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Are Party Wall Surveyors Needed?

Nov 16, 2022

One of the key aims of this property surveying blogpost is to discuss party wall surveying matters.

We will be uploading numerous blogposts in the coming days and months, the aim of which is to fully inform our clients and readers of pressing property surveying matters.

Furthermore, we aim to tackle some of the more complicated areas of property surveying, along with some of the more typical questions that our team of surveyors here at Stokemont find themselves asked on a daily basis.

Party wall surveying is one of the larger service offerings that we have here at Stokemont.

It is important to note that party wall surveying, while being relatively simple and straightforward in procedure, can often be complex and complicated when it comes to the finer points of the Party Wall etc Act.

In today’s blogpost, we will aim to look at the role and purpose of a party wall surveyor, whether they are needed, whether you need one, and ultimately offer advice should you require the input of a party wall surveyor.

Party Wall Surveyors

Party wall surveyors are required if a building owner has served a Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner.

In response to that Party Wall Notice, the adjoining owner would have dissented.

Upon formally responding with a Party Wall Notice dissent, or by virtue of not responding, therefore leading to a Party Wall Notice dissent, a party wall surveyor will be required.

This formal requirement is set out by Section 10 of the Party Wall etc Act 1996, as follows:

“surveyor” means 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.

In layman’s terms, what this does is set out a framework and protocol that the building owner will then have to progress through.

This is in an effort to not only ensure that the adjoining owner’s legal rights are afforded to them.

It will also ensure that the building owner puts in place the necessary procedural requirements in respect of their planned construction works.

What does a Party Wall Surveyor do?

Party wall surveyor’s role will very much be one of statute.

This is unlike a conventional professional appointment.

Many building owners and adjoining owners alike will believe that the party wall surveyor is acting in their interests and on their behalf.

Much like a solicitor would act on their behalf, or an accountant would act on their behalf.

However, when it comes to party wall surveying matters, party wall surveyors while they will be fulfilling a client’s service instruction, they will not be acting on behalf of the owner’s interest.

The way to describe this, is that the party wall surveyor will very much be administering the statutes and adhering to the legal and formal requirements of the Act.

This differs to a conventional professional instruction, where with a professional construction the professional will effectively have to action requests and instructions that their client may give them, even if these instructions are against the professional’s advice.

This is not the case with party wall surveyors.  A party wall surveyor is duty-bound by the statue and Act to act in a manner befitting the spirit of the Act, and ultimately ensure that the administration of the Act is done neutrally, impartially and reasonably.

When should I appoint a Party Wall Surveyor?

Party wall surveyors should be appointed as soon as an adjoining owner has received a Party Wall Notice.

This of course assumes that the adjoining owner wants to dissent to the Party Wall Notice and have the necessary party wall protections, as afforded to them by the Party Wall Act, implemented.

If indeed, an adjoining owner has made this decision upon receipt of a Party Wall Notice, if indeed an adjoining owner has made this decision, at that stage they should then get in touch with party wall surveyors.

Are Party Wall Surveyors qualified?

In short, no, a party wall surveyor is not required to hold any formal qualification.

Yes, you have read this correctly, from a legal perspective a party wall surveyor is not bound under statute to hold any qualification, membership to governing body, or even insurance for that matter.

This is one of the odd peculiarities of the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Within the profession, many qualified party wall surveyors will naturally look at this as a statutory oversight.

Here at Stokemont, we would take the view that this perception is quite right.

Ultimately, in appointing a party wall surveyor, the two respective owners (the building owner and the adjoining owner) will be bound by that surveyor’s determination, findings and Award.

It is therefore only sensible and proper for that party wall surveyor to hold necessary professional qualification.

Ultimately, those professional qualifications will usually mean that the owner is in safe hands when it comes to the professional advice that the property surveyor gives.

How should I select a Party Wall Surveyor?

Given that the information above confirms that a party wall surveyor does not require any formal qualification, here at Stokemont we would advise operating the utmost caution when it comes to party wall surveyor selection.

Ultimately, you will want to ensure that the party wall surveyor you instruct and appoint not only has necessary governing body membership and qualification, but it is also sensible to ensure that the party wall surveyor has the necessary experience to best handle your property surveying matter.

What should I ask my Party Wall Surveyor?

Prior to instructing a party wall surveyor, here at Stokemont we would advise that you make enquiries as to whether they have worked in the area where the works are taking place.

Furthermore, we would advise that you ask if they have handled the type of construction project that is being undertaken.

Ensuring the answers to both of these questions is favourable, will not only ensure that you have a party wall surveyor well-placed to assist, it will also ensure that you have a surveyor who has ‘cut their teeth’ and has likely come across some of the typical pitfalls that can come with the type of works planned to the subject property.

Here at Stokemont, we are very proud to give free party wall advice to all callers that require it.

You are very welcome to get in touch with us and discuss your specific party wall surveying concerns. 

Furthermore, if you would like to discuss party wall surveying procedures specifically with our surveyors and have a job or instruction in mind, please feel free to get in touch with us today. 

You can simply pop us an email, or give us a call, and we would be more than happy to assist and advise you.

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