What is a Party Wall Agreement? What you Need To Know

Party Wall Surveyor North London
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If you live in a house or an apartment with a common wall involved somehow, you should know what a Party Wall Agreement is. It is a legally binding document covered by the Party Wall Act 1996 that you will require if you are planning a renovation or extension that affects an adjoining property, outbuilding, or boundary. 

The primary purpose of this agreement is to prevent disputes between parties. The highlight of these agreements defines the party responsible for maintaining the party wall and the repercussions if the wall is not maintained. Typically, each owner is responsible for keeping up their part of the wall as per the agreement. 

Difference Between Party Wall Notice and Party Wall Agreement 

A party wall notice and a party wall agreement are both related to the Party Wall Act, which is a UK law that regulates the construction and maintenance of walls, fences, and other structures that are shared by two or more properties. However, they serve different purposes: 

What is a Party Wall Notice 

A party wall notice is a formal written document that a building owner must serve on their adjoining neighbours (i.e., the owners of the properties next door) before starting any construction work on or near the party wall. The notice must include details of the proposed works, such as the location, nature, and timing of the work, and should be served at least two months before the work is due to begin. The purpose of the notice is to inform the adjoining party wall owners of the planned work and to give them the opportunity to agree or dissent to it. 

What is a Party Wall Agreement 

A party wall agreement is a legal document that is drawn up and signed by the building owner and their adjoining neighbours, with the assistance of a surveyor if necessary. The agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of each party in relation to the proposed works and is designed to minimize any potential disputes or damage to the shared structure. The agreement may also include details of how any costs or damages arising from work will be shared among the parties. 

To Summarize, a party wall notice is a notice served by a building owner on their neighbors to inform them of proposed works, whereas an agreement is a legal document that sets out the terms of the agreement between the parties in relation to the proposed works. 

When do you need a Party Wall Agreement? 

You will need an agreement before carrying out construction, renovation, or extension of any sort. Some of them are as below; 

  • Any work that involves party walls between semi-detached and terraced houses. 
  • Work done on shared party structures, such as floors and ceilings of apartments and flats. 
  • Digging within three to six meters of an adjoining property. 
  • Building a second-storey extension over a shared boundary wall. 
  • Alterations made to the party wall, such as making it thicker or higher. 
  • Repairing of chimneys, wire conduits, fall pipes, drains, sewers and flues shared with a common neighbourhood. 

Once you have decided to carry out any of the tasks mentioned above, you will need to serve the agreement to the adjoining owner two months before any work commences.  

According to the Party Wall Act 1996, your neighbours will have to respond within 14 days; if they agree, you can formulate an agreement without any surveyor’s involvement. However, if the alternate happens, that calls for the hiring of a Party wall surveyor.  

Works that do not require a Party Wall Agreement 

The list of works that require a Party Wall Agreement seems daunting, but not all jobs need it before performing them. These include; 

  • Slight drilling into the wall for uniting or shelving purposes. 
  • Plastering the party wall. 
  • Adding or replacing electrical wirings and sockets on the party wall. 

What does the Party Wall Agreement cover? 

It encapsulates the following information; 

  • Overview of how to carry out the work. 
  • Pre-conditions of both the adjoining properties with photographs as proof. 
  • Addresses of both the properties. 
  • Drawings and details of the planned work.  
  • Contractor’s public liability insurance details.  
  • Details of the surveyors and neighbour surveyor’s fee. 
  • Details of the third surveyor (if included). 
  • Guarantees by the building owner in support of the neighbour.  
  • Working hours. 
  • The time limit for the construction work to start (typically a year). 

What happens if the Neighbours Refuses the Party Wall Agreement 

In case your neighbours refuse to give their consent regarding the construction, you need to hire party wall surveyors who will impartially formulate an as per the Party Wall Act 1996 instructions and clauses. The award is considered a final call. The dispute is mostly settled here; unless one of the adjoining owners is not happy with the decision and appeals to the county court, filing an ‘appellant’s notice. In this scenario, the court will have concluding words.  

General Tips on Keeping the Party Wall Agreement Safe 

The moment both the owners agree to the terms and conditions of the Agreement, it is listed in the pertinent land records, usually at the county clerk’s office. Keeping the agreement safe at the county clerk’s office is very beneficial for prospective buyers in the future, as they can comprehend the property they are willing to buy in a much more detailed manner.  


Thus, Party Wall Agreements stipulate obligations around ownership and maintenance of a mutual boundary wall. It averts disputes and settles them in an organized fashion. Besides, it is a helpful tool for business owners, in particular, to avoid hearings over disputes. 

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