Can a Garage Wall be a ‘Party Wall’ When it is on the Boundary?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

Our local planning department have just advised me that my neighbour is to build a first floor extension on his garage.  This garage is, I believe part of a party wall as it straddles our joint boundary, although mostly on his land.  We have not received any notification from our neighbour that he wants to carry out the work.  Our property is at the bottom of a hill with his house and garage side on to us and elevated above – probably eye-level with our bedrooms.  I am worried that this extension will greatly affect our property, both by its height, overshadowing, loss of privacy and could possibly affect the
value of our property.

Could you please advise if a garage wall is indeed a ‘party wall’ when it is on the boundary of two properties, and further advice as to how to approach this would be greatly appreciated.

Answer

A garage wall can be a party wall if it is built astride the boundary – you would need to refer to your property deeds to confirm. If it is not a party wall but rather your neighbour’s boundary wall he can extend it up without invoking the Act. If the plan is to demolish the garage and replace it with a 2 storey extension then that may well be notifiable under section 1 of the Act and possibly Section 6 depending upon how close it is to your property.

All of the concerns that you mention are planning related and would not come within the jurisdiction of the appointed surveyor(s) even if the work was notifiable. The point of the Party Wall Act is to minimise the chance of damage and inconvenience to you during the course of the works rather than protect the value of your property. If you feel strongly on the planning aspects of the proposals you may want to comment to the local planning office – the letter that you received will provide details of how to do that.