How to best serve a party wall notice?

The party wall act outlines what information a correctly served party wall notice must contain. The party wall act 1996 introduced a procedure for resolving disputes between owners of neighbouring properties. Disputes, which may arise because of one owner’s intention to carry out works that can affect the party wall. The type of works varies but can involve the construction of the party wall. the boundary wall or excavations within certain distances of a neighbour’s structure and to a lower depth than the foundation. 


The 1996 act can be traced back to 1666 great fire of London, this led to a radical re think of the party wall construction to restrict the spread of fire to the adjacent properties. Before the act was put in place there was no set procedure in England and Wales for dealing with any disputes, which led to expensive litigation to resolve matters. In inner London, part VI of the London building acts 1939 set out a well tried and tested mechanism for resolving disputes. The party wall act 1996 is essentially a re-working of the 1939 act but with certain modifications to improve some anomalies and general updating of the text.

How best to serve a party wall notice

There are three different types of party wall notices that you may need to serve, there might be a reason to use one, two or even all of them:

- There is a section 1 notice which is when you would like to build on the boundary line

- Section 3 notice is when you want to work on an existing party wall or party fence wall.

- Section 6 notice is when you want to excavate within 3m of your neighbour and deeper than the foundation.

According to the party wall act notice guidelines, there should be sufficient detail and description for a neighbour to understand how your proposals may affect their building. If the description is missing or is too broad, the notice might be considered as invalid if challenged by the neighbour.

All party wall notices must be served by building owners, but they can appoint a party wall surveyor to sign and serve the notice on their behalf. The surveyor will need to be authorised before they can serve the notice.

All notices must have the following:

- The notice must be served in writing to avoid having a conversation that can later be denied by either party.

- If there are two owners, they both should be mentioned in the notice.

- The notice should be dated if posted and should be sent recorded delivery to ensure that the recipient receives it.

- You can give the notice in the neighbours hand in person or if they are not in then under their door.

Still not sure about how to best serve a party wall notice to your neighbour? SevenOne Associates has party wall surveyor specialists who are more than happy to help you with all your party wall issues.

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