The Act covers several aspects of construction works and their potential impact on neighbouring properties.
One aspect in particular which can catch out developers is that of excavations. Many people planning work within their own boundaries to their detached properties are surprised to hear that the Act applies and that a party wall notice is due on their neighbours
The Act sets out two separate conditions with regards to excavations which extend deeper than those of a neighbour’s structure(s):
The 3m rule
Section 6(1) of the Act requires that notice is due if any of the neighbour’s structures are situated within 3m (measured horizontally) of the proposed excavations.
The 6m rule
Section 6(2) of the Act is somewhat more complex to explain without quoting the Act and including diagrams! The simplest explanation is that it most likely applies if piling works are being undertaken within 6m (measured horizontally) of any of the neighbour’s structures. It may also apply if the proposed excavations extend deeper than 3m and within 6m of the neighbour’s structures.
What is a “structure”?
A structure under the Act is more than just the neighbour’s house. In general terms, it is anything with a foundation so this would include a garden wall. The definition is somewhat open to interpretation and would not usually include a simple timber shed or a timber fence. Depending on the situation it could however include a patio, decking or outhouse.
If in any doubt, do get in touch for some free advice.