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Property Surveying Blog

Written by Beau Davies

In this blog post I am going to be discussing Party Wall Access, and in particular those works that I believe facilitate access under the Party Wall etc act 1996.

One of the hottest topics of debate amongst Party Wall Surveyors is access. There are a large amount of Surveyors that believe access is not facilitated under the Act, likewise, there are also a large number of Surveyors who believe that it is.

My opinion on this is firm, I believe that access is facilitated providing that certain sections of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 are invoked via the service of a Notice.  I will discuss these now in detail.

Section 1 of the Act

Section 1 of the Act enables the building owner, who is the person undertaking the construction works, to gain the legal right of access onto his neighbour’s property, also known as the adjoining owner, in order to facilitate his proposed works in a safe and secure manner.

For example, if the building owner was building a three-metre high wall, by gaining access to the adjoining owner’s property to do this, the contractor will be able to do it in a safe manner, while also ensuring the wall is finished to a neat and proper workmanlike standard.

If the Act was to not allow access, it would mean that the wall would have to be built overhand, which could not only cause a health and safety concern, it would also mean that the wall was finished off to a very poor standard.

Section 2 of the Act

Section 2 of the Act also provides a building owner the right of access, in particular subsection (a), which confirms that a building owner has the right to raise a Party Wall.  I am therefore of the opinion that should a building owner undertake a loft conversion that raises the Party Parapet Wall, they are again given a legal right of access onto the adjoining owner’s roof subject to adequate protections.

Access is one of those points that is hotly debated by surveyors, and can often lead to a dispute requiring input of a Third Surveyor.

If you are planning on undertaking works to your property and believe that you may require access onto your neighbour’s land, I would recommend getting in touch with an experienced and qualified Party Wall Surveyor at the earliest opportunity so that you can put in place the best procedures to facilitate that.

If you have a Party Wall enquiry you would like to discuss with us, give us a call now and we will be more than happy to assist you.