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Proposed Amendments to the Party Wall Act

Thursday, 22nd June 2017 | by: Justin Burns

After 20 years, the Party Wall Act was amended in 2016 to allow for the electronic service of documents. Those of you that are familiar with the Act will know that it has more grey areas than a herd of elephants but that was the one amendment that was made. A year later I think I’ve met 2 other surveyors that have embraced this revolution.

It is a favourite pastime of party wall surveyors to discuss ways in which the Party Wall Act could be amended to overcome some of the day to day problems that we face. As I am undoubtedly the best party wall surveyor (you can’t argue with the recipient of the FPWS president’s plate 2016) I thought it only right that I publish my proposed amendments to finally put these discussions to bed:

  1. Any surveyor that refers to their appointing owner as their ‘client’ automatically forfeits their fee.
  2. If an appointed surveyor has their fee reduced following a referral to the Third Surveyor the surveyor pays the Third Surveyor’s fee rather than their appointing owner (this one is so obvious I can’t believe it was not in the original draft of the Act)
  3. If a surveyor shows their appointing owner a copy of the award before it is agreed they are banned from accepting any further appointments (copying an appointing owner in on an email between surveyors is an automatic yellow card offence).
  4. Owners that start work without serving the necessary notices have their planning consent revoked and are barred from applying again for 3 years.
  5. Solicitors are prohibited from commenting on party wall procedures until they confirm they have read and understand this post (I’m happy for it to be hosted on a Government website).
  6. The whole ridiculous notion of Special foundations is removed from the Act and any adjoining owners that have used section 7(4) of the Act to blackmail building owners are forced to make recompense.
  7. Surveyors who forward reams of non-relevant documents to their counterpart are obliged to make a £100 donation to the Trees for Cities charity.
  8. Any surveyor that writes ‘schedule of conditions’ must be reported to the RICS by their counterpart, made to hand write ‘schedule of condition’ (singular) 100 times and forced to send a copy to the president (of the RICS – not Donald Trump).

I feel better now.