TOP 5 REASONS TO SHARE AN

AGREED PARTY WALL SURVEYOR WITH YOUR NEIGHBOUR

 

 

 

You know that nervous feeling that you might sometimes get in the pit of your stomach? The one warning you that you might be doing something wrong.

Well its totally natural if you are getting it because you’re thinking that appointing the same Party Wall Surveyor as your neighbour is a bad idea. You also aren’t wrong to challenge whether it’s a good idea to use them as your Agreed Surveyor . It’s just that you might not be right either.

This blog is going to help you in two ways.

  • We’ll chat through 5 principle reasons its worth considering using an Agreed Surveyor
  • And by doing that together, we’ll reveal some key situations when, well, it isn’t.

Like a fair few people in this green and pleasant land of ours, you might live in a terrace or semi-detached house. It might have a small garden with a traditional patchy lawn, a small fence shielding you from the neighbour’s Bay tree and on the other side there might be a tall wall keeping out the much less than fantastic Mr Fox and his nocturnal nemesis the brazen Mrs Badger. The street’s suburban commandos.

All in all, your neighbour and you might share the highs and lows of living in unreasonably close proximity to one another rather well. Somehow the subtle nod over the five-foot-high fence on a sunny day is just enough to keep you getting along. That and relying on the mutual need to keep the bricks and mortar between you in the same spot.

Does that sound familiar? Or perhaps you’re in an even more positive position, in which case let’s head to Number 1 of our Top 5 reasons to share an agreed surveyor with your neighbour.

 

 

 

 

A cup of British Tea and Rich Tea Biscuits On A Wooden Table highlighting the Number 1 reason why a shared party wall surveyor is important

What you are about to read isn’t a state secret, but it also still might come as a surprise. Ready?

You don’t always have to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor

This is a great place to start our Top 5 because it lays the foundations for the ‘good neighbour relationship’ concept that we’re featuring in this article. Before you go rushing over to next door’s though, a few wise words of advice about what this might mean for you.

  • Do your research and make sure you are happy to go ahead without a Party Wall Surveyor involved. (Give us a call if needs be and we can point you in the right direction)
  • Always do a Schedule of Condition. Get a camera and take loads of pics before the works start and we mean a lot. From every angle you can think of, plus keep them safely stored for the long term too.
  • Sign the relevant documents, confirm you ‘consent’ to the neighbours proposed works and obey all the time scales required by the Party Wall Act 1996.

 

 

Number 2 is a big one. It forms the foundation of what it means to be a Party Wall Surveyor.

The point here is that because Party Wall Surveyors, by their very nature, training and the legal templates they apply are impartial. Whilst you might immediately feel that a third party paid for by your neighbour might not be neutral, this is a misconception. For one good reason. The Party Wall Surveyors represent the properties involved in the notice & award – not the owners.

They are not there to take anyone’s side, just apply the letters of the law so that everyone’s rights are protected throughout the process.

 This concept of an ‘impartial, neutral, third party’ should give you confidence and comfort that you can, in the correct circumstances, make use of an Agreed Surveyor.

 

 

 Let’s cover off all this Agreed Surveyor business first.

The Agreed Surveyor is an independent, third party who acts for both parties. You can agree to the appointment of an ‘Agreed Surveyor’ by ‘dissenting’ to the neighbours works on their formal Party Wall Act notice.

This can be a good option to save your neighbour money on the fees and make the process quicker by not having two Party Wall Surveyors involved, but you may also have concerns about whether you will be protected.

So, should I trust someone to act in both of our best interests?

In theory, yes – a Party Wall Surveyor is always impartial, and will work to protect both parties, but when the stakes are high and works look complicated and daunting, the more likely something will fall out of place. If your friendly neighbour is planning on building a James Bond style shark tank 12 floors under a South Kensington mansion house, which also shares an extensive boundary with your property, you might want to consider getting an independent Party Wall Surveyor to act for you and provide a second perspective and point of expertise in the process.

In summary, if you neighbour’s plans and building works are relatively straightforward then you may feel more comfortable in using an Agreed Surveyor.

 

 

 The thing to remember is that anyone can be a Party Wall Surveyor. Anyone at all.

 The Act itself says that a Party Wall Surveyor is ‘any person not being a party to the matter appointed or selected under Section 10…’ Applying the Act properly isn’t an easy task which is why inexperienced and poorly trained Party Wall Surveyors are often much more trouble than they are worth. Plus, they can actually turn out to be more expensive than a Surveyor who is of better quality.

A quality Party Wall Surveyor can be anyone who is:

  • RICS Chartered Building Surveyor
  • A RIBA Architect
  • A Chartered Engineer
  • An experienced Construction professional (CIOB)

Or perhaps you’d prefer someone who has done a 3-day course?

Just because you hired a Surveyor yourself doesn’t mean they can do the job, nor know enough to apply the Party Wall Act properly. The same also goes for a poorly qualified Agreed Surveyor who would present exactly the same lack of expertise.

In summary, an Agreed Surveyor who has certification from one of the above is going to offer you a credible alternative to simply going for any advertised Party Wall Surveyor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is common practice, in most situations for the building owner, the party who is doing the works, to cover the costs for their own surveyor and the costs for anyone you might select if you were to opt for another independent surveyor to represent you, the ‘Adjoining Owner’.

Their arrangement is often a fixed fee, but they are likely to pay for your surveyor’s work by the hour.  Cost is a major influencer in almost all our decision making so consider these two points:

  • If you are on good terms with your neighbours, then you should consider whether it is necessary to increase their costs. i.e. paying for two surveyors if one quality, impartial, Party Wall Surveyor will do, or you are happy to agree without a Party Wall Award?
  • Since you won’t have to pay for the surveyor anyway consider how comfortable you would feel with the process if you choose to use an Agreed Surveyor? Or if you ar not confident in your neighbours choice, and they wont agree to a surveyor you would be happy to use, then perhaps two heads are better than one!

 

 

 

 

 

Optimise your party wall experience

Party Wall matters are an important and much underestimated part of the social and cultural life of the place you live and your relationship with those living around you. It is incredibly easy to assume that the entire party wall aware process is going to be problematic. It is there to protect the rights of everyone involved.

If you feel able then begin the party wall process by chatting to your neighbour about their plans and how it might impact on your property. It’s a great place to start.

For everything else, there’s Cardoe Martin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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