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Extension and Renovations Advice: 

What is the Party Wall Act? 

Before starting any extension or renovation project for your home, it's crucial to understand and comply to all compulsory legal frameworks to avoid any complications during or after the completion of the work.

The Party Wall Act — an entirely separate piece of legislation from Planning or Building Regulations —is an essential obligation for homeowners whose building project infringes the boundary line of their property. But what exactly is this Act, and how might it influence your extension and renovation project in Maidenhead and beyond? Let's find out.

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What is the Party Wall Act?

The Party Wall Act, officially known as the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, is a piece of legislation intended to prevent and resolve disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls, and excavations near neighbouring buildings. A party wall is a wall that sits on the land of two (or more) owners and forms part of a building. This could be the wall that separates semi-detached or terraced houses, or it could be the garden wall that is shared between neighbours.

Key provisions of the Act

The Act provides a procedure that must be followed when certain works are proposed. This includes:

Notifying your neighbour (serving them a "party wall notice") about your plans well in advance.

Detailing the proposed works with drawings and a written description.

Providing assurance that the work will be carried out in a manner that is considerate and will not cause unnecessary inconvenience.

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The impact on your project

For homeowners in Maidenhead planning an extension or a renovation, the Party Wall Act could have several implications:

Notice period and planning

You are required to give notice to your neighbours if you intend to carry out any work covered by the Act. The notice period is usually two months for structural works and one month for excavation works. This requires forward planning to avoid delays in your project start date.

Design considerations

The Act may influence certain design aspects of your project. For example, if your extension requires digging foundations that are deeper than your neighbour's foundations, you will need to ensure that your plans comply with the Act's provisions for excavation and underpinning.

Dispute resolution

If your neighbour disagrees with your proposed works or fails to respond within the specified timeframe, the Act provides mechanisms for dispute resolution. This typically involves both parties appointing a building surveying company to draw up a "party wall award" that outlines how the work should proceed and addresses any additional measures needed to protect the adjoining property.

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Our expertise at your service

At Maidenhead Planning, we understand that dealing with the legal aspects of a building project can be daunting. That's where we come in. Our team of experts is well-versed in the intricacies of the Party Wall Act and can guide you through every step of the process.

Our comprehensive services include:

Advice and consultation

We can help you understand whether the Party Wall Act applies to your project and advise you on the steps you need to take.

Notice Serving

We can prepare and serve the required notices on your behalf, ensuring that all legal requirements are met.

Surveying services

Should a dispute arise, we can act as your appointed surveyor or as the agreed surveyor for both parties, helping to resolve matters efficiently and amicably.

How can we help?

At Maidenhead Planning, we're here to make sure your building or renovation project runs smoothly, respecting both the letter and the spirit of the law. If you're concerned about how the Party Wall Act might affect your project, please do get in touch or book a free video consultation to discuss any other aspects of the build.

Posted on March 20th 2024

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