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If you are a building owner who is undertaking works that fall within the remit of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 you are legally required to serve a Party Wall Notice on all relevant adjoining owners.
Party Wall Notice Service
As a building owner you can either serve this notice yourself or you can appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to act on your behalf who will then create and serve the notice for you. Ensuring that a Party Wall Notice is valid is a vital part to get right as if this not considered valid it will result in delays to your proposed works. We have another blog post that looks at what makes a Party Wall Notice valid available on our website.
We also have a free party wall notice creator available on our website which will assist in ensuring that the notice you serve is valid.
What are my Party Wall Notice Responses?
Once the building owner has served Party Wall Notice, the adjoining owners have three response options available to them.
This will allow the building owner to proceed with their proposed works with no further party wall procedures in place.
Dissent & appoint ‘Agreed Surveyor’
If an adjoining dissent and appoints an ‘Agreed Surveyor’ one party wall surveyor will be appointed to act behalf of both the building owner & the adjoining owner. The party wall surveyor will carry out a Schedule of Condition & then write up the party wall award.
Dissent & appoint independent Surveyor
If the adjoining owner dissents and appoints their own Party Wall Surveyor. The building owner must also appoint their own surveyor. The two Surveyors will then carry out the Schedule of Condition together & agree on a Party Wall Award.
An adjoining owner is not required to give a reason for their dissent to the notice and the choice is entirely up to the adjoining owner on how they respond to the notice.
What is an Agreed Party Wall Surveyor?
An ‘Agreed Surveyor’ can only be appointed if the adjoining owner is also in agreement. Without the adjoining owner’s permission, the building owner is legally required to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor to act on their behalf to create the Party Wall Award with the adjoining owner’s surveyor.
The ‘Agreed Surveyor’ option is obviously more beneficial than a two-surveyor appointment for the building owner as this will mean that they are only liable for one Party Wall Surveyors fees rather than two.
What Happens when there are two Party Wall Surveyors?
Unfortunately, for building owners a two-surveyor appointment is one of the most common responses made to a Party Wall Notice as many adjoining owners believe that an ‘Agreed Surveyor’ is not able to act impartially, and their interests will not be fully protected. Here at Stokemont we always recommend that the ‘Agreed Surveyor’ response is considered as this results in time and cost savings.
There are a few ways in which you can boost your chances of receiving either consents or ‘Agreed Surveyor’ responses to your party wall notice. First, we would advise that you arrange an informal discussion with the relevant adjoining owners to talk them through your proposed plans and answer and questions they may have. During this you should also make them aware of the Act and inform them of the response options available to them. In our experience, being open and honest with the adjoining owner can go a long way and put their minds at ease.
Another method you can use to increase the chances of a more positive response is to hand deliver the party wall notices directly to the adjoining owner. This will reduce the surprise and formality of the party wall notice.
If you are either looking to carry out works that fall within the remit of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 or you have recently been served a party wall notice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our highly experienced and qualified team.