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.
It is essential that Party wall notices are always be in writing – avoid the temptation to have an over the garden fence ‘it’ll all be OK’ type conversation. They must also be official notices and not just headed with ‘Agreement’.
What type of party wall notices are there?
There are three different party wall notices that may need to be served. You may need to use one, two or all of them:
- Section 1 Notice – where you want to build on the boundary line
- Section 3 Notice – where you want to work on an existing party wall or party fence wall (garden wall)
- Section 6 Notice – where you want to excavate within 3m of your neighbour and deeper than their foundations
What should the party wall notice include?
A party wall notice should give sufficient detail and a simple description of the work, to enable a neighbour to understand what work you want to do and how it may affect their building. If the description is missing, or is too broad, for instance simply “build extension” then the notice might be considered as invalid if challenged.
All party wall notices must:
- Give the name and address of the people doing the work (‘the building owner’). If there are two owners, for instance Mr and Mrs Smith, then both must be named.
- Be signed, either by the building owners or their authorised representative.
- Be dated. The date should be the delivery date if done in person, or the date of posting if being sent in the mail. This is important as the notice period starts running from the stated date.
- Be served on all neighbours (‘adjoining owners’) as defined by the Act. This can include both freehold and leasehold owners.
- Give sufficient detail and description of the intended work and the date on which you want to start.
If a notice is served under Section 6 for adjacent excavation, then it must be accompanied by plans and sections showing the site and depth of any excavation. These drawings are mandatory for Section 6 notices. It must also state whether the building owner intends to underpin, or otherwise strengthen the foundations of the adjoining owner’s building. If reinforced foundations are in your building plan, you may need to confirm that special foundations are proposed.
Many party wall surveyors consider it good practice to include a drawing explaining the proposed work with their other party wall notices too.
Who serves party wall notices?
All party wall notices must be served by building owners, but you can authorise a party wall surveyor to sign and serve notice on your behalf. It is vital that you ensure the party wall surveyor is authorised before they issue a notice on behalf of the building owner. A surveyor can of course prepare the notice and pass it to their client to sign and serve without such authority.
Is there a set format for party wall notices?
There is no specific format for the required notices. However, many surveyors use standard party wall forms and party wall notice templates.
We have free templates for you to use which you can download here. Please email us for our free and detailed guide to filling these in correctly. If you need help though, please get in touch for a free no obligation quote using the form below.