Appointing a Party Wall Surveyor

May 28, 2021

In this week’s property surveying blog post topic, we are going to be discussing party wall surveying procedures, and in particular, the appointment of a party wall surveyor.

In order for a party wall surveyor to be appointed, the act is very implicit in stating that it must be in writing.

So what does this mean?

Quite simply, it means that the owner must sign a surveyor’s appointment letter which they will issue to them.

Or alternatively, they must state in an email format, or their own letter, that they indeed do appoint that party wall surveyor to act on their behalf.

The importance of a surveyor obtaining a written appointment is that the Party Wall Etc Act 1996 actually empowers a party wall surveyor to make decisions on behalf of their appointing owner without needing to consult them in advance of doing so.  This is a fairly uncommon legal precedent, and in many cases, owners can struggle to get their heads around it, as they may believe they are appointing a professional to represent their interests at their direction, such as would be the case if they were appointing an accountant, a solicitor, or any other form of professional adviser.

The Act is different insofar as the party wall surveyor’s role is a statutory duty, therefore, they are in fact, representing the appointing owner’s property, rather than the appointing owner themselves.

For this reason, party wall surveyors will often find themselves in precarious situations where they are left with the difficult decision of having to agree something that could be in contravention to the appointing owner’s direction.

If you’re planning on appointing a party wall surveyor, it is important to bear in mind that under the Act, a party wall surveyor doesn’t actually require any form of formal qualification.  For this reason, and given that they will ultimately have the right to agree matters on your behalf, it is imperative that you ensure that you select and appoint a suitable surveyor, and here at Stokemont, we believe that definition to be one that is not only qualified, but ultimately experienced as well.

Party wall surveying matters can be slightly complicated at the best of times, and incredibly complicated at the worst of times.

If you would like to discuss party wall surveying procedures with our team of qualified and experienced surveyors here at Stokemont, give us a call today, and we will be more than happy to assist and advise you.