London Based Chartered Surveyors

Party Wall Surveyors

The proprietor of Peter Barry Surveyors, Justin Burns BSc MRICS FFPWS, is a full-time Party Wall Surveyor who has agreed more than 1,000 Awards over the last 5 years acting for both Owners and as ‘Agreed’ surveyor. He is assisted on the party wall team by William Weaver BA MRICS MFPWS, Matthew Price BSc MRICS MFPWS and Gavin McCarron BSc MRICS MFPWS.

We cover the whole of the inner M25 area from our network of London offices.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996

The Party Wall Act covers three distinct types of work, alterations to a shared (party) wall, the construction of new walls on the boundary and excavation work close to neighbouring properties. The third category is often overlooked by owners planning to extend their property.

Where work falls within the scope of the Act it is necessary for a Building Owner to serve notice and obtain the affected Adjoining Owner’s consent; if that consent is not forthcoming the parties are deemed to be ‘in dispute’ under the Act and surveyors must be appointed so that the dispute can be resolved by way of a Party Wall Agreement (technically called an ‘Award’).

Adjoining Owners

Often an Adjoining Owner only becomes aware of their neighbour’s plans to extend when a Party Wall Notice lands on their door mat. An Adjoining Owner has the option to either consent or dissent to a notice – if no response is made within 14 days the parties are deemed to be in dispute under the act. Where a dispute arises each Owner must appoint a surveyor so that a Party Wall Award can be agreed.

Although not stated in the Act the surveyors will Award that their reasonable fees must be paid by the Owner undertaking the works.

Building Owner

An Owner planning to undertake works that fall within the scope of the Act should start planning early; notice periods are either 1 and 2 months depending upon the type of work but where complex works are to be undertaken it can take longer than that for an Award to be agreed.

We always advise Building Owners to speak to their neighbours before serving the formal notice. Neighbours that feel they are being kept informed are far less likely to immediately appoint a surveyor when a formal notice is served and, often unnecessarily, run up a large bill for surveyor’s fees.

We recommend that Building Owners have their plans checked over by an experienced party wall surveyor to confirm whether the works come within the scope of the Act and if necessary draft the required notice(s). Our specialist Party Wall Surveyors offer that service for a flat fee of £65 plus VAT.

The Act allows for the same surveyor to be appointed by each of the Owners; in that scenario the surveyor will act as ‘Agreed’ and impartially regulate matters affecting both owners. By having a surveyor draft the notice a Building Owner can increase their chances of having that surveyor adopted as ‘Agreed’ which will help to keep the costs down on small projects.

Further Reading

  • If you are interested in learning how a typical party wall job progresses you may wish to read our case study
  • Justin has written several blog posts covering many aspects of the Act and providing useful advice.
  • If you're confused by any of the terminology surrounding the Act you might find our Glossary of Party Wall Terms useful.
  • Justin has also answered in excess of 200 questions submitted by the public on the Party Wall Advice site

If you would like any further information on any Party Wall matters do not hesitate to contact us on 020 7183 2578 or by e-mail.



 

Party Wall Enquiry
RICS


Latest Blog Posts

When Should Party Wall Notices be Served?

Completing the party wall awards is often the last part of the jigsaw required to allow work to commence on site and the process which leads up to that point can be delayed for any number of reasons; from technical queries relating to the proposed works to the appointed surveyors' holiday arrangements. It's therefore advisable to get started as soon as possible but when is the perfect time to start the process by serving notice? read more...

The Role of the 'Agreed' Surveyor

I've been meaning to write a post for a while that I could link to when an owner asks me to explain the role of the 'Agreed Surveyor' as it's a difficult concept. The question tends to be asked by an adjoining owner who has already appointed me to act for them and has been approached by the building owner to ask if I'd be willing to act for both owners. read more...

The Most Important Party Walls Article You'll Read

I would estimate that at least 80% of misunderstandings relating to the The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 could be cleared up if people understood the purpose and process as outlined in these 6 steps: read more...

See More

Testimonials

"I appreciate the update Justin. Good news all round - thank you for your time and perseverance!"

23.04.13
Mr AD Whetstone N20
"Thank you very much for your help in all this - we very much appreciate your steadiness and expertise."

02.08.13
Mr JCA Belsize Park NW3
"Thanks again Justin, you've been really great with dealing with our many many neighbours!! I think if I had realised at the outset how many neighbours we had, I maybe would have thought twice - but it's all gone very smoothly thanks to you."

23.03.12
KM Hackney E8
Party Wall Enquiry