The Act is the framework in place to mediate and resolve such disputes.
The vessel in which disputes are resolved are via party wall surveyors.
Thank you for clicking on today’s Property Surveying blog post, as with much of our other blog posts, we are going to be taking a close look at party wall surveying procedures through the eyes of a party wall surveyor.
There are two different types of party wall surveyor appointments that can become applicable.
Building Owner’s, or Adjoining Owners Party Wall Surveyor
The first appointment type is whereby the party wall surveyor will act independently on behalf of either the building owner or the adjoining owner.
This role will ensure that they administer the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 on behalf of their appointing owner.
They will have a professional duty to their appointing owner in the same way that any professional would have to their client.
Two party wall surveyors being on board will ultimately mean that a third party wall surveyor is also selected.
Third surveyor party wall selection is the protocol and procedure to ensure that there is an in-built dispute resolution process within the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Without such dispute resolution process, simple disputes between the two party wall surveyors would quickly prevent agreement and resolution of the Act’s legal dispute.
The primary role of the two party wall surveyors will be to agree a Party Wall Award.
The Party Wall Award is the legal vessel which regularises the building owner’s planned works. Unfortunately, it also ensures that the building owner has a legal right to progress those works.
Not forgetting adjoining owners, a Party Wall Award will give an adjoining owner the all important and often sought after legal protection prior, during and post building owner construction work.
Agreed Party Wall Surveyor
An agreed party wall surveyor is much like a two surveyor appointment, however the obvious difference is that rather than there being two different surveyors on board, there is in fact only one.
The single party wall surveyor will act on behalf of both the building owner and the adjoining owner, administering the Party Wall etc. Act and ultimately ensuring that the necessary legal protocols and provisions are in place.
These provisions ultimately being the agreement of the Party Wall Award.
Again, the key difference between a two party wall surveyor appointment and an agreed party wall surveyor appointment is that of a third surveyor.
A third surveyor will not be selected when there is an agreed surveyor appointment. The main reason being that the agreed surveyor is given the responsibility and authority to resolve the party wall dispute. This responsibility given to them on the assumption that they are unlikely going to have a disagreement with themselves.
The third surveyor’s appointment is therefore not only unnecessary, but would not have any legal standing.
The agreed party wall surveyor is going to take all of the normal roles in the run up to the agreement of the Party Wall Award.
Agreed Surveyor Benefits
The benefits of an agreed party wall surveyor are as follows:
With there being a single party wall surveyor on board, the building owner is going to be given all important time efficiency when it comes to the administration of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
The time savings will come by way of the single party wall surveyor not needing to agree matters with their counterpart. That agreement often resulting in a couple of delays here and there while professionals work their way down their emails and responses.
The other obvious benefit is going to be cost efficiency.
By having a single agreed party wall surveyor, the building owner will obviously only be paying a single party wall surveyor’s fee as opposed to two different party wall surveyor fees.
Single Reference Point
The final benefit is the fact that an agreed surveyor will act jointly on behalf of both the building owner and the adjoining owner.
This means that there is a single reference point for both of those owners to contact meaning that if there is some form of issue or dispute, there will be a single party wall surveyor’s appointment and position on the matter, as opposed to two.
This can significantly bode well for resolution of that disagreement or dispute.
Party wall surveying procedures are naturally going to be confusing. Especially if a building owner or an adjoining owner has not had to go through them in the past.
It is important to note that party wall surveying procedures are unlike planning applications or Building Regulation applications.
While they are a statutory requirement, they are rarely a tick box exercise.
This effectively means that the party wall surveyor on board has the legal right to request information that he or she deems necessary to resolution of the dispute.
As a final thought, it is important to note that party wall surveyors are actually not required to hold any form of qualification or experience under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
What this means in practice, is that there are a wide range of different service providers and surveyors on the market.
Those with experience, those without. Those with qualifications, those without.
Given that a party wall surveyor has the all important statutory duty that the Act bestows on them, here at Stokemont we would advise that the selection of a party wall surveyor is carefully and properly considered.
If you would like to discuss party wall surveying matters with our team of experienced and qualified party wall surveyors, please feel free to get in touch with us today, we will be more than happy to assist and advise you.