Interpreting the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and the implications for building below ground

Antino, Philip (2021) Interpreting the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and the implications for building below ground. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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Introduction: A study of the APA Property Services Ltd data identified growing conflicting interpretations of the party wall legislation, for example, in 2015 40% of the 126 cases resulted in conflict. Independent data indicated that the conflict was not unique to the APA data and identified 17 areas of conflict. A common link identified between the two sets of data was the interpretation of special foundations and the section 7(4) veto, unique to the Act when building below ground. This common issue was selected as the research focus and a strategy was developed which included a three-stage data obtained from stakeholders which comprised surveyors, solicitors, barristers, and the judiciary. The collection process included questionnaires and structured interviews, to investigate why the conflict arose and what was required to eliminate it. Literature review and proposed gap in knowledge: Understanding the origins and passage of the legislation identified accepted construction techniques for building below ground level, which either included or avoid special foundations. The literature review addressed five of the six objectives to achieve a holistic understanding of this unique legislation that impacts virtually every construction project. Examination and analysis of the legislations structure, the rules of interpretation, and case law specific to the research focus, identified a gap in knowledge on what does or does not constitute a special foundation. Understanding how/why the conflict arises, gaps in knowledge, and contributing new knowledge seeks to clarify and reduce the adversarial stance adopted by those practising within this field. Method and Findings: The three-stage data collection strategy began with a deductive analysis of the APA data, later using an inductive methodology utilising both quantitative and qualitative data collection and NVivo qualitative statistical analysis techniques. The research established that the limited case law available is not generally accepted by the stakeholders, although they feel compelled not to challenge the judgment. Accordingly, they authorise works which they consider in their professional opinion trespasses on the statutory rights of adjoining owners. This has created adversarial approaches and interpretations based on a gap in knowledge. This research seeks to rectify the flawed knowledge and influence that the case law presents by contributing to that knowledge, assisting both academic and professional understanding of the issues created by the special foundation definition and the section 7(4) veto. Conclusion and Recommendations: This thesis contributes to the extant knowledge through a rigorous analysis of the data, construction technology and surveyors’ interpretations to resolve the conflict by proposing new knowledge. In addition, the thesis provides recommendations for further research and the need for either an amendment to the Act or external guidance such as the development of a British standard.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Accessibility note: If you require a more accessible version of this thesis, please contact us at
Keywords: Approach, Basements, Conflict, Dissent, Dispute, Interpretation, Party Wall Act, Retaining walls, Section 7(4) veto, Special Foundations
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2021 13:04
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2021 15:42

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