Is Constructing a Timber Fence over a Party Fence Wall Covered by the Act?

by: The Party Wall Surveyor


My neighbour is constructing a fence in addition to and fixed to our (and the neighbours) party wall.

Could you please clarify what they can and can’t do? I’m of the understanding that there are specific rules detailing what is permissible by law. Could you please clarify our position and what provision can be made regarding required permissions?


A straightforward reading of the Act suggests that any cutting into the party wall, which would include drilling, has to be notified to the adjoining owner and either their consent obtained or a party wall award.

However, it is generally considered that some works are too minor to require notice e.g. if you were hanging a picture in your house that required a screw in the party wall it would be unreasonable to have to formally notify the adjoining owner.

As I say, the party wall act makes no such distinctions, but we have some guidance in the Government’s Explanatory Booklet which includes the following advice:

Some works on a party wall may be so minor that service of notice under the Act would be generally regarded as not necessary.

Things like:

  1. drilling into a party wall to fix plugs and screws for ordinary wall units or shelving
  2. cutting into a party wall to add or replace recessed electric wiring and sockets
  3. removing old plaster and replastering

may all be too minor to require a notice under the Act.

However, the key point is whether your planned work might have any possible consequences for the structural strength and support functions of the party wall as a whole, or cause damage to the Adjoining Owner’s side of the wall. If you are in doubt about whether your planned work requires a notice you might wish to seek advice from a qualified building professional.