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Do I Need a Party Wall Surveyor?

Do I Need a Party Wall Surveyor?

What Do Party Wall Surveyors Do?

Ever been involved in works relating to party walls? If not, then you may not have heard of a Party Wall Surveyor. This particular type of Surveyor specializes in resolving issues that arise under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Our Party Wall Surveyors need to be well versed in the law regarding these matters. You can be assured that all our chartered surveyors are qualified and have extensive experience regarding party wall works.

We know that the Party Wall Act is a complex piece of law. Party walls are defined as walls that usually separate buildings belonging to different owners. It’s not just walls between buildings. It could include garden walls, which would be known as party fence walls. With this in mind, it is imperative to get the right advice. From just these examples, you can see how complexities could arise from this.

Where did the Party Wall Surveyor originate from?

Some 20 years ago now, the Government introduced party wall legislation, which was carried out across England & Wales in the form of the Party Wall. Act 1996. The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors was born out of a need for education and support for building surveyors and other professionals and better understanding the general public.

Here’s a FREE guide from the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors, and of course, if you have follow-up questions, the Prinsegate team is more than willing to provide further guidance. 

Why Do You Need a Party Wall Surveyor?

Before the work even starts, there is another part to the role of the Party Wall Surveyor. They must be able to provide you with sound advice. Party Wall legal issues can be wide and varied, so obtaining advice early can help you further understand the process. 

Therefore, the party wall surveyor needs to be well-versed in the legal elements and the physical elements of construction. It may not be enough to be a chartered surveyor. A surveyor can evidence that he is well-versed in party wall procedures by his membership to the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors. Prinsegate is a member of the aforementioned professional body and always seek to develop their experience and knowledge on the subject. In this way, we ensure that party wall matters are handled reasonably.

The Party Wall Act

Another role of the Party Wall Surveyor is to determine any dispute that has come about due to the Party Wall Act. This dispute may have arisen between the different parties concerned. The Surveyor will give you advice on the legal implications that come about with disputes. They can also provide you with recommendations and clarify what the law says.

For example, the Party Wall Surveyor can provide advice on the Party Wall Act. They can also advise on what happens if you do not feel that the works have been carried out correctly. If a Notice has been issued, they can report on that too.

Award, Explained

The surveyors prepare the Award, a legal document between the two Property Owners; this is agreed between the surveyors or one agreed surveyor and sets out what is and is not allowed in respect of the notifiable works. It is effectively a legal agreement. Owners can refer to this document to resolve a conflict or query they may have. The dispute often arises out of miscommunication. The Award, therefore, attempts to limit the prospect of conflict developing by communicating what has been agreed.

Schedule of Condition

Before the award is drafted, a surveyor will typically prepare a condition schedule; this is not a requirement of the Party Wall Act. The schedule of condition is nevertheless an important document. The surveyors will inspect a neighbour’s property to check and record any existing defects; this allows them to verify whether any damage has occurred after the notifiable works have been carried out. If the neighbour complains of damage, the surveyors will rule on whether that damage has occurred. If it has, they will serve an addendum to the award, which sets out an amount to be paid for the damage, or the neighbour can agree to have the contractor fix the defect.

Party Wall Surveyors – Duty of Care

Party Wall Surveyors have a duty of care for both parties. What this means is that they must act impartially under the Act. The surveyors are there to apply the terms of the Act by the rights of the owners. They may not deviate from the content within the Act and must ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Our Party Wall Surveyors always aims to remain impartial.