In this week’s party wall surveying property blog topic, we are going to be discussing party wall complaints, when they are applicable, and ultimately what either a building owner or adjoining owner can do should they find themselves with a complaint.
In writing this blog, we are assuming that the complaint is directed towards the party wall surveyor handling the job, and will therefore address it from that perspective.
First and foremost, don’t panic, complaints against party wall surveyors are not an uncommon position for an appointing owner to find themselves in, it is important to bear in mind that there are procedures in place which can ultimately safeguard you and ensure that your complaint is heard and responded to.
If you selected for a two-surveyor appointment, whereby there is one party wall surveyor acting on behalf of you, and another on behalf of your neighbouring owner, then you will have the benefit of a third surveyor being selected on the job. The third surveyor’s role is to effectively resolve any dispute that exists between the owners, the party wall surveyors, or any combination of those.
The benefit of this third surveyor selection is that there are effectively three points to a triangle, tribunal if you like, meaning that if you aren’t getting a favourable response from your party wall surveyor, you can effectively refer the matter to your neighbour’s party wall surveyor, and if that still fails, formally refer it to the third surveyor.
The third surveyor’s role would then be to determine if the complaint is valid and bona fide, and ultimately give you a determination as to what exactly the issue is.
If you are in a situation where you’ve got an agreed surveyor acting on your behalf, and on the behalf of your neighbour, then unfortunately you will not have the benefit of a third surveyor in respect of the matter.
Don’t panic, that doesn’t mean you’ve got nowhere to go, instead we would advise speaking to the party wall surveyor’s governing body, as they will ultimately have procedures in place that your party wall surveyor will have to adhere to, which will usually include a CHP, commonly known as a Complaints Handling Procedure, which will give you the opportunity to place a complaint directly to your surveyor, for him to then respond to within a satisfactory period of time.
If you are still unable to reach a resolution, the procedure is that you are then usually able to refer the dispute directly to the governing body for their input and determination.
Party wall complaints and issues can be daunting at times, if you’d like to discuss how Stokemont can be of assistance to you, with your party wall surveying matter, give us a call today and we will be more than happy to assist you.