The function of a Party Wall Surveyor
Pursuant of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
A Party Wall Surveyor specialises in resolving disputes that may arise under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act). This is a specialist area and should not be tackled by a general Surveyor. This process is statutory with a strong legal emphasis on procedures.
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 essentially structural or excavational works.
Exactly 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 are “notifiable” under the Act.
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 Act if 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 only a qualified Surveyor such as ours undertakes this task 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:
Consenting to the works (with or without a Schedule of Condition report) we strongly recommend under no circumstances should an adjoining owner consent to any notifiable works as this effectively relinquishes your rights under the Act. Always consult a qualified Surveyor such as us before responding to a notice served by the adjacent building owner.
Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and appointing their own Party Wall Surveyor. This is the option we recommend you consider strongly before opting for it, as the cost in most circumstances will substantially add to your neighbours cost and neighbours have to live with each other.
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. This option should only be accepted if the “Agreed Surveyor” is once again suitably qualified Surveyor again such as us. There should be no reason to appoint you own Surveyor the “Agreed Surveyor” is the option elected for by 95% of adjoining owners.
Consenting to the Works
Consenting to the Party Wall Notice essentially removes 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. This option is frankly reckless, and you have no protection under the Act. Always appoint a qualified “Agreed Surveyor” to represent your interests.
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 schedule of condition is an essential document which provided both decretive and also photographic and digital images.
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 govern the notifiable works. This is not a good option for any party.
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. This is a good option unless as long as the “Agreed Surveyor” is holds a degree in Building Surveying any other so-called qualification is simply not good enough. Our Surveyors are all substantially qualified to provide safeguards as required for your protection along with all the appropriate insurances and qualifications.
Readers should note the Act is there to protect your property and nowadays properties in London commonly (even terraced properties) exceed one million pounds so don’t let your neighbours attempt to circumvent the Act for short term financial gain (his not yours) always appoint an “Agreed Surveyor” to safeguard your interests.
All Surveyors are qualified to either FRICS, RICS, BSc, MSc, MOCIB or FOCIB
All Surveyors hold Professional Indemnity Insurance and liability to £1,000,000.
Fixed fee of £795.00 + VAT for Notices, Schedule of condition and publishing the Award all undertaken by a skilled and qualified professional Chartered Building Consultants.
This is compared to other companies who may try and charge you up to £2000 for exactly the same service.
Specialist Structural Enginners and Surveyors
20-22 Wenlock Road
Tel: 0207 118 4331
We're also available via our contact form
We are proud to announce the opening of our third office in
We have been appointed as the preferred Surveyors for the London Borough of Lewisham.
We collectively completed over 200 Party Wall Awards in September 2019 without fault.