Certain building works and development on a boundary between properties in different ownership create an open invitation to numerous and much-reported arguments and disputes. This article contains a dispute resolution framework administered by impartial party wall surveyors. It will highlight common problems that a party wall surveyor experiences, provide practical hints and tips for both building and adjoining owner to assist the process and address some of the key issues often asked.

Before getting started, let’s have an overview…

What does a Party Wall mean?

  1. A wall which forms part of a building and stands on lands of different owners to a greater extent than the projection of any artificial support on which the wall rest and
  2. So, much of a wall not being a wall referred to in above separates buildings belonging to different owners.

The Party Wall Act 1996 is to protect you and your neighbour. The Party Wall Act 1996 was passed to prevent party wall dispute and to protect the owner of the neighbour’s premises. A party wall dispute is not necessarily acrimonious. Disputes can arise simply because the property owner fails to respond.

According to the party wall act, there are three types of party walls:

  • A wall that stands on the lands of more than one owner and forms one part of a building.
  • A wall that stands on the lands of two owners without being a part of a building on the land.
  • A wall that is on the land of one owner. It is being used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.

A dispute may arise due to failure to comply with the party wall etc. Act. If the Building owner is in dispute with the adjoining owner, the building owner cannot begin any work until the dispute is resolved. If you have not already discussed the work with your neighbour, doing so at this stage could help to resolve the dispute. To resolve the dispute, an independent party wall surveyor must be engaged to draw up an impartial settlement as a wise decision for both the owners. And discussing the plans with the owner of the adjoining property is the easiest way to resolve any party wall dispute. The owner of the adjoining property may dispute the notice in order to have a better understanding of the plans.

How a Party Wall Surveyor Can Assist You to Resolve Dispute?

A party wall surveyor will create a document which includes the following details.

  1. Details of the construction work and how this work is going to be performed.
  2. Details of the present condition of both adjoining properties.
  3. Details of how to share the cost of the plan work and have shared benefits for both owners.

If the building owner has ironed out possible snags with neighbours, this should mean that they will give consent in response to the notice. Before serving the notice, the party wall surveyor will ask for all property drawings, structural calculations and other details from neighbours.

Each neighbour can appoint a party wall surveyor to consider the work and agree a party wall award between them. Party Wall Surveyor will discuss this before making a referral.

Party Wall Surveyor collects legally binding and enforceable documents…

  1. Set out the work that will be carried out and the right being exercised.
  2. Says how and when the work can be carried out.
  3. Records the condition of next door before the works begin.
  4. Allow access for the surveyors to inspect the work while they’re going on.
  5. May place other obligations such as insurance, protective screens, security for expenses and other directions that are permitted by the act.
  6. Confirms who pay the surveyors costs.

It is a good idea to keep a copy of the party wall agreement with property deeds.

Sometimes it is not possible to resolve the party wall dispute without involvement of impartial surveyor. Disputes may arise by external effects like disturbances or extra noise. If there is a doubt, then consult an expert like Surveyor, that’s it. A surveyor can prepare party wall responsibilities during the course of planned works. Another important job is undertaken by the surveyor is to access the condition of the property of the party wall where the work will be carried on. If the adjoining owner agrees, the building owner can appoint an agreed surveyor to act impartially for both. Party wall Surveyor has a duty to the Act rather than to the individuals appointing them and they may resolve the matter of dispute in a fair and practical way.