Conservatory Party Walls
The Party Wall Act 1996 regulates what you can and cannot do when building on part, or close to, a neighbouring property. You will need to refer to the Party Wall Act if you are planning to build a conservatory.
You can download a copy of the Party Wall Act Explanatory Booklet where you will find the workings of the Act described in a simple way, together with numerous illustrations and draft letters to send to neighbours when you are planning to build a conservatory.
The Party Wall Act & Your Conservatory
You will need to refer to the Party Walls Act if you are planning to build a conservatory on an existing wall or structure shared with another property; that has a free standing wall up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring property; and where it is necessary to excavate near a neighbouring building to build foundations for a conservatory.
If you are on friendly terms with your neighbours you will probably want to maintain that relationship,
however, building work often become contentious and it is easy to fall out over a misunderstanding of the regulations.
Understanding the Party Walls Act needs and dealing with your build sensibly and carefully can help to limit potential problems as will taking the advice of an independent professionally qualified or experienced person.
Party Wall Fence
A Party Wall Fence does not mean a fence in the usual sense of a wooden fence. It is a wall not forming part of a building but which straddles the boundary between you and your neighbour.
If in the construction of your conservatory you are planning to build against the Party Wall Fence, or will be excavating within three metres of the neighbouring property; you will need to give your neighbours official notice at least two months before the work commences. It is not sufficient just to tell them in a conversation.
Your neighbour may agree to the start being earlier, but they are not obliged to.
Party Wall Notice
The official notice you send to your neighbour must include:
- The name and address of the owners of the property
- The date the notice is being served
- A statement that the notice is being served under The Party Wall Act 1996
- A full description of the proposed work
- The proposed start date for the work
- What happens in the event of a dispute
If you are working with an architect or builder, they will usually take care of this on your behalf. If you are managing the project yourself, you can find a sample letter to use for this on page 29 of the Party Wall Act Explanatory Booklet.
The neighbouring party or parties should also respond in writing giving their permission or registering their dissent. If they do not reply within 14-days the effect is to put the notice into Party Wall Dispute.
Party Wall Dispute
In the event of a Party Wall Dispute and the neighbouring parties not being able to come to an agreement, the procedure is as follows:
A Surveyor is, or Surveyors are, appointed to determine a fair and impartial Award.
The Surveyor can be an Agreed Surveyor, or each party may appoint their own Surveyor. Using a single Surveyor should be less expensive, but may lead to one or the other party being dissatisfied with the decision, even though Surveyors must act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a fair and impartial Award.
After an Award has been made and in the event of the parties remaining in dispute, all parties have up to 14-days to appeal to a County Court against the Award.
Once you have agreement, all work must comply with the notice. This should be retained in the event of a subsequent purchaser of the property wishing to establish that the work was carried out in accordance with the Party Wall Act.
Need a little more information?
To help you with your buying decision of your bespoke hardwood conservatory or orangery, we have put together the Richmond Oak Buyers Guide.
"What you need to know when planning to Improve Your Home with a Conservatory or Orangery".