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Do I Need a Party Wall Surveyor?

Undertaking building work can often affect your neighbours and adjoining property owners. In some cases, where the work involves modifying, demolishing, excavating near, or building against, a party wall, it may fall under the Party Wall Act 1996.


What is a party wall?

A party wall is so called because it is used, or provides benefit, to two or more people. It might form a part of your building, or it might be freestanding – such as a stone or brick wall in a garden. A party wall might not be on your land; it could be that the wall is owned by your neighbour, however because it separates your properties, it counts as a party wall.

Party walls are covered by the 1996 Party Wall Act. The Act is designed to aid property owners when developing their property, whilst accommodating the concerns of other affected parties.


The Party Wall Act 1996

The Party Wall Act covers the arrangements you need to make when undertaking building work that affects a party wall. It is your responsibility to find out whether the work you wish to have carried out falls under the remit of the Act. If it does, there are several processes you have to follow.

The Party Wall Act covers the building of a wall – whether freestanding or as part of a property – on the boundary with your neighbour’s property, undertaking work on an existing structure or party wall, and carrying out excavation work near a neighbouring building.

The Act tells you what procedures you need to follow if you want to have work carried out. You must notify all adjoining owners of your intention to carry out the work at least two months before the work is due to start.


Using a Party Wall Surveyor to settle disputes

If a neighbour takes issue with the work you plan to do, and you cannot settle it amicably between yourselves, you will need to appoint an ‘Agreed Surveyor’. The role of a Party Wall Surveyor is to assess the work being carried out, and the objections the adjoining owners may have, and to draw up an impartial Party Wall Award. This is a document that sets out how and when the work is to be carried out, and details of any additional work that needs to be undertaken.

The Party Wall Surveyor will create this document bearing in mind the requirements and expectations of all parties, but the final document will not favour any party. The Award settles the dispute in a fair and impartial manner. Sometimes, adjoining owners may wish to appoint their own surveyor as well, to ensure that the Award is truly impartial.


Party Wall Surveyor

All our Party Wall Surveyors have experience of dealing with the issues that can arise regarding building work carried out to a party wall. Take a look at our Party Wall Surveyor’s page for more information on the services we can provide.