Is it Illegal to Not have a Party Wall Agreement?

Nov 29, 2021

This is a very common question that we find ourselves asked here at Stokemont, and we thought we would spend a bit of time in this week’s blog post ultimately discussing the Party Wall surveying scenario, and setting out our opinion on it, so that you are fully informed in advance of the construction works commencing.

The Party Wall Etc Act 1996 is a legal Act, which is in place to protect both building owners and adjoining owners in respect of the proposed works taking place.

If, for any reason the party wall procedures aren’t followed, the building owner will effectively be breaching the statutory requirements of the Act, and could find themselves liable for the costs associated with a party wall injunction.

That being said, it would be improper to say that it is illegal, as ultimately, that phrase tends to be used for more severe infringements, however, it is worth noting that it is a direct breach of the Act, and whilst the Act has no penalties associated with it, it can lead to significant added cost to the building owner, and ultimately added delay should an injunction be obtained and served.

If you find yourself in a position where for any reason you have commenced works without a Party Wall Award in place, the first and foremost thing to do is to speak to your contractor and design team at the earliest opportunity, to ensure that there is a thorough understanding as to why the oversight occurred.  At that stage, you can then look at how far along the works are, and ultimately move towards potentially serving a Party Wall Notice, and going through the party wall procedures as quickly as possible. 

As we said previously, the party wall procedures are in place to ultimately protect both building owners and adjoining owners, therefore, opting to overlook these conveniently, or otherwise, is contrary to the spirit of the Act, and ultimately could have severe implications on neighbourly relations.

Party Wall procedures can often be confusing.  For that reason, we would always advise that you fully discuss them with a qualified and experienced party wall surveyor. 

If you’d like to discuss the party wall works you are planning on undertaking, or perhaps are undertaking, or that your neighbour is undertaking, give our team of experienced and qualified Party Wall Surveyors here at Stokemont a call today, and we will be more than happy to assist you.