Advancing Standards in Party Wall Surveying
2 day course: Content Synopsis
- The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 sets out the circumstances in which one or more surveyors must be statutorily appointed to determine by award, a dispute between adjoining property owners arising out of certain construction works that require statutory notification under the Act.
- The Act specifies the works that fall within its ambit, details the requirements for notifying those works to the relevant owners and sets out criteria which govern the appointment of surveyors and place limits on the scope of their statutory jurisdiction.
- Prior to 1996 party wall legislation existed only in London and Bristol. The 1996 Act extended coverage to England and Wales and introduced subtle but significant changes to the party wall process. The problem for surveyors is that the government has not published an approved code of practice (ACOP) on how the Act should be interpreted. This has lead to significant differences of opinion between surveyors on numerous aspects of its implementation.
- There is a growing body of case law which has clarified a number of important issues but as yet this is not well publicised and many ‘grey’ areas remain which have yet to be considered by the Courts.
- Party wall surveyors wield considerable power in the exercise of their statutory function as a quasi-arbitrators and any action they take must be both appropriate and lawful. To that end they must be fully conversant with current best practice, in order to properly act for their appointing owners.
- Attendance is open to sole practitioners or members of staff in a company, working at management or professional level, who have a sound knowledge of construction. Professional qualifications are not essential provided the delegate can demonstrate a suitable length and breadth of career experience.
- The course is designed to provide full understanding of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 as will enable each delegate, upon its completion, to act competently in the statutory role of either an ‘agreed surveyor’, or one of the two surveyors, appointed under Section 10 of the Act. We strongly recommend delegates not to accept an appointment as the ‘Third Surveyor’ on the basis of having attended the course as the knowledge required to act in that capacity can only come with considerable experience in party wall matters.
- The number of delegates is limited to a small group which enables us to deliver intensive training in a style that is interactive throughout while retaining sufficient flexibility to focus on issues as the delegates themselves may determine. Dialogue with the trainer is encouraged at all times.
- The course content is structured to ensure that the delegates have, from the outset, a thorough grounding in the essential procedures relevant to all party wall matters, which are the basic building blocks of the process. We have purposely built into the course material a degree of repetition which reinforces each of those procedural points and puts them in context as the course progresses.
- Defining Owners and Ownership
- The relevance of occupiers
- The Act in outline
- Notices: The requirements; Service (Section 15); Authority to serve; Can a notice be withdrawn?
- Owners: Establishing who they are; What if owners change?; What if a Building Owner decides not to proceed?
- Party Wall Surveyors: Definition; Duties; Appointment & Fees; Power to correct defective notices; Statutory tribunals
- Acting as an agent
- Defining a dispute
- Section 10: Resolution of disputes
- Section 6: Adjacent excavation and construction
- Special Foundations
- Defining Party Fence Walls, Party Walls and Party Structures
- Section 1: Construction and repair of walls on Line of Junction
- Section 2: Repair etc. of Party walls: Rights of owner
- Section 3: Party Structure notices
Section 4: Counter notices
- Section 5: Disputes arising under Sections 3 & 4
- Section 7: Rights etc.
- Section 8: Rights of Entry
- Section 11: Expenses
- Section 12: Security for expenses
- Section 13: Account for work carried out
- Section 14: Settlement of account
- Sections 9 and 16 to 19: Easements; Offences; Recovery of sums; Exceptions
- Section 20: Interpretation (where not already covered)
Awards: Sample awards as guides; Acting within your jurisdiction - what should and should not be included. Awards are always project specific. The principle elements and generic clauses will be discussed during the course.
Case law 1899 to 2017: There is rarely time to study individual cases in detail. References will be made to relevant legal decisions throughout the course.
Some sections of the Act will be studied in greater detail than others with more emphasis being given to those which are
a. the basic building blocks of the procedure, and
b. contentious as to their interpretation among practicing surveyors
This is because once you have a thorough knowledge of the those sections, others that follow from them, principally Sections 11 to 14, which at first sight can seem daunting, become easier to read and their relationship to preceding sections are better understood. Discussion of each section of the Act will include interpretative commentary and consideration of the different opinions of leading surveyors where interpretations vary.