Last edited 01 Mar 2021

Role of Party Wall Surveyors


[edit] Introduction

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.

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.

[edit] 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. Under the Party Wall etc Act 1996, it isn’t necessary to have a Party Wall Surveyor serve the Party Wall Notice, this can be done by the building owner, however, it can be recommended that a Party Wall Surveyor does this as it will avoid invalid service which may cause delays.

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

[edit] Consenting to the works

Consenting to the Party Wall Notice essentially reserves 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 the adjoining owners consent and request that a Schedule of Condition Report is prepared, the Party Wall Surveyor will carry out the inspection of the adjoining owner’s property and then later compile the report. Once this report is complete, the building owner is free to go ahead and undertake with the works.

[edit] Dissenting 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 prepare a Schedule of Condition Report alongside the adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor.

The adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor will 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.

[edit] Dissenting and agreeing in the appointment of an agreed surveyor

Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and agreeing to 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 draft and serve a Party Wall Award that will govern the works.

[edit] After the works are complete

Once the building owner’s works are complete the Party Wall Surveyor is 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 to ensure there are no areas of damage or other issues.

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

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