New Walls on Boundaries by Keith Eades-Levy
Section 1 of the Act requires a Building Owner to serve Notice when building a new wall on a boundary. It needs to touch the boundary line, this includes any part of the foundation.
A Notice is not needed under Section 1 if there is already an external wall forming part of a building on a boundary.
But if a boundary wall (a freestanding wall not forming part of a building) is being demolished to enable a new wall to be built on a boundary, then Section 1 applies and a Notice needs to be served.
Extract from Section 1 of The Act
1(1)This section shall have effect where lands of different owners adjoin and —
(a) are not built on at the line of junction; or
(b) are built on at the line of junction only to the extent of a boundary wall (not being a party fence wall or the external wall of a building),
and either owner is about to build on any part of the line of junction.
There is what I call the ‘virgin land theory’ which is where the land proposed to be built on is prepared to remove construction from the line of junction, thereby returning it to its virgin state. If construction is removed from the line of junction, it will not be built on anymore and then in my view, the Building Owner can operate Section 1.
When proposing to build a new wall right up to and ‘on’ the line of junction (any part of the new wall needs to touch the boundary) then the Building Owner must serve a Section 1(5) Notice.
If the proposal is to build astride the boundary, then a 1(2) Notice must be served, but written permission from any Adjoining Owner must be received to build astride.
If permission does not arrive to build astride, the Building Owner must move the proposed wall back wholly on their land.
Section 1 disputes do not arise in the same way compared with other Sections of the Act – a deemed dispute cannot arise under Section 1.
But if there is a Section 1 dispute, Section 1(8) of the Act takes surveyors to Section 10 which means Award.
The benefit to Building Owners using Section 1 is they have access rights to adjoining land to build a Section 1 wall operating Section 8. The access rights can be very useful to Building Owners, particularly if scaffolding needs to be erected.