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The Party Wall Act – Loft Conversions

Peter Barry Surveyors are experienced Party Wall Surveyors with an enviable reputation for advising on all issues arising from the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. If you are planning to carry out building works, including loft conversions, on your property that fall within the scope of this important piece of legislation, our expert team should be your first port of call.

If you are planning a loft conversion, you may need to serve written Notice on your neighbours of your plans and get their written consent in respect of the planned work, under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 came into force in July 1997 and is enshrined in English law. A general introduction and Government guidance can be found here.

The principal reasoning behind the Act is that any construction work that might affect the structural integrity or support function of a Party Wall (shared between neighbours), must be notified and consent obtained before any building work can begin.

In terms of planning a loft conversion, the following possibilities could arise:

  • If you live in a terraced or semi detached house, and the proposed loft conversion will involve work on a wall that is shared with a neighbour, it is highly likely that Party Wall Act regulations will apply.
  • If you live in a detached house, a Party Wall Notice is unlikely to be needed for your loft conversion, unless you are proposing to reinforce the building foundations at the same time, necessitating excavation works, which may be covered by the Act.
  • If you are merely planning to carry out roofing works, such as re-tiling or re-felting, a Party Wall Agreement is unlikely to be needed unless the party wall will be left exposed to the elements.

Serving a Party Wall Notice

Typical reasons for requiring a Party Wall Notice for a loft conversion include:

  • Cutting into existing shared walls to provide support to a strengthened floor
  • Creating a dormer that extends up to the boundary line
  • Raising an existing Party Wall

You must serve written Notice on your neighbours, giving details of the works to be carried out, at least 2 months before the proposed start of the loft conversion works. Construction can only begin after written consent has been obtained or a Party Wall Award has been agreed and served on the owners. You are then required to comply with the Award, in addition to any planning permission or building regulations approval, as necessary.

Following the requirements of the Party Wall process can be time consuming and fraught with difficulties, while failure to comply may well result in building delays and additional expense. Having a professional adviser on board to guide you through the legal requirements and draw up the necessary Notices is therefore highly recommended.

Dealing with Party Wall Disputes

It is always advisable to discuss your proposals with the neighbours as early in the process as possible in the interests of preserving harmonious relations and avoiding disputes. However, sometimes this is simply not possible.

This is where the professional services of an experienced Party Wall Surveyor can be invaluable in helping to find a resolution. As Chartered Surveyors with particular experience in Party Wall matters, Peter Barry Surveyors can assist with all queries and provide expert help throughout the entire process.

We can act for the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner to make sure that rights are protected and a fair and impartial Party Wall Award is made.

Contact Us

For further information on any aspect of your loft conversion and to find out if the Party Wall Act is applicable and how to proceed, please do not hesitate to get in touch by telephone on 020 7183 2578 or by email.