PARTY WALL SURVEYORS
If you are in dispute with your neighbours over construction work on or near a party structure, then a Party Wall Surveyor can be appointed to resolve the dispute by creating an award that is legally binding on both parties.
In England and Wales, the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 provides a statutory framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.
The Act covers three main types of work: 1) various alterations to existing party walls; 2) new walls erected at or astride the boundary line; and 3) excavation work carried out within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure.
Anyone intending to carry out construction work covered by the Act must give prior notice to the Adjoining Owners and obtain their consent. However, if the Adjoining Owners disagree with the proposed works then they are considered to be ‘in dispute’ under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. At this point, party wall surveyors will need to be appointed to resolve the dispute by preparing an award (often incorrectly referred to as a “Party Wall Agreement”).
Typically, the Party Wall Surveyors will examine the proposed plans and make an assessment of the likely impact that the works may have on an Adjoining Owner’s property. They will also carry out a descriptive and photographic schedule of condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property, in close proximity of the proposed works, which can act as a benchmark for cross reference purposes in the event any damage occurs.
The award will describe in detail the nature and extent of work that is to be carried out, measures to prevent unnecessary inconvenience, the working practices that are to be followed and the time period within which the works shall be commenced. If the appointed party wall surveyors cannot agree upon a particular issue, they or the owners may refer such a matter to the Third Surveyor, who shall determine the issue as necessary.
Party Wall Surveyors are required by statute to act impartially and although they are appointed by the Building Owner, Adjoining Owner or both (Agreed Surveyor), their role is one of statute and they must act in the best interests of both parties.
At James Lewis Chartered Surveyors we pride ourselves in having the necessary experience in being able to competently deal with all types of party wall issues. With efficient systems in place and a highly qualified team of Party Wall Surveyors, we continually maintain the highest level of professionalism and knowledge in this complex field.