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The Party Wall Act 26 - 29

Excavation near neighbouring buildings.

26. What does the Act say if I want to excavate near neighbouring buildings?

If you plan to:

  • Excavate, or construct foundations for a new building or structure, within three metres of a neighbouring owner's building where that work will go deeper than the neighbour's foundations (see diagram 5)
    or
  • Excavate, or construct foundations for a new building or structure, within six metres of a neighbouring owner's building where that work will cut a line drawn downwards at 45o from the bottom of the neighbour's foundations (see diagram 6)
(The diagrams mentioned above can be viewed as a PDF from the right hand menu) 

You must inform the adjoining owner by serving a notice - see paragraphs 7 and 8. The notice must state whether you propose to strengthen or safeguard the foundations of the building or structure belonging to the adjoining owner. The notice must be accompanied by plans.

If you start work without having first given notice in the proper way, adjoining owners may seek redress through the courts.

27. How long in advance do I have to serve the notice?

At least one month before the planned starting date for the excavation. The notice is only valid for a year, so do not serve it too long before you wish to start.

28. What happens after I serve notice?

If the adjoining owner gives a notice within 14 days agreeing to the excavation, the work (as agreed) may go ahead. If the adjoining owner does not respond, or objects to the proposed work, a dispute is regarded as having arisen - see paragraphs 11 to 17.

After the work has been completed, the adjoining owner may request particulars of the work, including plans and sections.

29. What about access to neighbouring property?

See paragraph 18.

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