Party Wall Surveying FAQ
Party Wall Surveying procedures can be often be confusing. With multiple sources of information available via the most simplest of Google search, we thought we would set out some of the most typical Party Wall questions and enquiries we’ve had over the years.
Party Wall Procedures Explained
Typical Party Wall Surveying Questions & Video FAQ
Do I need to serve a Party Wall Notice?
Party Wall Notices are required if you are undertaking three distinct types of work to your property.
These works are as follows:
- Works directly to a Party Wall, Party Structure or Party Fence Wall:
If you are planning on undertaking works that fall within these definitions, you are legally required to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the affected adjoining owner, a minimum of two months in advance of the proposed works commencing.
- Excavations with Three or Six metres of any adjoining, or neighbouring structure:
If you are planning on undertaking works that fall within the realm of these definitions you will need to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the affected adjoining owner a minimum of one month in advance of the proposed works commencing.
- Construction of New Walls
If you are planning on constructing a new wall either up to, or astride, the boundary line, you are legally required to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the affected adjoining owner a minimum of one month in advance of the works commencing.
Party Wall procedures are there to assist both building owners and adjoining owners.
Can I act as my own Party Wall Surveyor?
What are the Party Wall Notice Responses?
There are three different types of Party Wall Notice Responses that are available to an adjoining owner:
- Consenting to the Party Wall Notice
Consenting to the Party Wall Notice will mean that the adjoining owner is giving the building owner the legal go-ahead to proceed without any further formalities, as set out by the Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and appointing an Agreed Surveyor
Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and appointing an Agreed Surveyor, will mean that the adjoining owner is allowing the building owner to use and share the same Surveyor that they have appointed. That Surveyor will then act impartially on behalf of the building owner and the adjoining owner, ultimately agreeing a Party Wall Award which will give them both legal protection and govern the proposed works that are taking place on site.
- Dissenting and appointing their own Party Wall Surveyor
If the adjoining owner selects this option, they will effectively be dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and appointing their own Party Wall Surveyor to act wholly on their behalf. The building owner will likewise then also need to appoint their own Party Wall Surveyor, and those two Surveyors will proceed and agree a Party Wall Award.
What happens if my neighbour does not serve a Party Wall Notice on me?
If the building owner who is undertaking the construction works fails to, or refuses to, serve a Party Wall Notice on the affected adjoining owner.
From a legal perspective the adjoining owner will need to proceed to the Courts and obtain a Party Wall Injunction.
A Party Wall Injunction will prohibit any further works taking place on site, until the correct party wall procedures have been adhered to.
What Happens if the Adjoining Owner Ignores my Party Wall Notice?
In the event that the adjoining owner doesn’t respond to the building owner’s Party Wall Notice, at this stage the building owner will be within their legal rights to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor on behalf of the non-responsive adjoining owner.
That Party Wall Surveyor will take on all of the same roles they would have had the adjoining owner appointed them directly.
The ultimate aim being that the building owner receives a Party Wall Award agreed by two respective Party Wall Surveyors which will ultimately give them their legal right to commence their work on site.
Can I Serve my own Party Wall Notice?
In fact in many cases if there is a good neighbourly relationship it can be the best way to approach the formal party wall procedures.
Here at Stokemont, we do have a free Party Wall Notice creator.
We would advise using if your neighbourly relations are very good, as it is very likely that you will be able to achieve a Party Wall Notice consent from the adjoining owner.
Which will ultimately save you the cost of having to serve the Party Wall Notice by a Party wall Surveyor.
When can I appoint a Party Wall Surveyor?
Upon the receipt of the Party Wall Notice, the building owner would have invoked the Party Wall Act upon the adjoining owner, and thereby gives them the legal right to appoint a Surveyor to protect their interests.
In the context of a building owner, the building owner will formally instruct a Party Wall Surveyor to serve a Party Wall Notice, however that Party Wall Surveyor’s appointment will not become a formal one until the adjoining owner has registered their dissent to the Party Wall Notice.
How much does a Party Wall Surveyor cost?
This is a very common question, and is ultimately dependent upon a number of variables.
These include: the property location, the works that are being undertaken, number of adjoining owners to whom the work is applicable, as well as other factors to also take into account.
We would recommend getting in touch with our team of experienced and qualified Surveyors here at Stokemont, to fully discuss any cost concerns and enquiries that you may have, and we will be more than happy to assist and advise you.
Who pays for the Party Wall Surveying costs?
How Long do the Party Wall Procedures Take?
It is always a difficult time frame to give, as in the very first instance Part Wall procedures timings are out of the hands of the Party Wall Surveyors or the building owner, and are effectively in the hands of the adjoining owner while their Party Wall Notice response is awaited.
We would advise discussing the Party Wall procedural timings with your Party Wall Surveyor in advance of embarking on them to ensure that you are well aware of any potential delays to your construction plans.
Are Party Wall Surveyors qualified?
We would therefore very much advise that you select a Party Wall Surveyor based off their merit, experience and importantly qualifications that they hold.
The most well-recognised qualifications are the RICS, the CIOB, the CIArb and the CABE.
Can I act as my own Party Wall Surveyor?
What does a Party Wall Surveyor do?
They will want to ensure that all of the associated risks that arise as a result of the building owner’s works have been considered and brought down to the minimal level possible.
Party Wall Surveyors will also undertake procedural elements such as the preparation of a Schedule of Condition report and the agreement of a Party Wall Award.
What is a Party Wall Award?
The Award will not only govern the building owner’s proposed works, but importantly it will set out the types of protections that the adjoining owner is eligible for through the Act’s procedures.
Is it a Legal Requirement to have a Party Wall Award?
It is a legal requirement to then have a Party Wall Award drawn up, agreed and served upon the respective building owner and adjoining owner.
The Party Wall Award is seen to conclude the party wall dispute that exists between the respective owners and ultimately gives the building owner the legal right to commence their proposed works.
Does the Party Wall Award Protect Me?
The Party Wall Award will protect the building owner against any false claim or allegation of damage by the adjoining owner.
The Party Wall Award will protect the adjoining owner in the event of any genuine damage, it will also ensure that the building owner’s proposed construction works are considered by the Party Wall Surveyor or Party Wall Surveyors.
I’m Not Happy with the Party Wall Award?
If you are unhappy with the content of the Party Wall Award, you do still have the legal right to appeal that Award.
However, we would advise taking legal action in advance of doing this, as Party Wall Award appeals can be a costly endeavour and in many cases may not be the most appropriate route for having your concern heard.
Can a Party Wall Award be agreed retrospectively?
From a legal perspective, the window for which the Party Wall procedures would have been applicable would have passed.
This means that the protections afforded to an adjoining owner can no longer be invoked via the party wall procedures.
An adjoining owner will still have the protections that Common Law affords them, however these are slightly less protective than the Party Wall etc Act 1996 itself.
What is a Schedule of Condition Report?
The report is prepared and put in place to ensure that if there is any damage, or alleged damage resulting from the building owner’s work to the adjoining owner’s property, there is a sound record in place to ensure that the Party Wall Surveyors are able to determine if that damage is a result of the building owner’s works, and then deal with it appropriately.
What is a Third Surveyor?
A Third Surveyor is in place on every Two Surveyor Party Wall dispute.
In the event that the building owner has their own Party Wall Surveyor, as does the adjoining owner. The first thing those two respective Party Wall Surveyors will do is to select a Third Surveyor, with that Third Surveyor’s role being to determine any dispute that may arise between the two respective Surveyors or any combination of the owners and Surveyors.
The Third Surveyor will only ever be called upon formally in the event that there is a dispute, therefore it is worth bearing in mind that in many cases the Third Surveyors will not know they have been selected until there is an appropriate issue for them to resolve.
Will the Party Wall Surveyors Need to Visit my Property?
The visit not only enables the Party Wall Surveyors to accommodate themselves with the adjoining owner’s property and the site overall, however it also gives them the opportunity to undertake the Schedule of Condition report of the adjoining owner’s property.
What Happens if I Don’t Agree with my Party Wall Surveyor?
If the Party Wall Surveyor is acting as an Agreed Surveyor, you will need to request the Surveyor’s complaint handling procedure (CHP).
The Surveyor will then be bound by their governing body to respond and resolve any dispute that may have arisen with you.
If the Party Wall Surveyor is acting wholly on your behalf, with a separate Party Wall Surveyor having been appointed for the neighbouring owner, then the first thing those two respective Party Wall Surveyors would have done at the start of the Party Wall Surveying procedures is to select a Third Surveyor.
The Third Surveyor’s role is to effectively resolve any disputes that may arise between the owners, or the Surveyors, or any combination of those.
What Happens if Damage Occurs?
The common way that damage is dealt with is in two forms.
The first is that the building owner’s contractor will make good damage to the adjoining owner’s property.
The second is that the adjoining owner will be able to request a payment in lieu, which then enables them to instruct their own contractor in their own time to make good the damage.
The damage repair options are very much at the decision of the adjoining owner and should be free from any building owner, or Party Wall Surveyor bias or input.
Can my Neighbour Build on my Land?
It is worth bearing in mind that they are only afforded this right upon the agreement of the adjoining owner.
Therefore if the adjoining owner was not happy with the proposal to build a new flank wall astride the boundary line, then the building owner will need to step the wall back to ensure that it is wholly on their line and up to the boundary line.
Can I stop my neighbour’s works?
The party wall procedures will ultimately include a Party Wall Award being agreed, with that Award protecting both the building owner and importantly the adjoining owner.
From a legal perspective, the building owner cannot commence their proposed works until that Party Wall Award is agreed and in place.
Here are some Party Wall Surveying projects we've done in the past:
Rutland Mews South, Knightsbridge, SW7
The Stokemont team were very pleased to be able assist with the completion of a Party Wall Surveying Schedule of Condition Report for a stunning mews house located on Rutland Mews South, Knightsbridge, SW7. The neighbouring works included a single storey basement conversion and extension on Rutland Street.
Timeline: 27 days
High Street Kensington, London, W8
The Stokemont team were very pleased to be able assist with the completion of a Party Wall Award for this mid level flat located on High Street Kensington, London. The construction works included the removal of internal structural walls, the introduction of new steel support and the replacement of floors and ceilings.
Timeline: 12 days
St Stephen's Terrace, Stockwell, SW8
The Stokemont team were very pleased to be able assist with the service of Party Wall Notices, a Schedule of Condition Report and Agreement of a Party Wall Award on this mid terraced turn of the century home on St Stephen's Terrace, Stockwell. The Party Wall works included the installation of steel work into the Party Wall and relocation of internal walls.
Timeline: 22 days
Our team of Surveyors are not only highly experienced but importantly they are also qualified.
We’re proud to confirm our Surveyors hold membership status and accreditation to some of the world’s leading professional governing bodies including; the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), The Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE), the Pyramus and Thisbe Club (P&T) and the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR).
I had a great experience with Stokemont who recently carried out a full building survey on a house we are buying. We had an extremely thorough and detailed report sent to us I’d recommend Stokemont to anyone needing a survey.
Thoroughly recommend Stokemont! Professional and knowledgeable. We had a few problems but Stokemont’s experience and advice helped us find the best solution to the problem and moved us forward with no delays. They were quick to respond and always kept us in the loop with the process. Will definitely be using their services again in the future and recommending them to friends/family. Thank you again!
We worked with Stokemont for a RICS survey and have only positive things to say. Thorough, clear, professional, and took time to explain findings in details. Would definitely recommend.
Stokemont was extremely prompt in their responses at every stage and we were assisted on every occasion when needed. The delivery target met our very tight deadline requirements. Will definitely recommend without any hesitation.
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