Party Wall Act
The Party Wall etc Act 1996 requires a building owner to notify their neighbours before they intend to carry out works to a party wall or excavate close to a party wall. The notices must be served at least one month before works start for the excavations and two months for works to the party wall. If the neighbours dissent to the notice then Surveyors need to be appointed to prepare a Party Wall Award.
The adjoining owner can appoint their own surveyor or the same surveyor as the building owner, this is called an 'Agreed Surveyor'. Generally all reasonable surveyors fees are paid by the building owner, unless the works are being carried out to the benefit of all parties when the fees may be split.
The party wall award will set out the works covered by the Act and any restrictions, limitations and precautions necessary. The Award is a legal document that is signed by both surveyors and served on all the owners. Once served both parties have 14 days in which to dispute the Award, this has to be done through the Courts.
A schedule of condition is included to record the condition of the neighbouring property before works commence and serve as a benchmark should any damage occur.
Further information can be found in this Government explanatory booklet