The Party Wall Act

If you are building close to a neighbour then you may well need to comply with the Party Wall Act. Basically it covers you against damage to someone else’s property that occurs as a consequence of your building work. Normally this is related to foundations.

For some planning permission and building regulations are all you need to comply with, but in a lot of cases there are more procedures. Basically, if you are doing work within 6 metres of someone else’s building you will need to comply with the Party Wall Act that took effect in 1996 in England and Wales.


If you are digging foundations that are deeper than your neighbours foundations and are within 3 metres then you will need the Party Wall Act. Also, if you are digging particularly deep foundations the distance from your neighbours building may stretch to up to 6 metres. During your planning application this should be pointed out to you.

If you do fall under the Party Wall Act you need to contact your neighbour(s) so that they can voice any concerns of potential damage to their property. Normally this is pretty informal, but your neighbour(s) are within their rights to make this more official, and could end up costing you money if they request a professional structural engineer or surveyor comes and takes a look at the situation.

If you are potentially going to interfere with someone else’s foundations then you will need to state whether you will strengthen or protect your neighbours structures, and any of this is best looked into at the design stage to avoid costly expenses later down the line. Hopefully this step will not cost you too much in terms of time and money, but it can get complicated and time can roll on waiting to finalise agreements etc.

For more information visit here where you can get more information and download the free Party Wall Act 1996: explanatory booklet.

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