Adjoining Owners should note that the primary purpose of the Act is to facilitate
development. In return for rights to carry out certain works, the Building Owner (the person
having the work done) must notify you in advance. He is made legally responsible for putting
right any damage caused by carrying out the works, even if the damage is caused by his
contractor. You cannot stop someone from exercising the rights given to them by the Act, but
you may be able to influence how and at what times the work is done. If you do not respond
to a notice from a Building Owner concerning work to an existing party structure or an
excavation, you will be deemed to be in dispute with them.
In this case and in the event of a dispute concerning a new wall at the boundary, if you
refuse or fail to concur in the appointment of an agreed surveyor, or to appoint a party wall surveyor Batters
of your own, the Building Owner will be able to appoint a second surveyor on your behalf so
that the dispute resolution procedure can proceed without your co-operation It is preferable
that the owners reach agreement between themselves wherever possible without the need
to activate the dispute resolution procedure.
You do not lose any of your rights by agreeing to the intended works described in the
Building Owner’s notice. Agreement to the intended works simply signifies that, at this point
in time, there is nothing in dispute. If a dispute arises at a later date that cannot be resolved
by agreement, say in respect of damage caused, you can then activate the dispute
What does the Act say if my neighbour wants to carry out building work?
If your neighbour intends to carry out building work which involves one of the following
work on an existing wall or structure shared with another property (section 2 of the Act)
building a free-standing wall or a wall of a building up to or astride the boundary with a
neighbouring property (section 1 of the Act) or
excavating near a neighbouring building (section 6 of the Act)
they must notify you in writing before they start work.