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How does the Party Wall Act affect civil and structural engineers?

17 February 2017

Civil and structural engineers need to understand how the Party Wall etc, Act 1996 affects them in their work. If they don't they can be made to look foolish or even be considered negligent

How does the Party Wall Act affect civil and structural engineers?
The Party Wall Act also includes excavations up to 6m from nearby buildings

A large proportion of complaints against engineers to disciplinary panels come from their lack of knowledge of the Party Wall Act. Its title is misleading as it applies not just to party walls but to excavations up to 6m from nearby buildings. The "etc". is an important part of the title.

The previous similar legislation applied only to central London but in 1997 it was extended throughout England and Wales, affecting a much larger number of engineers. The Act has assumed greater importance for engineers since the fashion for constructing new basements under existing terraced houses has taken hold, especially in London.

This short guidance note includes direction on:

The scope of the Act

  • New party walls
  • Existing party walls
  • 3m and 6m notices
  • Floors as party structures

The role of the engineer

  • Client's design engineer
  • Engineer advisor to adjoining owners' surveyor

Other references and the Act itself must be consulted.

Further information

The following material should also be read:


For further information, please contact: [email protected]

ICE intelligent assets for tomorrow

Content type: Best practice

Last updated: 04/07/2022

Author: Charles Jensen

  • Adam Kirkup, engineering communities manager at ICE