This blog is not an authoritative interpretation of the law; it is intended as a general guide.
In this blog Icon Surveyors will be considering what a Party Wall Surveyor is, what they do and when one would be appointed.
What is a Party Wall Surveyor?
A Party Wall Surveyor is effectively a statutorily appointed adjudicator whose objective is to prevent or resolve all matters relating to building works carried out by a building owner that may interfere with any of the adjoining neighbour’s boundary or party walls. A Party Wall Surveyor is usually appointed under the provisions of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
What does a Party Wall Surveyor Do?
There are many aspects to a Party Wall Surveyors job, however, in the main they provide specialist advice to parties seeking to carry out building works up to or on a party wall. They also try to prevent any disputes arising between neighbouring parties by giving advice and indeed acting on behalf of a building owner to insure that all of the statutory requirements have been complied with. This includes serving a Party Wall notice on behalf of a building owner as well as carrying out a documented and detailed survey of the land of a building owner and any adjoining neighbours that may be affected by such works.
When dealing with any disputes that may arise as a result of any works being carried out by a building owner, a Party Wall Surveyor has the statutory power to draw up a legally binding working agreement between the disputing parties to ensure that all parties are both protected and able to exercise their respective rights as provided under the provisions of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. This might include, drawing up a Party Wall Award included in which the Party Wall Surveyor will determine
- What work will be permitted to be carried out
- How and when the works will be carried out
- Any additional terms or requirements such as an insurance policy or monies secured against potential damage or inconvenience to an adjoining owner
- Provisions for access to a neighbouring parties land or buildings by a building owner, their workforce or the surveyor
- A record of conditions of an adjoining party’s land/property prior to any of the works commencing
Do I need to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor?
Under section 10 of the Act, if a dispute has arisen or is deemed to have occurred under the provisions of the Act, both a building owner and an adjoining owner have a mandatory duty to appoint a surveyor to remedy the dispute in an impartial and fair manner. The Act imposes a duty upon the surveyor to act in accordance with their statutory appointment as opposed to acting on behalf of either of the parties. The disputing parties have a choice as to whether they appoint a joint surveyor or each of the disputing parties appoints their own. Should an agreement not be concluded by two surveyors, a third may be appointed to resolve the matters being considered. A surveyor’s role is to effectively provide adjudication by way of Alternative Dispute Resolution. A surveyor under section 20 of the Act is “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.” For this reason, Icon Surveyors believe that any party who is either considering or bound to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor does so with due diligence, taking into account the party wall surveyors credentials and experience as well as any memberships they may have.
Icon Surveyors are happy to provide a free consultation to any building or adjoining owners who may be affected by the subject matter raised in this blog.