Party walls

The main types of party walls are:

  • a wall that stands on the lands of 2 (or more) owners and forms part of a building - this wall can be part of one building only or separate buildings belonging to different owners
  • a wall that stands on the lands of 2 owners but does not form part of a building, such as a garden wall but not including timber fences
  • a wall that is on one owner's land but is used by 2 (or more) owners to separate their buildings

There are also 'party structures', such as a wall or floor partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings in different ownership, such as in flats.

Party Wall Act 1996

The Party Wall Act applies if the proposed work will affect a wall that adjoins a neighbouring property. This is a private matter between the two parties affected by the Party Wall in question. However it is often an important element to consider before starting building work to your property.

 The Act covers:

  • new building on or at the boundary of 2 properties
  • work to an existing party wall or party structure
  • excavation near to and below the foundation level of neighbouring buildings

This may include:

  • building a new wall on or at the boundary of 2 properties
  • cutting into a party wall
  • making a party wall taller, shorter or deeper
  • removing chimney breasts from a party wall
  • knocking down and rebuilding a party wall
  • digging below the foundation level of a neighbour's property

Carrying out work 

Before starting work covered by the Act you must give adjoining owners notice of your intentions in the way set down in the Act. Adjoining owners can agree or disagree with what is proposed. Where there is disagreement, the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes.

Each proposal sent to Southwark Council will be considered individually and the onus will be to protect the councils' interest in the first instance.

Further information is available on the GOV.UK website. This link provides guidance on the Act as well as further contacts for professionals that can assist.

If you are proposing party wall works that will affect your adjoining property and where this property is owned by Southwark Council, please send your notice by e-mail to:

or by post to:
The Mayor & Burgesses of the London Borough of Southwark
Southwark Council
Environment, Neighbourhoods and Growth Dept
Property Section
5th Floor, Hub 1
160 Tooley Street

Page last updated: 08 February 2023


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