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The role of the advising engineer under the Party Wall etc Act 1996: Is there one?
There is a growing tendency for adjoining owners’ surveyors appointed under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 to ask almost as a matter of routine for the building owner to meet the cost of another engineer to advise the surveyor. This practice adds the burden of yet more fees on the building owner.There seems to be no direct authority for this in the Act itself but the practice is supported by inference in a leading judgment and directly in guidance published by some of the professional organisations in the field. What is clear is that such an additional appointment should be made only in exceptional circumstances and that responsibility for the appointment needs to be carefully considered and defined.Surveyors relying on guidance from ‘their own’ advising engineer should also be aware that in so doing they and their engineers may become involved in the design itself and acquire liability of which they and their professional indemnity insurers are unaware.
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Mikael Rust celebrates 40 years as a party wall surveyor this year. A speaker at conferences and CPD events, he has several published papers on party wall matters and is a specialist consultant with BotleyByrne Chartered Surveyors as well as running his own firm, Mikael Rust & Company Ltd. Frustrated by the absence of a credible, regulated facility for building owners required to give security under the Party Wall Act he established Security for Expenses Ltd in 2016. This is the only such service to be fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and supervised by HM Revenue & Customs.