Party Wall FAQs 2
What are the Surveyors Roles?
The roles of the Surveyors are to take into account the interests of the two individual owners when implementing the terms of the Act. Their duty is to the Act and the provisions in it. The Act gives the two Surveyors certain powers to adjudicate between the parties and settle disputes.
Whilst both Surveyors’ initial responsibility is to their Appointing Owners, they also have a duty to the other Owner and must also take into consideration their opinion. The duty on both Surveyors is to act impartially in the implementation of the Act.
What is an Award?
An Award is a legally binding document that is signed by both Surveyors to settle a dispute between the Owners. Both Owners have 14 days after service of the Award to appeal the Award to the County Court and have it amended or overturned. Such an appeal would be upheld if the Surveyors had exceeded the authority that is given to them under the Act. The court would not overturn an Award if the appealing party just did not like the decision.
What happens about noisy work?
Under the Act it is possible for noisy works to the Party Wall to be restricted to certain hours if there are special circumstances relating to the Adjoining Owner e.g., the Adjoining Owner works nights and is sleeping in the first half of the day. In such circumstances the timing for the Party Wall works can be determined by the two Surveyors to fit in with this. However, timing of such works only applies to the works to the Party Wall and not the rest of the works undertaken on the site over which the two Surveyors have no jurisdiction.
Why do the Surveyors prepare a Schedule of Condition?
A Schedule of Condition assists the two Surveyors in assessing whether any damage has occurred to the Adjoining Owner’s property as a result of the Party Wall works. It is only a tool to assist them and there is no specific requirement for one to be produced. Failure to produce a Schedule of Condition therefore does not prevent the Award being issued. However, it is in both parties interests to have the existing condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property recorded before the works commence.
Even if an Award has been issued without a Schedule of Condition, if the Adjoining Owner subsequently gives access to prepare a Schedule of Condition, this can be undertaken at any time after the Award is in place, although for obvious reasons this needs to be before work starts.
I do not want the works to go ahead – what can I do?
The Act is an enabling Act. It is there to allow the works to go ahead and any attempt to block work that is permitted under the Act can be bypassed under the Act’s provisions. There are clauses in the Act which allows the Building Owner to continue with the works regardless of any delays or refusal to act by either the Adjoining Owner or the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor.