With the price of London homes making them unattainable not just for first time buyers but also for home movers, there has been a steady increase in the number of people making their current homes larger as opposed to moving. Relatively poor mortgage deals, increase in stamp duty and the price of houses are making it more affordable to do loft conversions and rear extensions instead.
What many homeowners don’t know is that to build on or against your neighbour’s wall or boundary line requires you to legally serve Party Wall Notices and where applicable produce a Party Wall Award. Generally, a Party Wall Surveyor will serve Party Wall Notice to the Adjoining Owner(s). As the notices must be correctly produced and served in accordance with the Party Wall etc. Act.
Party Wall Surveyor
Before the building work commences (minimum of two months) the homeowner’s Party Wall Surveyor will gather all the required information and produce the Party Wall Act Notice. The Adjoining Neighbour then has multiple options, one of which is to assign their own Party Wall Surveyor.
It would be cheaper if one Party Wall Surveyor represented both parties, but as mentioned above the Adjoining Neighbour can assign a different one and pass the cost onto the Homeowner. In some cases when the two Surveyors cannot come to an agreement a Third Surveyor has to get involved.
The Two Surveyors as the first order of business mutually select a Third Surveyor, if they are unable to do so, then they may refer the selection to the relevant body within the local authority. When the two assigned Party Wall Surveyors cannot come to an agreement then the Third Surveyor is asked to step in. This Third Surveyor almost acts as a quasi-arbitrator to find a solution to the dispute(s) raised by the two surveyors or their appointing owners.
The selected Third Surveyor should be knowledgeable and have good experience with Party Wall Matters, they are generally listed as a Third Surveyor. Traditionally the Building Owner’s Surveyor proposes a list of three or more suggestions as Third Surveyor’s to the Adjoining Owner’s appointed Surveyor.
The Role of a Third Surveyor
According to the Party Wall Act, the role of a Third Surveyor is defined as:
The third surveyor’s duties are to make determination as requested by either the surveyor or either owner, to resolve disputes and give advice and direction and to serve an award, as Section 10(15)(a)(b)
Once the Third Surveyor is called into action the first thing they must check is that there is written confirmation of their selection as Third Surveyor. As well as the appointments of the two surveyors are valid, before reviewing and deciding on the dispute.
Third Surveyor Fees
Just like the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor fees, the Building Owner carrying out the work must pay for the Third Surveyor. However, it some cases the fees may be deferred to the Adjoining Owner depending on the dispute. It is therefore common practice for the Third Surveyor to ask for their fees upfront before they have made a judgement.
Need help with a Third Surveyor?
Looking to get construction works done to your house or maybe your neighbour has just given you a Party Wall Notice? Do you require advice on Party Wall Notices? Contact Seven One Associates and speak to a Party Wall Surveyor who can help you with all your party wall issues.