The PARTY WALL etc. ACT 1996

The Act doesn't just cover works to a Party Wall (a wall separating two properties or built astride a boundary), it applies to various building works on or close to a boundary. It sets down the rights & duties of owners undertaking such works and provides protection to the adjoining owners.

If a dispute arises between a person doing work and a neighbour a Party Wall Surveyor (or two Surveyors) must make a Party Wall Award to resolve the dispute. The surveyor's duty is to examine the proposed works and ensure that they are properly designed and are executed in a manner which is not likely to cause damage to adjoining buildings or property. A detailed record of the condition of the adjoining property is normally made so that if damage is caused it can be identified and made good. We use drones to survey inaccessible roofs.

If you receive a Notice because 

your neighbour plans to undertake works which fall under the Act you should consult a Party Wall Surveyor (we are happy to offer free advice).

If you sign a Party Wall Notice before taking advice you could lose some of the protection given by the Act including the right to require a prior schedule of condition of your property to be made and the right to appoint a surveyor. 

​​Click here or call for specific advice.


You can view or download the Party Wall Act itself using the the big grey button below. For further advice please contact us:

Watson Woods Partnership

HomeWork Putney, 192 Upper Richmond Rd, London, SW15 2SH


​​Tel: 020 8788 7128

Section 1 Notice

How can I find MORE advice?

You are at the right place. This web site contains a great deal of advice and there are links to other references, most importantly the Governments Advisory Booklet, Government Guidance: Preventing & Resolving Disputes, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 itself. Additional reference and advice can be obtained from the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors the RICS. (7th Ed.Guidance Notes)and the RICS Owners Guide to the Party Wall Act.

We are happy to offer free advice either on the telephone or via e-mail. Please contact us

Section 6 Notice

Using A Neighbour's  wall

You may  only cut into a neighbour's wall to insert a flashing when building a wall alongside. Enclosing upon a neighbour's wall turns the wall into a Party Wall and requires the neighbour's agreement.

 About us: 

We are based in Putney, London SW15. Our practice was founded in 1984 by Robert Watson.  Laurence Smith BSc (Hons) and Paul Smith BSc (Hons) were partners.  

We are very experienced, specialist Party Wall Surveyors. All our surveyors (except supervised trainees) are qualified and are registered members of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.  ​​Why use us? - Unlike many Party Wall Surveyors our fees are reasonable. We will normally offer a fixed fee and we are happy to provide references  (read our reviews via the button below). Most importantly we are dedicated to resolving problems between neighbours rather than profiting from a dispute.

 Frequently Asked Questions: 

Section 3 Notice

adjacent excavation

If you excavate within 3m of a neighbour's foundations to a lower depth, or within 6m to a lower depth than a line struck at 45 degrees down from the underside of the neighbour's foundations. 

Who are defined as 'owners'

Building Owners are the owners of the property where the work is proposed. 

Adjoining Owners are normally the owners of surrounding properties but can also be the owners of flats above or below proposed works. An Adjoining Owner is normally a freeholder, leaseholder or long term tenant. Short term rental tenants (less than 1 year) are not Adjoining Owners as defined by the Act.

​​See information on this link for more details

Section 3 Notice

Common types of work covered by the Party Wall Act

​​Watson Woods SURVEYORS

Party Wall Surveyors

Putney Party Wall Surveyors

Works To A PArty wall

You may cut into a Party Wall, cut away chimney breasts or projections, raise, rebuild repair, underpin and expose the Party Wall to the weather. If you plan to underpin for a basement read this first.

A wall on a boundary

You can build a new wall either as a Party Wall (astride a boundary) subject to your neighbour's consent, or close to the boundary and wholly on your own property.​ It's important to know where your boundary is.

Watson Woods Partnership

If you propose to undertake work to a Party Wall or close to a neighbouring building or property it is possible that the works will fall under the terms of the Party Wall Act requiring notice to be served.

You should consult a Party Wall Surveyor soon because notices may need to be served two months before works start. Leaving things to the last moment can cause costly delays

Click here or call us for specific advice.


If minor domestic work is proposed (i.e a loft or simple extension) and both owners, whilst wishing to properly follow the law and benefit from the maximum protection, are sensible and co-operative then the best solution is for the Adjoining Owner to consent subject to a prior Schedule of Condition of their property. This gives provided effective protection and saves unnecessary Surveyor's fees .

​It is a myth that it's necessary to have a more expensive Party Wall Award for an Adjoining Owner to have the protection given by the Party Wall Act.  Click here to find out more.