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Property Surveying Blog
Written by Sadek Miah

Berry Lodge Surveyors

A Party Wall Surveyor specialises in resolving Party Wall Disputes that may arise under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

Under the Act and within England and Wales, disputes can arise between homeowners who directly share a wall, often referred to as a Party Wall, or when homeowners are in close proximity to each other and building works such as a structural works to the Party Wall, rear or side extension, or basement conversion are taking place.

So who can be a Party Wall Surveyor?

There are no specific qualifications that are required to be appointed as a Party Wall Surveyor, however, Section 20 of the Act confirms:

“surveyor” means any person not being a party to the matter appointed or selected under section 10 to determine disputes in accordance with the procedures set out in this Act

This effectively means that anyone can be a Party Wall Surveyor as long as they are not a party to the works.

What are the Party Wall Procedures?

The first step of the Party Wall procedure is for the building owner to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner if the building works they are carrying out is “notifiable” under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

The Party Wall Notice notifies the adjoining owners of the building owner’s proposed works and prompts them for a response option in relation to the works. Under the Party Wall etc Act 1996, it isn’t necessary to have a Party Wall Surveyor serve the Party Wall Notice and can be done by the building owner, however, it is highly recommended that a Party Wall Surveyor does this as it will avoid invalid service which will ultimately cause delays.

Once an adjoining owner receives the Party Wall Notice, they can respond with one of the three following options:

Response Option 1)

Consenting to the works (with or without a Schedule of Condition report)

Response Option 2)

Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and appointing their own Party Wall Surveyor

Response Option 3)

Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and agreeing in the appointment of an Agreed Surveyor. An Agreed Surveyor means that one Party Wall Surveyor acts impartially on behalf of the building owner and the adjoining owner.

Consenting to the Works

Consenting to the Party Wall Notice essentially reserves your (the adjoining owner’s) rights to be protected under the Party Wall etc Act 1996, therefore the further review and input of a Party Wall Surveyor will not be required.

If you (the adjoining owner) consent and request a Schedule of Condition Report is undertaken, the Party Wall Surveyor would simply have to carry out the inspection of the adjoining owner’s property and then later compile the report. Once this report has been undertaken and is complete, the building owner is free to go ahead and undertake with the works.

Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and appointing their own Party Wall Surveyor

If the adjoining owner decides to dissent to the Party Wall Notice and appoints their own Party Wall Surveyor, then the building owner’s Party Wall Surveyor will have to carry out Schedule of Condition Report alongside the adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor.

The adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor will then cross-check the Schedule of Condition Report to ensure it is accurate and fair and then proceed to agree a Party Wall Award (commonly referred to as a Party Wall Agreement) which includes governing the notifiable works.

Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and agreeing in the appointment of an Agreed Surveyor

Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and agreeing in the appointment of an Agreed Surveyor simply means that the adjoining owner who the Party Wall Notice was served upon has agreed for their Party Wall Surveyor to be mutually appointed by the building owner.

The Party Wall Surveyor, in this case, would then proceed to carry out the Schedule of Condition Report of the adjoining owner’s property and then proceed this by drafting and serving Party Wall Award that will govern the works.

What happens Post Work?

Once the building owner’s works are complete the Party Wall Surveyor is then able to carry out a check-off inspection. At this time the Party Wall Surveyor will look at the original Schedule of Condition Report and cross-check the condition of the property post works to ensure there are no areas of damages or issue.

If there are damages the Party Wall Surveyor can then ask the building owner to either, make good the damage and repair or provide the adjoining owner with compensation so they can they instruct their own contractor to make good.

Party Wall procedures can often be confusing, therefore I would recommend speaking to a Party Wall Surveyor early on in the process if you are planning on undertaking works to your property, or if your neighbour is planning on undertaking the works.

 

FAQs

  • Who pays for the Party Wall Surveyor’s costs?

    In all normal circumstances, it will be the Building Owner who pays for the Party Wall Surveyor’s reasonable fees.

    However, there are certain scenarios where the Party Wall Surveyor’s or Surveyors’ costs may be apportioned between the Building Owner or the Adjoining Owner.

    We would advise discussing fees with your Party Wall Surveyor in advance of instruction to ensure that you are fully informed

    Here at Berry Lodge, all of our Party Wall Surveying costs are fixed.

  • How should I serve the Party Wall Notice?

    A Party Wall Notice is a legal document, therefore you need to ensure that its service is legally correct and valid.

    Party Wall Notices can be validly served in the following ways:

    Post: If you serve the Party Wall Notice by post, you will need to allow a further 2 days to account for postage delays on top of the 14 days statutory Notice period.

    Hand: In order to ensure this method is legally valid, you would to physically hand the Notice to an occupant within the Adjoining Owner’s property. It would also be advisable to obtain the name of that person.

    Conspicuous Area: You can also serve the Party Wall Notice to a conspicuous part of the property such as a door, gate or window. This method of service tends to be used when the name of the Adjoining Owner isn’t known.

    Email: You also have the right to serve a Party Wall Notice by email. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the Adjoining Owner must have confirmed in advance of being sent the Notice that they are agreeable to electronic service.

    Here at Berry Lodge, over the years we have served Party Wall Notices by all of these methods.

  • Who can be a Party Wall Surveyor?

    Under the Party Wall etc Act 1996, anyone can act as a Party Wall Surveyor providing they are not a party to the works (the Building Owner or the Adjoining Owner).

    We would, therefore, advise ensuring that the Party Wall Surveyor you select to act on your behalf is well experienced and qualified.

    Here at Berry Lodge Surveyors all of our Party Wall Surveyors are both experienced and qualified.

    Within our Party Wall Surveying team our Surveyors’ qualifications and credentials include; RICS Chartered Surveyors, Members of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Members of the Chartered Institute of BuildingRICS Registered Valuers and RICS Accredited Mediators and members of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers.