Loft Conversions and The Party Wall Act

In London and other areas with high populations it is common for building owners to share a party wall. Here’s what you need to know about loft conversions and The Party Wall Act.

What is the Party Wall etc Act?

The Party Wall etc Act 1996  establishes a frame of reference regarding boundary walls, party walls and excavations that take place near neighbouring buildings.

Examples of what the act covers can  include:

  • knocking down and rebuilding party walls
  • removing chimney breasts from party walls
  • any digging beneath the foundation level of a neighbouring building
  • deepening, widening or making party walls taller
  • cutting into a party wall
  • building a new wall on the boundary of two or more properties

What is a Party Wall?

A party wall is positioned on the property of two or more owners and separates either one building or two buildings belonging to at least two owners. It could also be a wall located on one owners property but used by two or more owners to separate their buildings. Finally, a party wall could  be located on the land but not a part of the building/buildings. An example of this includes a garden wall, but doesn’t include timber fences.

How Does The Party Wall etc Act 1996 Affect My Loft Conversion Plans?

When you are planning to convert your loft, you may have an obligation to inform your neighbour and to receive his or her approval for the building work. If so, you can inform them through a party structure notice. This is a relatively simple document that should be given to your neighbour no less than 2 months prior to when you would like to begin building. Any change of plans should be in revised drawings but will not necessitate serving a new notice. Notices can be downloaded for free at the My Property Guide website and you will also find examples to draw upon via the government’s Party Wall booklet.

Your neighbour will have 14 days in which to respond.  With their approval in writing, work can begin immediately.

For more information on loft conversions or to schedule a new project, contact Loftworld today.