Party Wall Surveyor
The legislation and rules around party walls can be complicated if you’ve never dealt with them. If you or your adjourning neighbour is planning on competing work on a party wall, then it’s likely that you will need a party wall surveyor like us to help you manage the entire process and reach a resolution that all parties are happy with.
As Chartered Surveyors who specialise in party walls, our aim at Copeland Yussuf is to make the process as seamless and straightforward as possible. We do that by being professional and knowledgeable, following the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 to perfection to guide you through the process.
Party Wall Services we offer
At Copeland Yussuf, we can offer various services to aid your property management, far exceeding party walls. That said, as committed and specialist party wall surveyors, we can help you no matter your situation or progress through the party wall procedure.
Our main focus as party wall surveyors is to resolve disputes when two party wall owners disagree over proposed plans. We use our surveying skills and knowledge of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 to reach a resolution and issue Party Wall Awards.
Many other party wall surveyors will stop there, but we also offer additional services to simplify the process for you and your neighbours. Get in touch if you need the following:
Depending on your unique situation, we can act as an individual surveyor hired by both yourself and your adjourning neighbour, or we can work alongside other surveyors to reach an unbiased and fair resolution per the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
We have a duty to adhere to the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 rather than the individuals appointing us, meaning that you can expect an impartial, practical decision.
Get a no-obligation quote
We offer a no-obligation quote for Party Wall surveys.
Leading Chartered Surveyors
At Copeland Yussuf, we’re one of the leading Chartered Surveyors in the South East and have over a decade of experience surveying party walls, drafting and sending Party Wall Notices, and issuing Party Wall Awards.
We have a large and ever-growing clientele that includes both councils and housing groups, demonstrating the high standards that our surveyors have. We can provide bespoke house inspections to help assess and manage any party wall disputes, yet we can also offer guidance and support at any stage of the party wall procedure.
We have fantastic attention to detail, ensuring that our assessment and Party Wall Awards are accurate and reliable, which, in turn, minimises the risk of counter disputes.
Copeland Yussuf is regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). You can trust our practices and be assured we complete our services by following top industry standards.
What is a party wall?
A party wall is clearly defined in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and is a boundary wall that crosses over the boundary line of two adjourning properties. A common example of a party wall is one that divides terraced or semi-detached houses.
Party walls can also be walls that don’t connect to other buildings, such as garden walls that divide outdoor spaces. These are officially known as Party Fence Walls and need to be permanent structures to count. Things like wooden fences do not count as a party wall.
Going further into the details, party walls can get more complicated, as there are various types of these walls, and all have slightly different rules and regulations.
It can be tough to identify which type of party wall you have if you have a party wall at all, which is why it can be helpful to get a Chartered Surveyor to inspect your property before you plan to do any work. We can help you identify any issues and inform you of what you can and can’t do going forward.
As a result of party walls being owned by two different property owners, you first need to get permission from your neighbour if you want to do any structural work to it. To get permission, you need to send a Party Wall Notice that will kick off the party wall procedure. You can’t do anything to a party wall that falls within the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 without having a Party Wall Notice positively responded to or without a Party Wall Award. We have a more detailed guide on Party Walls if you want to learn more.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is a piece of legislation last amended in 1997 and details what you need to do if you want to complete any work covered by the act. This document includes all the rules you need to follow to ensure that you can work on your party wall legally, and it is something that party wall surveyors like us follow closely when inspecting properties and issuing Party Wall Awards.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 covers various actions and types of work you can complete on a shared boundary wall. If you want to do any of the following to your party wall, then you’ll need to send a Party Wall Notice to begin the procedure:
- Removing a party wall
- Rebuilding a party wall
- Adding an extension to a party wall
- Increasing or decreasing the thickness of a party wall
- Underpinning a party wall, which is where you reinforce the current foundations
- Excavation and foundation work on or near the party wall
- Damp-proofing the party wall
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 can be challenging to understand fully. Thankfully, we have extensive knowledge of the act, equipping us to guide you through the process. We’ll closely follow the act and use it to influence our support, so you don’t have to stress or get bogged down about it.
Step-by-Step Party Wall Procedure
The process of completing work on a party wall is clearly defined, although it may differ from case to case depending on your adjourning neighbour’s response and the type of party wall you’re working on.
We can step in at any part of the party wall process, whether you’re the individual planning the work and need a notice or if you’re the individual responding to a notice.
If you plan to complete work on a party wall, you first need to draft a Party Wall Notice that will be sent to your neighbour. This document needs to contain all the details about your proposed work, and it also needs to be the right kind of Party Wall Notice for it to be valid.
As party wall surveyors, we can help you draft the perfect Party Wall Notice and ensure that you send the right type applicable to the work you want to do be done. As the building owner, you can’t deliver the notice yourself, hence the need for a party wall surveyor like us.
After a Party Wall Notice has been sent, a response is required. The individual who has received the notice can either agree to it, send a counter notice that includes proposed additional work, or dissent to the notice and start a dispute.
As party wall surveyors, we can help those who have received a notice best respond to it and assist them in choosing the right option for their situation.
Work can begin on a party wall if a Party Wall Notice is agreed to. If not, then a dispute resolution process needs to start.
If there’s a dispute, a party wall surveyor will need to be hired to assess the wall and figure out exactly what can be done to the wall that’s fair and legal. Both neighbours can choose to share a single-party wall surveyor, or the adjourning neighbour can elect their own so that two-party wall surveyors work together to reach a resolution.
A party wall surveyor may take around four weeks to reach a resolution and issue a Party Wall Award. They need this time to complete their detailed assessment and ensure their decision is the best for everyone involved.
Once a party wall surveyor has issued a Party Wall Award, both property owners can dispute the decision. Doing this will take the case to country court, which can cost a lot due to legal fees, especially if you lose the case. You should only dispute if you’re confident you’ll win the case.
Party Wall Surveyor FAQs
When should a Party Wall Notice be Sent?
You should send a Party Wall Notice at least a month before you plan to do work to a party wall. In some cases, it's best to send one earlier. This is so that there's enough time for the notice recipient to respond and for you to sort out a dispute if one arises.
How long do you have to respond to a party wall notice?
If you've received a Party Wall Notice, you only have 14 days to respond. If you don't, the notice will automatically dissent, starting a dispute resolution process which can be pretty expensive for the property owner who sent the notice.
Due to this short timeframe, if you want a surveyor to help with your response, you need to get in contact soon after you've received the notice. Don't wait around, as you may run out of time.
Who pays the party wall surveyor?
Most of the time, the individual planning the work on the party wall pays for the surveyors, as they're the ones who benefit from the work on the wall. In some cases, the adjourning neighbour may have to contribute to payment if the work done to the wall is required because of neglect or improper maintenance.
What happens if an adjourning neighbour doesn't select a party wall surveyor?
If an adjourning neighbour doesn't appoint their surveyor in time, the property owner planning work to a party wall can select one on their behalf.
Does each party wall owner need their own party wall surveyor?
No, a single-party wall surveyor can be shared between two or more party wall owners to settle a dispute. This is because party wall surveyors are impartial and won't favour either side, as we work to serve the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, not those who have employed the surveyor.
When do I not need a party wall surveyor?
If a Party Wall Notice has been agreed to, you don't need a party wall surveyor, as there's no dispute to be resolved, and a Party Wall Award isn't required.
How much will a party wall surveyor cost?
The amount you have to pay for a party wall surveyor will depend on the scale of the dispute that needs to be settled and how long it takes to inspect and assess the property. Furthermore, if you use a party wall surveyor to respond to a Party Wall Notice or help you draft one, you may have to pay more.
What are Schedules of Condition?
When assessing your property to help determine the details of a Party Wall Award, our surveyors usually perform a Schedule of Conditions. This is a photographic document that details what a property looked like at a certain time, taking photos of parts such as walls, floors and ceiling surfaces.
It's used to record any defects and the overall condition of the part of the property that will be affected by the works so that you can compare the end product and what it started as.
When did the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 Start?
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 originated after the Great Fire of London in 1666, when the legislation was first drawn up to help limit the future spread of fire between adjourning properties.
The current iteration was last amended in 1996, where it clearly defines what a party wall is and what needs to be done if you're planning work on it.
What areas does the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 cover?
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 isn't valid in all regions of the United Kingdom. It's only used in Wales and England, with Northern Ireland and Scotland settling party wall disputes through common law instead.
Why Choose Copeland Yussuf for Party Wall Surveys?
Over the last decade, we’ve settled thousands of party wall disputes and issued multiple Party Wall Awards and agreements. We know the best practices at all stages of the party wall process and can help you navigate this potentially difficult time.
We have many fantastic reviews from our past clients, which has helped us get a reputation as one of the leading party wall surveyors in the area.
Our Chartered Surveyors that make up the team are trustworthy, extremely experienced, and confident that they can help you reach the best resolution for you.