Watson Woods Partnership
Section 8 of the Party Wall Act gives a right of access onto a neighbour to undertake works which is covered by the Act. For example.
If a notice is served under Section 1 to construct a new wall along a boundary* (either as a Party Wall or as a wall built wholly on the owner's side of the boundary) or if a notice is served under Section 2 to raise or rebuild a Party Wall there is a right of access onto the neighbour's land to build and finish the wall. This includes the placement of scaffolding if this is necessary.
If a notice is served under Section 2 to cut into a wall or to cut away projections it may be necessary to examine the neighbours side to verify design details.
If notice is given under Section 6 to excavate for foundations then access may be needed for safety hoardings or to facilitate the excavation (i.e. to allow access for excavation plant)
* Section 1 of the Act permits walls built on a boundary but excludes boundaries that are already built on (i.e. where a wall exists unless that is just a garden wall).
Whilst a small (de minimis) separation between the boundary and a new wall may be acceptable, walls built separated by a significant margin (say 100mm) from the boundary might be judged not to fall under the provisions of Section 1 of the Act and in this case a Right of Access may not exist.
The right of access may be exercised where:-
1. Notice has been served of intention to undertake works permitted by the Act
2. A neighbour consents to the notice or the works are authorised by a Party Wall Award
3. 14 Days prior notice is given
The extent and duration of the access and any conditions must either be agreed with the neighbour or must be determined by a Party Wall Award.
It is an offence for a neighbour to obstruct permitted access and there is provision in the Party Wall Act for access to be forced in the presence of a Policeman.
Where a right of access exists under the Party Wall Act no “Scaffolding Licence” is necessary, however the Act provides that a neighbour must be compensated for any loss. This can include, for example, loss of use of all or part of a garden or inconvenience.
Access rights given by the Party Wall Act cannot be used to undertake work that does not fall under the Act. For example, a right of access to build a wall should not be used to cover a roof, fix a gutter or for any other casual or related work or access which may be necessary to the building which the wall forms part of.
If a wall is built along a boundary no right of access under the Party Wall Act is provided for future maintenance of that wall so it is important to design the wall to minimise the need for maintenance that would require access onto neighbours property.
If access onto neighbouring property is required for maintainance purposes then this must bee agreed with the neighbouring owner or otherwise obtained under the provisions of the Access to Neighbouring Lands Act 1992.