I believe my Neighbours have Destabilised our Boundary wall and are undertaking a rear Extension. Am I eligible for a Party Wall Award?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

I believe my neighbours have destabilised my boundary wall by cutting down my ivy hedge from their side. This wall screens my house from theirs. They are building an extention right up to my boundary. Am I eligible for a Party Wall Award & how do I go about it please ?

Answer

If the foundations to the new extension involve excavating deeper than the foundations to your boundary wall (which I’m assuming is within 3 metres) then you should be served with a notice under Section 6 of the Party wall Act. You will then have the opportunity to appoint a surveyor.

If the wall to the new building is being built on a boundary (which has not previously been built on) then the owners should also serve you with notice under Section 1 of the Act. I have no way of knowing how the wall became unstable.

Follow-up

When you mentioned the excavations did you mean three metres from the boundary or from the house ?

They are also excavating below the level of the boundary wall. It is a Victorian retaining wall & has as I understand, only loose bricks as it’s foundations. It is their plan to reinforce the foundations of this wall with concrete peers. Does this sound correct to you ?

Answer

I meant within 3 metres of the house (or any other permanent structure) rather than the boundary. A boundary wall is also classed as a structure under the Act so if you have rights over it (either solely or jointly) and they are excavating within 3 metres and deeper than its foundations that work will also be notifiable under the Act.

If the wall is unstable then it would make sense to strengthen it before they excavate but they should state their intentions on the notice – your surveyor will then consider whether their suggestion is appropriate.

There are links to a couple of party wall surveyor organisations on our resources page where you should find details of a local surveyor – https://www.partywalladvice.com/resources/