Our neighbours have served a notice on us stating their intention to build a kitchen extension up to the boundary line between our properties. Within our side of the boundary is a brick garden wall about 12ft long, the rest being wooden fencing, which lies on the boundary along the remaining  length of the garden.  On our side of the wall and fence is an established border with mature plants and fruit trees.  Our neighbour informs us that the brick wall will have to be demolished, the wooden fence taken down, and the border removed and paved as we would not be allowed to breach the new damp proof course to his extension.

We just want to know whether (a) he has the right to destroy our brick wall, and (b) has the right to tell us that we can no longer have a planted border as it would breach his damp proof course?  We don’t really object to the extension, but we do object to our garden being destroyed. 


If the wall is on your land (as you say below) your neighbours do not have the right to remove it. The Party Wall Act gives them the right to underpin it if that is necessary to keep it stable during the works. 

If your wall remains the question in respect of bridging the damp-proof course does not arise.   

If you allowed your wall to be removed (to be neighbourly) that would be as part of an overall agreement to reinstate your planter in a way that did not bridge the damp-proof course e.g. with a low level wall to the rear of the planter and either a gap or some gravel fill behind that. All of the necessary work, including incidental costs such as potting up and reinstating plants as necessary, would be at your neighbours’ expense. The exact details would be agreed either between the owners or the appointed surveyor(s) should you choose to dissent to the notice.


We are planning to repoint the wall in our cellar/basement using lime mortar as the current cement pointing seems to be having a corrosive effect. 

In this case do you think we need a formal Party Wall agreement? 


I think what you’re asking is ‘do we need to serve notice’? A party wall agreement is only required if the notice is dissented to

The Act includes general descriptions of the type of work that is covered but unfortunately does not cite examples. The clause that potentially covers re-pointing a party wall is found in section 2(2)(f): 

to cut into a party structure for any purpose (which may be or include the purpose of inserting a damp proof course); 

The Government Explanatory Booklet to the Act (page 13) gives some examples of work that might be considered too minor to be notifiable including ‘cutting into a party wall to add or replace recessed electric wiring and sockets’ which to me poses a greater risk of damage than re-pointing. 

So, in summary, I don’t think re-pointing is notifiable but that is just an opinion and other surveyors may disagree.


My wife and I have been served 2 notices.

  1. Line of junction notice – the neighbours plan on building “on the line of junction of the said lands a wall wholly on our own land, by carrying out works as detailed below, after the expiration of one month from the service of this notice” the intended works are ” excavate a foundation to construct a single storey side and rear extension”.
  2. Three metre/ Six metre notice – “It is intended to excavate and build within 3 metres of your building and to a lower level than the bottom of your foundations by carrying out the works as detailed below after the expiration of one month from the service of this notice” the intended works are” excavate a foundation to construct a single storey side and rear extension”. 

I would like some advice as what to do as I have been asked to either consent to the work, dissent and use their surveyor to produce an Award or dissent and use my own surveyor to produce and agreed award. 

Our property is a semi-detached house. We recently moved into it and the previous owner has moved the old garage forward slightly and already extended the rear of the house and there is now a utility room behind the garage where the old garage used to be. These new buildings do not currently go up to the boundary between the houses. 

However in the future we would like to be able to extend the side of our house to the furthest we can and also build a second storey on it and I guess my question is where would we stand then if the neighbours were to build up to the line of junction? Would we be able to do the same considering there would be a wall already up very close to our property line as our builders would not be able to get to the neighbours side of our new wall?


Your neighbours have a right to build up to the boundary but can only project their foundations over the boundary if it is necessary. It is not generally necessary in this situation as they can build a wider foundation placed entirely on their own land (known as an ‘eccentric’ foundation). Assuming that they keep the wall and the foundation on their own land you will also be able to build up to the boundary in the future without the hassle of having to cut back. 

You might suggest to your neighbour that they build a new party wall astride boundary. That wall would then be available to use as part of your future extension although you would be obliged to make a fair contribution (not now but when you make use of it). 

In light of the complications above I would suggest that you dissent to the notices and appoint a surveyor. 

Having a formal record of what has been agreed/built will be important when you come to do your works.

Maintenance of an Exposed Party Wall

by The Party Wall Surveyor


This relates to 2 commercial properties, an open depot owned by my family and a single storey office block owned by another company. Our property has a tenant on a long term full repairing lease and we understand the office block is also rented.

We understand that in the late 90’s, prior to our ownership, our site underwent extensive renovation and development. Part of this work involved the demolition of a brick built shed, the back wall of which was also the external side of the back wall of the above mentioned office block. The roof of the shed adjoined the back edge of the office thereby affording the office building a high degree of protection from the elements. This is an unusual arrangement but had been in place for many years prior, apparently with the agreement of all parties.

The shed on our site was demolished, including removal of the roof, and a new single story workshop was constructed approx. 1.5m away from the back wall of the office. This section of wall now forms a small part of the boundary line between the two properties. We understand that a party wall agreement was entered in to at the time of the development work and any necessary works were undertaken to ensure the office wall was waterproof. Indeed, we are not aware of any problems during the ensuing period. Unfortunately, we do not have a copy of the PWA.

However, we have recently heard from the current owners of the office block via their solicitor that damp is now penetrating the wall in question and that we are being held responsible on the grounds that as the current owner (although not the owner who did the work) we are responsible for removal of the shed and its roof and this action has led to the damp problem. We have made them aware that the roof and shed were removed more than15 years ago.

Therefore we would like to know if the original PWA has any relevance in this situation and, if so, is there a register of all party agreements available from which we could obtain a copy. As a final point, do you have an opinion as to who might be responsible for the damp problem.


First of all, there is no central record of party wall agreements.

Regarding the current problem, I can’t see how you would be responsible for the damp issue unless it’s being caused by something that is happening on your side of the wall (such as bridging of the damp-proof course).

It’s most likely that the affected wall was a ‘Type B’ party wall and as such your predecessor will have had to serve notice when it was exposed to the elements by demolition. The award will have included a provision for permanently weather-proofing the exposed wall to protect it from the elements (in accordance with section 2(2)(m) of the Act). Once it was no longer enclosed on your side it was no longer a party wall and your liabilities ceased (beyond fulfilling the provisions of the award).

If it is a ‘Type A’ party wall the same weather-proofing requirement would have applied when it was exposed but it will remain a party wall. However, the costs of maintaining a party wall (see section 2(2)(b) of the Act) are apportioned according to the ‘use made’ (see section 11(5)) and as the wall is now only being used by your neighbour they would pay 100% of the costs.


My mother’s neighbours are intending to extend their property.  They have served a party wall notice.  If my mother agrees to the extension without the need for a party wall survey, is she still protected by the Act if something goes noticeably wrong?


The short answer is ‘Yes’. The case of Onigbanjo vs Pearson confirmed that even if an adjoining owner consents to a party wall notice they do not lose any of their rights including the right to appoint a surveyor if a dispute arises later in the process, for example, over the cause of or cost of making good damage. 

If your Mother does intend to consent she might want to make it conditional on the building owner paying for a surveyor to record the condition of her property prior to works commencing. Without that schedule of condition it will be difficult to differentiate between existing and new damage.


I have just received a notice from my neighbour to say they have applied to the Council to start works for a side return extension. I own a one-bedroom flat next door and will never be able to extend in the manner they intend because of the configuration of the flat. I am concerned that their extension will reduce severely the amount of light to my kitchen and bedroom. What is the best way to deal with this? They have proposed a surveyor, but surely I should get my own? Can one ever stop works? Can one get compensation?


You will not be able to use the Party Wall Act to stop the work. If you are concerned you should comment on the planning application – the planning department should have written to you about the proposals and invited your comments. If the injury to your light is severe a claim may be successful but broadly speaking the planning office use similar criteria to assess applications.

The Party Wall Act does allow for a single surveyor to act for both owners – they are referred to as the Agreed Surveyor. You are also entitled to appoint your own separate surveyor and their reasonable fee will be paid by the Building Owner. It just depends on whether you think you can trust the proposed surveyor to Act impartially as they are obliged to do under the Act – I would suggest that you give them a call for an initial chat and then make a decision.

The party wall act does make provision for compensation but it is relatively rare with residential extensions as the surveyors can only award such where there is a quantifiable loss. From the brief description you provide of your neighbour’s proposed works I think it unlikely that the surveyor(s) would be justified in awarding compensation.


I have recently been considering extending the side of my kitchen, the current structure being a standard single storey extension at the rear of a 1920 terraced house. I wondered if it was possible to incorporate the existing brick party wall as part of the new side wall of the kitchen to maximise space, and what this would entail; what permissions are needed? Does the wall need to be strengthened if I intend to increase it’s height (by approx 1 metre)? What damp proofing will be required to bring the wall in line with current building regulations?


If the existing wall is what is referred to as a Party Fence Wall (a shared boundary wall) in the Party Wall Act then you have a right to raise it and enclose upon it with your extension (Section 2(2)(a)). Your architect will need to advise you on how the wall will have to be upgraded to meet current Building Regulations but I can tell you from experience that most people decide to re-build the wall in this situation – you also have a right to do that under Section 2(2)(l) of the Act.

You will need to serve a Party Structure Notice on your neighbour explaining what you intend to do and when work is due to commence.


As well as applying to raise his roof, my neighbour has also applied to build a corner conservatory alongside our common boundary. In fact the planning application plans show the rear wall of this lean-to extension as constituting the 6ft garden wall between us – plus another 6ft on top, but only along his half. However, I don’t think he owns any of it. As far as I am aware (and I’m in the process of retrieving my deeds to check) the wall stands entirely on my property and the face on the other side forms the boundary. In this situation, does my neighbour have any right to build on top of the wall? Furthermore, can he even use it as part of a structure on his side?
If he concedes the wall is mine and chooses to build an independent structure on his side is he still required to give me notice under the Party Wall Act? It would clearly help, as dissenting – as you suggest for the other work – would be a useful ploy here as well.


If the existing wall is yours then your neighbour has no right to raise it for his use and would require your consent. If he were to build a new wall alongside it on his own land then it would not be notifiable under Section 1 of the Act as the line of junction has already been built on. It would be notifiable under Section 6 if the foundations to the new wall were deeper than those to your existing wall – it is likely that they will be if the new wall was part of a conservatory rather than just a boundary wall.


I am building a rear ‘side return extension’ to my Victorian end of terrace property. The new wall and subsequently foundation of my extension will be within 3m of the corner of my neighbours property, however my new foundations will be bearing above the foundations of the neighbours house. I am assuming therefore that there is no requirement for me to serve a section 6 notice in respect of that particular part of their property.

However the extension wall will also run adjacent [approx 1m apart] from the masonry boundary wall separating our two gardens. I cannot find specific reference in the party wall act guidance notes in respect of excavating in close proximity of a party fence wall. The only reference I seem to find to party fence notices seems to refer to building up to or bearing on to the party fence wall.

Do I therefore need to treat the party fence wall as a ‘party wall’ and serve a section 6, or ‘3 meter notice’ relating specifically to the party fence? As it is reasonably fair to assume that the new foundations will be deeper than the foundation supporting the party fence wall.


The party fence wall will be classed as a structure under the Act so you should serve a Section 6 notice if you will be excavating within 3 meters of it and deeper than the base of its foundations.


We had started to work on a party wall agreement with our neighbour, as it appeared that we would be digging foundations for a new single storey extension deeper than current building foundations. We would be within 3 metres of the neighbours house.

However, we found that the soil conditions were so poor that we would have to go down almost 1.8 metres. This was not acceptable to us and our structural engineer came up with an alternative of building a 1 metre wide foundation, at the same depth as existing building foundations. This negated the need for a party wall agreement.

The neighbours part wall surveyor is now trying to charge us for almost £1000 for 6 hours work. We have seen no work from him, apart from emails, so cannot verify what he has done. He has also made no attempt to agree his charges with our party wall surveyor.

What steps can we take to dispute / agree his charges? We are prepared to make a payment to him, but not for the amount he claims.


On the basis that he acted in good faith the Adjoining Owner’s surveyor is entitled to charge for the work he has done up until the point that you withdrew your notice or informed him that your works will now not fall within the Act.

The amount is something that should be agreed with your surveyor. To have accumulated 6 hours on his time sheet I would expect the Adjoining Owner’s surveyor to have gone a fair bit down the road to agreeing an Award, probably including a visit to site, so you surveyor should be able to verify that. If there is any doubt he can request a copy of his time sheet.

I would not advise you to pay the bill until it is agreed by your surveyor. If the two surveyors cannot agree the matter can me referred to the Third Surveyor that they would have selected once their appointments had been confirmed.