What is an Adjoining Building Owner?

Definition of an Adjoining Building Owner
“Adjoining owner” and “adjoining occupier” respectively mean any owner and any occupier of land, buildings, storeys or rooms adjoining those of the building owner and for the purposes only of section 6 within the distances specified in that section.

Are your neighbours planning building works?

Are your neighbours carrying out or planning to undertake any of the works listed below? If so, legally your neighbours should serve a Party Wall Notice upon you before commencing any such works.

  • An extension, whether that be to the rear, side or into the loft.
  • Conversion of a basement, garage or loft.
  • Underpinning.
  • Alterations, demolition or repairs to a wall, ceiling or floor shared with another property.
  • Roofing works, including to the chimney.
  • Building a free-standing wall, or a wall of a building, up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring property.
  • Excavating and casting foundations within 3 or 6 metres of an adjoining building owned by someone else.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is a facilitating piece of legislation. So no you cannot stop them , BUT! In essence, the Act is a dispute resolution process to prevent neighbours having to fight to obtain a legal judgement to undertake building works. Some Adjoining Owners believe that if they ignore the Building Owners’ Notice they can frustrate the Party Wall process. However, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 sets out defined timescales in which Adjoining Owners have to respond following the serving of a Notice and, if Adjoining Owners continue to ignore a Notice, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 allows the Building Owners to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor on behalf of the Adjoining Owners so that the process can continue.

If a Building Owner wishes to undertake works for the sole benefit of the Building Owner, usually the Building Owner would have to pay all reasonable costs involved in agreeing a Party Wall Award. And if we put this into perspective. With all of the best of intentions, no one sets out to create damage to a neighbouring property. But, in reality, things can and do go wrong. Without the Act, the only way you will be able to redress any disputed damage is through the courts, which would of course test the best of neighbour relationships, not to mention all the expense you will incur having to take your neighbours to court. The small cost involved in agreeing a Party Wall Award will be minimal compared to the probable overall cost of their building works. If the works were of a simple nature the Adjoining Owners could consider appointing one single Party Wall Surveyor, referred to within the Act as the “Agreed Surveyor”. PWS KENT can act as the Agreed Surveyor and we would be happy to explain the advantages and disadvantages of using one surveyor.