A breakdown of the Section 6 Excavation Notice and how this impacts a neighbouring property of flats.
A question on party wall notices I regularly get asked by Building Owners is who they must notify about their excavation works when the neighbouring building comprises of flats. With the rise in popularity in flat conversions of Victorian and Edwardian terraces, this is a common scenario that Building Owners are faced with.
Excavation works fall under Section 6(1) of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 if the works are within the bounds of two parameters that are defined by the Act. The first is the horizontal dimension; excavation works within three metres measured horizontally from any part of a building or structure of an Adjoining Owner. Then the vertical dimension; when the proposed excavations surpass the depth of the foundations of the adjacent structure of the Adjoining Owner. Both criteria must be met for the excavation work to be considered notifiable under the Act.
Once your works are determined as notifiable, we will now need to clarify who must be notified. In order to do this, we will need to refer to the definitions of an Adjoining Owner as presented in Section 20 of the Act.
Let’s consider a Victorian terrace conversion consisting of two flats. The entire building is owned by a Freeholder and each of the flats are owned by separate Leaseholders. All the Freeholders and Leaseholders are considered as “owners” of their segment of the neighbouring property. The excavation work is within 3 meters of the foundations of the building owned by the Freeholder; thus, they must be notified. The leaseholder of the ground-floor flat must also be notified on the same basis. As for the leaseholder of the upper-floor flat the clause; ‘any owner … of land, buildings, storeys or rooms adjoining those of the Building Owner and for the purposes only of Section 6 within the distances specified in that section’ of Section 20 specifies to include ‘storeys’, therefore the upper-floor flat leaseholder will also be notifiable of the excavation works.