Section 7 – Compensation etc.

Party Wall etc. Act 1996

(1) A building owner shall not exercise any right conferred on him by this Act in such a manner or at such time as to cause unnecessary inconvenience to any adjoining owner or to any adjoining occupier.

The previous use of the wall is not relevant for determining whether particular works would cause unnecessary inconvenience. However, if the works can be done in an equally effective way at no or modest extra cost, but with less inconvenience to the adjoining owner, then the surveyors ought to award those alternative works (Barry v Minturn)

The duty not to cause unnecessary inconvenience is personal to the building owner, and cannot be delegated to their contractors. Where works take longer than is reasonably necessary the building owner may be liable for causing unnecessary inconvenience. (Jolliffe v Woodhouse)

(2) The building owner shall compensate any adjoining owner and any adjoining occupier for any loss or damage which may result to any of them by reason of any work executed in pursuance of this Act.

The law expects adjoining owners to put up with a certain amount of discomfort as the result of the building owners works. It is only where building owner fails to take all reasonable steps (which is not the same as all possible steps) to abate any inconvenience that he will become liable (Andrae v Selfridge & Co)

This may include damages for loss of trade (Adams v Marylebone Borough Council)

Only half the cost of repair can be recovered against a third party wrongdoer that caused damage to the wall (Apostal v Simons)

(3) Where a building owner in exercising any right conferred on him by this Act lays open any part of the adjoining land or building he shall at his own expense make and maintain so long as may be necessary a proper hoarding, shoring or fans or temporary construction for the protection of the adjoining land or building and the security of any adjoining occupier.

(4) Nothing in this Act shall authorise the building owner to place special foundations on land of an adjoining owner without his previous consent in writing.

(5) Any works executed in pursuance of this Act shall—

(a) comply with the provisions of statutory requirements; and

(b) be executed in accordance with such plans, sections and particulars as may be agreed between the owners or in the event of dispute determined in accordance with section 10;

and no deviation shall be made from those plans, sections and particulars except such as may be agreed between the owners (or surveyors acting on their behalf) or in the event of dispute determined in accordance with section 10.