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The role of surveyors under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act) is a unique piece of legislation, as it applies a dispute resolution process for works affecting neighbouring owners that is administered by surveyors and not by the courts or through formal arbitration procedures. This gives surveyors appointed under the Act a statutory role and it is therefore important that surveyors properly understand the extent of that role, the responsibilities that come with it and the limits of their jurisdiction. This paper examines case law to explain key issues of the surveyor’s role in detail. Much of that case law is from the County Court, which means that it is not binding on other courts, but as many of those judgments make reference to decisions of higher courts, they give valuable guidance to surveyors about how the courts understand the surveyor’s role. Many of the decisions result from courts deciding that actions of a surveyor were incorrect, which shows the importance of not taking for granted that the regular practice of other surveyors is necessarily correct. This article focuses on the role of surveyors when each owner appoints their own surveyor. Many of the points will of course also apply to agreed surveyors.
The full article is available to subscribers to the journal.
Alistair Redler BSc FRICS is a chartered building surveyor and senior partner of Delva Patman Redler Chartered Surveyors. Alistair joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1994 and senior partner in 2012. Alistair specialises in neighbour law surveying, particularly party walls, rights of light, daylight and sunlight and boundary determination. He is one of the most frequently selected third surveyors for party wall awards in the UK. Alistair is a past chairman and national secretary of the Pyramus and Thisbe Club, the principal learned society for party wall professionals. He is also past chairman of the RICS Boundaries and Party Walls Working Group, which advises RICS on neighbour matters. He has been a member of the working group that writes the RICS Party Walls guidance note and of the working group that wrote the current RICS Daylight guidance note. Alistair is the author of The Practical Neighbour Law Handbook published by RICS Books in 2006, and a Party Wall CPD Study Pack for the University College of Estate Management. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal and Valuation.