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Property Surveying Blog

February 17, 2016

Party Wall Damage

Written by Bradley Mackenzie

In this Party Wall blog post we will be looking at the topic of Party Wall damage.

This blog post assumes that all of the correct legal procedures have been followed in advance of the Party Wall damage occurring. These include:

  • the Service of Party Wall Notices upon the adjoining owner.
  • The appointment of a Party Wall Agreed Surveyor, or the appointment of two respective Party Wall Surveyors.
  • The completion of a Schedule of Condition Report of the adjoining owner’s property.
  • The agreement of a Party Wall Award, often also referred to as a Party Wall Agreement.

Providing all of these steps have been followed, the adjoining owner will find themselves in a positon whereby if damage has been caused to their property as a result of the building owner’s Party Wall works, they will be legally able to have that damage made good at the building owner’s expense.

When damage occurs to an adjoining owner’s property it can be a distressing time for both the adjoining owner and the building owner.

A good Party Wall surveyor should be on hand to deal with the damage in a swift and proactive manner, here at Berry Lodge our take on how a Party Wall Surveyor can do this is as follows.

The first thing the Party Wall Surveyor should do is to check the original Schedule of Condition Report of the adjoining owner’s property undertaken in advance of the building owner’s works commencing.

For those of you who don’t know what a schedule of condition report is, we have a Party Wall Video on the matter available on our video gallery page. We also have a PDF  Schedule of Condition example Report available.

However, in short, a Schedule of Condition Report is a detailed and thorough report of the adjoining owner’s property undertaken by a Party Wall Surveyor in advance of the building owner’s proposed construction works commencing.

The Schedule of Condition Report will itemise the condition of the adjoining owner’s property and cover all aspects of their property both internally and externally, thereby ensuring there is a thorough record in place acting as proof and protection in the event of any issue.

The existence of the report means that if any of the Party Wall works cause damage to the adjoining owner’s property, there will be a record in place to enable the Party Wall Surveyor, or Surveyors to confirm if the damage is new, and then go through the legal procedures as set out by the Party Wall Act to have that damage repaired.

Assuming a Schedule of Condition Report is in place and the Party Wall Surveyor has reviewed the alleged damage and is in agreement that it is new and has been been caused as a result of the Party Wall Works, he or she will then inform the adjoining owner of the 3 options that they have available to them.

Option 1

The building owner and adjoining owner can agree the extent and cost of the repair work between themselves. This option would very much be at the agreement of the adjoining owner as they are in effect agreeing to deal with the damage outside of the protection of the Party Wall Agreement.

Option 2

The adjoining owner can agree for the building owner’s contractor to repair the damage.

Option 3

The building owner pays the adjoining owner a sum of money thereby  allowing the adjoining owner to instruct their own contractor to repair the damage.

The 3 options are always at the choice of the adjoining owner, after all it is their property that has suffered the damage, and their property that is being repaired.

So now that we have an understanding of how Party Wall damage is dealt with, lets now look at how the cost of the repair is calculated.

Generally speaking there are 2 different ways in which the cost of the damage is determined.

The first is via a contractor quote, meaning that the Party Wall Surveyor, or  Surveyors will arrange for 3 different contractors to visit the adjoining owner’s property with each respective contractor preparing a written quotation for the repair works.

The Party Wall Surveyor, or Surveyors would then agree the most suitable quote and arrange for that sum of money to be paid to the adjoining owner, thereby enabling them to get the damage repaired.

The second option is for the Party Wall Surveyor, or Surveyors to agree the cost of the repair by using cost guides. Typically the preferred cost guide is the Building Cost Information Service, often referred to by surveyors as the BCIS.

Here at Berry Lodge Surveyors this is our preferred calculation method, as we find it to be the most financially realistic, not to mention it is preferred and recommended by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Party Wall damage can be a stressful time for both the building owner and adjoining owner. Over the years here at Berry Lodge we have dealt with all types of damage from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands of pounds.

If you have a Party Wall issue and would like to discuss this with our experienced team of Party Wall Surveyors, call us now on our head office number 0207 935 2502 and one of our qualified and experienced Surveyors will be happy to assist you.