might be … Read more...

building on the boundary - hoarding , site safety, protection

Advising neighbours of building work

We are often called by homeowners asking what they can do when their neighbour starts building work without telling them. Quite often your neighbour doesn’t have to notify you, but here are some situations where they are obliged to. This article tries to answer a few of the more common queries we receive.

boundary hoarding - neighbour doing building work

Does my neighbour have to notify me of building work?

Unless the work that is being done falls within the notification requirements of the Party Wall ActRead more...

Solar panels – what lurks beneath?

Between 2012 and 2017 the UK and Europe saw a surge in the domestic use of power generation from solar panels (see this article for more information). It has tailed off a bit, but the chances of buying a property with solar panels is now a lot greater than it was a decade ago. You might also want to sell a property with solar panels. So, what do buyers and sellers of houses with light absorbing power generators need … Read more...

Party Wall Notice - removing a chimney breast

Would you ever have thought removing a chimney breast needed permission?

So, you have a lovely house, but the two alcoves in the living room and bedroom are beginning to drive you mad. You could do so much more with the space if the chimney breast wasn’t there: a nice little free standing stove, or maybe even just use the space for furniture. But could you just remove the chimney breast? Take a sledgehammer to it, slap a bit of plaster on to tidy up the wall and decorate – bish, … Read more...