In today’s party wall surveying blog post topic we are going to be discussing party wall surveying procedures and in particular what an adjoining owner should do when they have been served a Party Wall Notice.
If your neighbour is planning on undertaking works, or if you are planning on undertaking works, under the Party Wall etc. Act the role and referral that will be given to that party is one of a building owner.
As a building owner, it is your legal responsibility to serve a Party Wall Notice upon the adjoining owner a minimum of one, or two months, depending on the type of works that are being undertaken, in advance of the said works commencing.
The Party Wall Notice itself will give the adjoining owner a legal right to fully consider your construction works from a perspective of their property and importantly give them the right to make an informed Party Wall Notice response ensuring that interests are not only considered, but depending upon the response protected.
Party Wall Notice responses are as follows:
1) Consenting to the Party Wall Notice
If the adjoining owner consents to the Party Wall Notice, they will effectively be waiving the legal protections that the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 affords them, and enabling the building owner to commence their proposes construction works without any further party wall surveying formality or procedure.
2) Dissenting to the Works and Appointing an Agreed Surveyor
If the adjoining owner dissents the Party Wall Notice and requests the input of a party wall surveyor, they also have the legal right to allow that party wall surveyor to act on behalf of both themselves and the building owner.
This is what is known as an agreed surveyor appointment.
It is worth noting that you can only have an agreed surveyor with the agreement of the adjoining owner.
The agreed surveyor’s role would be very much to look at the construction works from the perspective of the adjoining owner’s property ensuring that the associated risks in that regard are as low as they can measurably be.
3) Dissenting the Party Wall Notice and Appointing your own Party Wall Surveyor
The adjoining owner also has the legal right to dissent to the Party Wall Notice and appoint a party wall surveyor of your choosing, this surveyor would act wholly on the adjoining owner’s behalf, and would administer the party wall surveying procedures with the building owner’s surveyor to ensure that the procedural aspects and risks associated with the works are kept to the lowest possible rate.
With both options 2 and 3, it is the building owner who is legally responsible for the adjoining owner’s surveyor’s associated fees, the logic being that it would be unreasonable for an adjoining owner to have to bear the costs of a party wall surveyor and professional for works that do not benefit them.
The premise of this also ensures that an adjoining owner is free to select a surveyor based upon their merit as opposed to the building owner potentially selecting the most cost effective surveyor on the market.
It is worth noting that under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, one of the incredibly odd peculiarities is that anyone, and we do mean anyone, can refer to themselves as a party wall surveyor.
This effectively means the level of professionalism within the industry is both far and wide, high and low, and for that reason we would advise that incredibly careful consideration and selection is given to the party wall surveyor who ultimately is appointed.
The party wall surveyor’s role will be very much to look at the building owner’s construction works, and in particular those elements of the construction works that fall within the realm of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, from the perspective of the adjoining owner’s property, ensuring that they pose the least amount of risk, nuisance and can be undertaken in the most time effective way possible.
The procedural aspects of the Party Wall Surveying process are:
Initially party wall surveyors to undertake a robust and thorough review of the works from the perspective of the neighbouring property
Undertake a full schedule of condition report of the adjoining owner’s property in advance of the works commencing.
Finally, agree a Party Wall Award which will not only protect the adjoining owner above and beyond common law, it will also set out the provisions and procedures that are to be administered and followed in the event of any issues, damage, or variation to the building owner’s construction.
Party wall procedures while simple at face value, can often become complicated as works change, construction details are prepared and reviewed, surveyors are appointed, and neighbourly relations are often tested.
A good party wall surveyor will be able to look at the proposals from the perspective of the neighbouring property seamlessly, to ensure that the risk surrounding those proposals is at the minimum point it can be, whilst ultimately ensuring that the input that surveyor has given, and the requirements he or she has bestowed upon the Building Owner is of the least nuisance as possible.
Here at Stokemont we pride ourselves in our robust and thorough approach, our party wall surveyors are first and foremost experienced, however are also members of global leading property governing bodies including the RICS, abbreviated for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and CIOB, abbreviated for the Chartered Institute of Building.
This bare minimum of experience and qualification should let you know that you are in safe hands, and while not only gaining the benefit of an experienced party wall surveyor but also a qualified party.
If you would like to discuss your party wall surveying requirements with us, give us a call today and our qualified and experienced party wall surveyors will be more than happy to assist you.