What is an Adjacent Excavation Notice?
If you are planning to build an extension to your property which would involve excavating foundations, you may need to issue your neighbour or the adjoining owner with an Adjacent Excavation Notice. Section 6 of the Party Wall Act of 1996 requires a notice to be served upon an Adjoining Owner under the following circumstances:
- Excavation within three metres of the adjoining owner. Under section 6 (1), if you are excavating foundations within three metres of a neighbour’s structure and lower than its foundations, you will need to issue an Adjacent Excavation Notice. (You will need to measure with tape, the horizontal distance to the nearest garden wall, garage and the main house itself).
- Excavating foundations within six metres of an adjoining owners’ structure and below a line drawn down at 45° from the bottom of its foundations taken at a line level with the face of their external wall. This falls under section 6(2) of the Party Wall Act.
If you plan to carry out any of the work mentioned above, you need to issue a written notice to your neighbours at least one month before beginning the build. Your neighbour must respond within 14 days, failing which they are considered to have dissented.
As homeowners about to commence major building work, this is additional paperwork that can be confusing. We’ve had clients ask us questions such as:
“I live in a detached house; do I still need to issue a notice?”
“I have planning permission, can my neighbour object?”
“My house is just under three metres; do I still need to issue a notice?”
“What do I need to include in the notice.”
The answers to most of the questions above are not a simple yes or no. The complexity of the answer is a due to the different specifics of each project and the unique nature of your building work. We therefore recommend a discussion with your architect and structural engineer to determine whether this Act applies to you.
In any event, should you need to issue an Adjacent Excavation Notice, there is a standard format that is used that must contain the following:
- Name and address of the Building Owner or owners as listed in the land registry or Companies House records in the case of a UK listed company.
- Name and address of the Adjoining Owner or owners as listed in the land registry or Companies House records in the case of a UK listed company.
- Intent (whether you are constructing within three metres or six metres)
- Description of the excavation and the works. You will need to attach structural plans showing the foundation type, proposed depth and the location of any proposed building or structure. It is also a good idea for the drawings to show the position of the adjoining building in relation to the excavations.
- Date of commencement of the work
- A statement indicating whether you do or do not propose to underpin or strengthen the neighbour’s foundations.
- Agreed surveyor’s details. We recommend that you give the name, address and telephone number of the person you propose to use as the ‘agreed surveyor’.However, there is no requirement to appoint surveyor(s) unless a dispute arises.
In our experience, keeping your neighbours happy (within reason) usually has the desired outcome of resolving any possible areas of contention before notices are issued. Should you believe that a dispute is imminent, and you need to appoint a party wall surveyor, we recommend that you persuade your neighbour to agree on a single surveyor looking after both interests, as you, the homeowner, will be responsible for all surveyor and related costs.
With over 20 years in the business, the Arun Associates team can help you wade through the maze of Party Wall Notices. We’re happy to have a FREE, no obligation chat to help you understand the process, discuss if it applies to you and clear up any doubts you may have. Feel free to call us on 020 8381 3910.