Basements And Party Wall Notices

When planning to retro fit a basement to a terraced or semi-detached house you will need to consider the Party Wall Act 1996. The Party Wall Act was introduced to enable owners living in close proximity to one another to develop their properties without causing unnecessary inconvenience to each other.

There are different types of party wall notices and only the relevant notice should be served. We can raise the appropriate notice and even visit your neighbours with you in order to explain the process and ease any worries they may have.

Sections 2 & 6 of The Party Wall Act will cover a retro fit basement to a property that shares at least one party wall with an Adjoining Owner.

Section 2 covers work directly to a party wall, including downward extensions of the wall, underpinning and the cutting away of projections such as original brick footings. The statutory notice period for Section 2 works is two months.

Section 6 of the Act covers excavation work within three or six metres of a shared or neighbouring structure, including digging out a basement or excavating below a party wall, which is to be underpinned. The statutory notice period for Section 6 works is one month.

Upon receipt of a notice an Adjoining Owner has two options:

  1. To consent to the works going ahead as described in the notice. A consenting Adjoining Owner retains all of his rights under the Act including his right to appoint a surveyor later in the process if there is a dispute at that stage.
  2. To dissent and appoint a surveyor. The party undertaking the works must also appoint a surveyor so that an Award can be agreed although the Act allows the Owners to concur in the appointment of a single ‘Agreed’ surveyor.

The Owner undertaking the works (known as the ‘Building Owner’) will generally be responsible for the costs of making an Award including the surveyors’ fees. These fees are typically around £700 per neighbour. It is possible to have what is called a joint surveyor where as all parties involved share the same surveyor or for each homeowner to have their own surveyor who will act on their behalf.

We advise the notice is served early in the process. The notice periods will not normally dictate the timescale, if the Adjoining Owner consents to the work they will generally waive the notice period whereas if they dissent and surveyors are appointed the works cannot commence until that Award has been served on the Owners; regardless of whether the notice period has run or not.