Building on the boundary line - Party Wall advice & Laws

Boundary lines - hallway stairs interior
Boundary lines - interior of period property
Boundary lines - terraced houses with boundary lines
Boundary lines - exterior of detached property
  • Can I build up to or over the boundary line

    Open or Close
    If you want to build a party wall or party fence wall astride the boundary line, you must inform the adjoining owner by serving a notice. This is known as a section one notice.
    The act sets out the precise information you must tell your neighbour. You must tell your neighbour in writing, it is common to use a standard Party Wall Notice to make sure that this is done. You can download party wall notice forms and templates here. You may feel happier appointing a party wall surveyor to to this for you, Collier Stevens have a competitive fixed fee service which includes serving the correct notices.
    There is no right to build astride the boundary if your neighbour objects. You must also inform the adjoining owner if you plan to build a wall wholly on your own land but up against the boundary line.
    If you do build a wall astride the boundary line it will be a party wall, if you build wholly on your land it will not. If you build inside your land away from the boundary [even by a small amount] you will not need to notify your neighbour although if you are forming foundations you may need to if their building is close enough.
  • When do I need to serve a building on the boundary line notice

    Open or Close
    At least one month before the planned starting date for building the wall.
  • Who must I serve a notice to

    Open or Close
    All those who have an interest of 12 months or greater in the land, so that could include a freeholder and leaseholders.
  • What happens after I serve a notice to build astride the boundary line

    Open or Close
    If the adjoining owner agrees, in writing, within 14 days to the building of a new wall astride the boundary line, the work (as agreed) may go ahead.
    The expense of building the wall may be shared between the owners, where the benefits and use of that wall will be shared. If they are not then all the cost is met by the person doing the work. If, in the future the neighbour wishes to use the wall then they will have to pay compensation to the person who built the wall [or his successors].
    f the adjoining owner does not respond, or objects to the proposed new wall astride the boundary line, you must build the wall wholly on your own land, and wholly at your own expense.
    You do have a right to place footings for the new wall under your neighbour's land, subject to compensation. There is no right to place reinforced concrete on your neighbour's land without their express consent.
  • What happens after I serve a notice to build up to but not over the boundary line

    Open or Close
    You may start work one month after your notice was served. This work may include footings and foundations that extend under the adjoining owner's land.

    The wall will be built wholly at your own expense and you will be expected to compensate any adjoining owner for any damage to his property, garden or plants caused by the building of the wall, or the placing of footings and foundations.
  • What happens if I cannot agree with my neighbour

    Open or Close
    If there is a disagreement about any work on a boundary line, including compensation, then the dispute can be settled using the resolution procedures in the party wall act - these are discussed here.
  • Resolving a dispute

    Open or Close
    This is quite a detailed process, guidelines of which can be found here...
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