Party Wall Surveying

When should you need a Party Wall Surveyor?

  1. To determine whether the works you propose to do as the owner of a building or structure falls within the Party Wall Act.
  2. To advise on procedure and/or act for the owner when works fall within the Party Wall Act.
  3. To advise on procedure and/or act for the adjoining owner when he has received a Notice under the Act.
  4. To be appointed by the owner and adjoining owner as an Agreed Surveyor to determine the Party Wall Award when a dispute is deemed to have arisen.
  5. To be appointed to represent the owner if an Agreed Surveyor cannot be agreed.
  6. To be appointed to represent the adjoining owner if an Agreed Surveyor cannot be agreed.
  7. To act as a Third Surveyor when both the surveyor appointed by the owner and the surveyor appointed by the adjoining owner cannot agree the Award.

Procedure:

If the works are within the Party Wall Act the Owner must serve the appropriate notice or notices to all the adjoining owners. If a dispute results then a Party Wall Award needs to be determined by a Party Wall Surveyor.

Party Wall Notices

There are three types of notice:

  1. Notice under Section 1 of the Act: Building a free standing wall or a wall of a building up to or astride the boundary with the neighbouring property.
  2. Notice under Section 2 of the Act: Work on an existing wall or structure with another property.
  3. Notice under Section 6 of the Act: Excavating near a neighbouring building or structure.

Form of Notice:

The notice must be in writing and must include the following:

  • Owners name and address (if joint owners all the names and addresses)
  • The address of the building or structure to be worked on
  • Full description of what the owner proposes to do
  • When the works are proposed to start
  • The notice must be dated

The notice is only valid for a limited period and works cannot start before a prescribed period.

Counter notice:

The adjoining owner can give a counter notice within a prescribed time to set out what additional or modified works he would like to be carried out for his own benefit.

Agreement or deemed dispute

Agreement:

If the adjoining owner agrees with the proposed works he needs to inform the owner in writing within a prescribed time.

Deemed dispute:

If the adjoining owner does not state in writing that he agrees with the works within the prescribed time then a dispute is deemed to have taken place.

Dispute resolution:

The owner and adjoining owner can agree a variation of the proposed works by friendly discussion. This agreement needs to be made in writing where the works must be described in detail.

If agreement cannot be reached then a Party Wall Surveyor should be appointed.

Appointment of Party Wall Surveyor

Agreed Surveyor:

The owner and adjoining owner can appoint a joint Agreed Surveyor to draw up an Award.

Separate Surveyors:

The adjoining owner is entitled to appoint his own Party Wall Surveyor separate to the owner’s surveyor.  Both surveyors draw up the Award, if the two surveyors cannot agree a third surveyor is appointed to draw up the Award.

Party Wall Award

The Party Wall Award may determine:

  • The right to execute any work
  • The time and manner of executing the work
  • Specifies any additional work required
  • Contains a record of condition of the adjoining property before the works begin
  • Allows access to the surveyors to inspect the works while they are going on
  • Any other matter arising out of or incidental to the dispute including the cost of making the award and how the costs of the works are apportioned between the two parties

For further information go to www.partywalls.org.uk and www.gov.uk/party-wall-etc-act-1996-guidance

The Pyramus & Thisbe Club

is an organization for construction professionals with a particular interest in matters relating to the Party Wall etc Act 1996. The Club seeks to advance knowledge of party wall legislation and procedure and to promote best professional practice in its application. We are members of the Pyramus and Thisbe Club.

We are Chartered Surveyors and Listed in the RICS Find a Surveyor website as Party Wall Surveyors.

For further information go to www.rics.org and www.ricsfirms.com.