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Property Surveying Blog
Written by Liam Wilkinson

The Party Wall etc Act 1996

If you have come across the Party Wall process before, you may have come across the term Agreed Surveyor. This term is often used alongside the terms Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor, Building Owner’s Surveyor, Third Surveyor and various other types of Surveyors, which can be confusing to say the least!

I have decided to write this blog post on what defines an Agreed Surveyor, and what exactly their role is.

Simply put, an Agreed Surveyor is a Surveyor who is acting mutually on behalf of both the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner. This is in contrast to Adjoining Owner’s Surveyors and Building Owner’s Surveyors, who act solely on behalf of either the Adjoining Owner or Building Owner respectively.

It is important to mention that the Party Wall Surveyor themselves would act impartially, neither working for the interests of the Building Owner or Adjoining Owner. They would act primarily on behalf of properties to which form part of the dispute under the Party Wall Act 1996 and ensure the process is followed properly from start to finish.

So that is what an Agreed Surveyor is, but this begs the question:

Under which circumstances would an Agreed Surveyor be appointed?

The answer to this is rather simple; in response to a Party Wall Notice served by the Building Owner.

When the Building Owner serves Party Wall Notices upon any Adjoining Owners, the Adjoining Owners are given three response options. The ins and outs of these different response options can be found described in more detail in this blog post.

However, simply put, the Adjoining Owner gets the following three response options:

  1. Consent to the works
  2. Dissent to the works and appoint an Agreed Surveyor
  3. Dissent to the works and appoint their own Party Wall Surveyor

If the Adjoining Owner picks the second option, an Agreed Surveyor will be appointed. But what sways an Adjoining Owner to pick one option over the other? This all lies in the pros and cons of appointing an Agreed Surveyor.

Advantages of an Agreed Surveyor

The appointment of an Agreed Surveyor is often favourable to the Building Owner. This is for two main reasons. Firstly, an Agreed Surveyor often get the Party Wall Award agreed and served sooner than a Building Owner’s Surveyor and Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor can. This is because there is less discussion required regarding the clauses and terms of the Party Wall Award and it can be agreed and finalised a lot sooner. Building Owners love this as it means the works can start sooner.

The second reason Agreed Surveyor Appointments are good for Building Owners is that an Agreed Surveyor’s fee is often significantly lower than that of a Building Owner’s Surveyor and Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor respective fees. This is because the Building Owner would be paying for one Surveyor over two, less time is also required to serve the Party Wall Award, this means a lower overall fee.

So, with Agreed Surveyor appointments resulting in quicker service of Awards at a lower price, it’s a no brainer for the Building Owner. However, it is not the Building Owner’s decision, and there are reasons an Adjoining Owner may opt out of appointing an Agreed Surveyor.

Disadvantages of an Agreed Surveyor

The main disadvantage of an Agreed Surveyor is that they act on behalf of both the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner. As mentioned before, the Party Wall Surveyor will be acting impartially and will not take sides, however an Adjoining Owner for whatever reason may not be convinced of this. They may think that the Agreed Surveyor will be working in favour of the Building Owner as the Building owner is ultimately who will be paying, or they may wish to have a Surveyor who is working in their best interests.

It is one or many of these reasons that an Adjoining Owner would prefer to pick their own Party Wall Surveyor, which they are well within their right to do.

So, an Agreed Surveyor has been appointed. What next?

Once an Agreed Surveyor has been appointed, they will proceed with the Party Wall process, and will book in and conduct Schedule of Condition inspections before ultimately writing up and serving the Party Wall Award. After the service of the Award, works may commence.

If you have any other questions about this process, or are interested in appointing us as your surveyor, please give us a call at our office number. We offer 30 free minutes of consultation.