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Party Wall etc. Act 1996 - Key Terms & Definitions

As with any legal process, some of the terms used can be a little confusing. We've added some definitions to some of the more common terms below.

'Act' or The Act

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

Adjacent Excavation

Excavation works that are notifiable under the Act under Section 6. Notices served for Adjacent Excavation need to be served at least one month before the notifiable works commence.

Adjoining Owner

An Owner of a property adjacent to where the Building Owner proposes to carry out notifiable works.

Adjoining Owner's Surveyor

The surveyor appointed by the Adjoining Owner in a dispute that has two appointed surveyors.

Agreed Surveyor

The surveyor appointed by both the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner in the event of a dispute.


The legally binding document that outlines the terms that the surveyor(s) deem to be necessary to resolve the dispute.

Building Owner

The Owner that proposes to carry out work deemed notifiable by the Act.

Building Owner's Surveyor

The surveyor appointed by the Building Owner in a dispute that has two appointed surveyors.


The positive response by the Adjoining Owner that agrees to the proposed works and does not raise a dispute.


The opposite of a consent, triggering a dispute under the Act.


The term used by the Act to describe when the Adjoining Owner does not consent to the notice and wishes surveyor(s) to be appointed.

Deemed Dispute

A dispute raised when the Adjoining Owner does not consent to the notice within fourteen days of the notice service date.

Line of Junction

A notional line that divides the land of two owners. Unlike a boundary, a Line of Junction also extends vertically, upwards and downwards.

Line of Junction Notice

A notice served by the Building Owner to inform the Adjoining Owner of the intent to build a new wall either a) abutting, or b) astride the Line of Junction.


Most commonly, the written document that is served by the Building Owner on an Adjoining Owner stating their intent to undertake certain notifiable works - there are also other less common types of notices.

Notifiable Works

Works outlined within the Act that require a notice to be served on an Adjoining Owner.


A person that resides at the Adjoining Owner's property, that is not the Adjoining Owner themselves - often a tenant. An occupier does not have the same rights as the owner.


A person (or company) that is in possession of land or premises, or is entitled to receive rent from land or premises. The Act also classes a tenant that has a tenancy agreement of more than 'year to year' as an owner.

Party Structure

A party wall or floor that separates two buildings or parts of buildings.

Party Wall

The Act defines two types of party wall. Type (a) - a wall that sits astride the line of junction, and Type (b) - a wall that sits wholly on one owners land, but is used, or enclosed upon, by another owner.

Party Wall Agreement

A common term used incorrectly to describe a Party Wall Award - see Award

Party Wall Surveyor

A surveyor appointed by either owner to act on their behalf, or by both to act as the Agreed Surveyor.

Right of Entry

Where access is necessary to carry out notifiable works, the Section 8 of the Act grants the right of access on the Adjoining Owner's land. This access cannot be denied.

Security for Expenses

An Adjoining Owner is given the right by Section 12 of the Act to request that the Building Owner places a sum of money in escrow, until the notifiable works are complete. If this is disputed, surveyor(s) can deem if the request is reasonable and if so, how much money should be deposited.

Third Surveyor

A surveyor selected by the Building Owner's Surveyor and Adjoining Owner's Surveyor to resolve a matter that the two surveyors cannot between themselves.

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