In 1996 the party wall act came into effect to prevent and resolve disputes between property owners regarding party walls, party structures, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. This means that anyone who intends to carry out work that affects the party structures listed above must do so but the consent and acknowledgement of the adjoining owners.If the Adjoining owner does not wish to give consent then a party wall surveyor can resolve the matter fairly in an impartial manner.If the party wall surveyor has reached the conclusion that is it appropriate to carry out the works then a party wall award shall be made outlining several parameters to make sure both owners are not severly affected.
The Party Wall Award
The Party Wall Agreement/Award is a document made by the agreed surveyor or two party wall surveyors representing the property owners.It will normally consist of: The award e.g. a set of guidelines governing how the proposed works should be carried out. A “schedule of condition” of the adjoining property, often corroborated by a set of photographs and Drawings showing the details of the works proposed. The award would usually be based on a draft document, which is then amended according to the details of the specific work. It should explicitly state the details of the two properties. It must also have all details of the two surveyors and the “Third Surveyor” (a third surveyor is not needed if an agreed surveyor has been used).
The Party Wall Surveyor
The term “surveyor” is defined in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 as any person who is not a party to the works. That rules out the possibility of an owner acting for themselves but anyone else is permitted to take an appointment. That includes whoever is overseeing the works on the owner’s behalf, be they surveyor or architect. The chosen person should have a good knowledge of construction, be well versed in party wall procedures and ideally have a relevant qualification. Popular choices include building surveyors and structural engineers.
Our Involvement In Party Wall Awards
It is generally accepted that ‘any person not being a party to the matter’ includes anyone and everyone that is not the Building Owner, the Adjoining Owner, or a person with an interest in either property. So it could be argued that anyone can be the party wall surveyor which is why It is reasonably common to see an architect or structural engineer switch hats from designer to party wall surveyor when needed they share many skills in common required for this job e.g. Have a detailed understanding of the proposed works, Call upon a construction knowledge to understand the implications of the work on both Building Owner and Adjoining Owner, Understand the works which are notifiable under the Act.Not only do engineers qualify to be a party wall surveyor but they also offer a different perspective compared others which can save time and money. We, as engineers also create the drawings which have an influence on whether a party wall award should be given, demonstrating the knowledge engineers have to qualify as party wall surveyors.