When it comes to construction or renovation work that involves party walls, one of the critical steps is the appointment of a party wall surveyor. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 governs party wall matters in the UK and outlines the process for appointing surveyors. In this comprehensive blog, we will delve into the essential aspects of appointing a party wall surveyor, the legal obligations, and the roles of both building owners and adjoining owners in the process.
Understanding the Party Wall etc. Act 1996:
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is a crucial piece of legislation designed to regulate construction work that impacts party walls, boundary walls, and excavation near neighbouring properties. Its primary purpose is to protect the rights and interests of both building owners (property owners) and adjoining owners (neighbouring property owners) during construction projects.
Appointment of a Party Wall Surveyor:
1. Building Owner's Responsibility:
- Initiation: The building owner, planning to undertake construction work that falls within the scope of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, is responsible for initiating the party wall process. This involves serving the necessary Party Wall Notices to inform adjoining owners about the proposed works.
- Selecting the Party Wall Surveyor: The building owner has the right to appoint a party wall surveyor who acts on their behalf. This surveyor is commonly referred to as the "Agreed Surveyor." The Agreed Surveyor's primary role is to oversee the impact of the construction works on the party wall and represent the interests of both parties.
2. Adjoining Owner's Rights:
- Appointing a Separate Surveyor (If Desired): The adjoining owner has the right to appoint their own party wall surveyor, known as the "Adjoining Owner's Surveyor," to represent their interests during the construction process. If the adjoining owner decides to appoint their surveyor, they will be responsible for their surveyor's fees.
- Agreement on Surveyor: If both parties agree, they can appoint a single surveyor known as the "Agreed Surveyor" to oversee the works on behalf of both building owner and adjoining owner. This can lead to cost savings and streamlined communication.
Factors Influencing the Appointment:
Several factors influence the appointment of party wall surveyors, including the complexity of the construction works, the relationship between the building owner and adjoining owner, and the need for impartiality and expertise. Adjoining owners often appoint their surveyors to ensure their interests are protected and to have a dedicated professional representing them throughout the process.
Legal Implications and Benefits:
Appointing a party wall surveyor is a legally required and essential step in complying with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. By appointing qualified surveyors, property owners can ensure that the construction works are carried out correctly, adhering to the Act's provisions and minimizing the risk of disputes or legal issues in the future.
The appointment of a party wall surveyor is a crucial aspect of any construction or renovation project that impacts party walls. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 outlines the responsibilities of both building owners and adjoining owners in the appointment process. While the building owner typically initiates the process and appoints the Agreed Surveyor, the adjoining owner has the right to appoint their surveyor to safeguard their interests.
At Icon Surveyors we specialize in providing expert Party Wall Surveying services, ensuring compliance with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Our qualified surveyors can guide you through the appointment process, fostering positive relationships with your neighbours while ensuring your legal obligations are met.