Excavating Near Neighbouring Buildings Party Wall

HomeExcavating Near Neighbouring Buildings Party Wall

Embarking on the task of digging a trench for an extension or new drains on your property demands careful consideration due to the potential threats posed to nearby structures. This article delves into the inherent dangers and legal aspects associated with such excavations. Particularly as acknowledged by the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (‘the Act’).

Undertaking the excavation of a trench for laying foundations or installing new drains necessitates an awareness of the risks to the structural integrity of neighbouring houses, garages, outbuildings, and boundary walls. Even though the excavation is confined to your land. The removal of subsoil holds the potential to compromise the support provided to adjacent neighbouring foundations. Neighbours, in this context, possess a legal right of support secured by a proprietary right known as an easement. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 recognizes and addresses these practical and legal considerations.

Party Wall
Party Wall

The Act imposes the obligation of serving a detailed notice, accompanied by appropriate drawings. To inform neighbours when excavations are planned within 3 meters of their property or to a depth likely to extend below their foundations. While the Act unequivocally prohibits permanent interference with an easement, a valid notice permits temporary interference during the excavation process. It is during this critical phase that potential damage to neighbouring structures. Especially those with shallow foundations, becomes a pertinent concern. The notice is mandated to specify the intention behind the excavation: whether it is to safeguard, strengthen, or underpin the neighbour’s foundations.

Underpinning, considered a last resort, underscores the gravity of potential risks associated with excavation

To protect neighbouring foundations effectively, one accepted method involves adopting a ‘hit-and-miss’ sequence during excavation. This entails digging foundations in bays, each typically not exceeding one meter in length. Importantly, simultaneously excavated bays must not be adjacent to each other. This strategic approach ensures that the removal of support for the neighbour’s foundation does not exceed one meter in length or occur in more than one location simultaneously.

In essence, navigating the complexities of excavations near property boundaries requires a meticulous understanding of legal frameworks such as the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. By adhering to its stipulations, providing detailed notices, and adopting careful excavation methods. Property owners can mitigate risks, foster neighbourly relations, and ensure the structural stability of neighbouring properties. This comprehensive approach underscores the importance of balancing construction needs. With legal responsibilities to create a harmonious and secure built environment.