Is a Party Wall Agreement Absolutely Essential?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

We are planning for work to start on a rear extension to our house within the next few weeks.  We are extending within the limits of permitted development rights (3m out) and the drawings show our wall being within our boundary.  We’ve got a lawful development certificate and building reg approval.

Now however our neighbours (adjoining) have decided they would like to extend in the same way (we’d suggested this to them months ago but finances have only just allowed it).  They’ve used the same architect as us and he’s suggested that instead of both building inside our boundaries we should have a party wall.

This makes sense.  But he’s also advised this will require a party wall agreement and that there should be a 30 day notice period before any works start!  This means us delaying our works which we’re not keen to do.

Is a party wall agreement absolutely essential if both parties are in agreement and mutually benefit?

I don’t want to delay things and pay for a surveyor etc unless really necessary.

Answer

If you and your neighbour are in agreement you can decide to completely ignore the Act – there are no penalties for ignoring the Act and if you are both in agreement the other will not take any action.

The alternative would be that you each serve notice on the other and then each consent in writing – the consents should also indicate that neither of you have any problem with the work commencing before the end of the 1 month statutory notice period (I think this is the 30 days that you architect was referring to). You may wish to use this tool to draft the notices.

I agree that having a shared wall built astride the boundary would be the best solution.