Rights of Access for the Building Owner and Future Enclosure Upon a Party Wall

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

My next door neighbours have submitted a planning application for a single storey rear extension along the full width of their property.  We live in terraced ex-council houses; mine is the end of terrace, theirs is in the middle.  They want to use my side access to bring equipment and materials through.  I have no objections to the proposed extension provided they appoint a surveyor to draw up a party wall agreement.

Do I have to contribute to the cost of the surveyor in drawing up the party wall agreement? Can I have written into the agreement that I reserve the right to enclose the newly constructed side wall should I choose to build a similar extension on my property in the future?  Preferably without paying compensation (given that I will be saving them money by allowing access for the materials and digging equipment).

Can I trust the party wall surveyor to carry out a boundary check and make sure that they do not encroach on my side?

Answer

Technically it is up to the surveyor to decide which of the owners should pay the costs of preparing the award but in all normal circumstances that will be the building owner (the party having the work done). You will only have the right to enclose the side wall of your neighbours’ extension if it is a party wall – i.e. built astride the boundary. Compensation will be due upon enclosure (see Section 11(11) of the Act) unless you make a contribution when the wall is built.

It is not the duty of the party wall surveyor (I’m assuming from your email that there will be just one) to establish the true boundary – the owners may request that he do that if there is a dispute but that will be separate to his duties under the Act.

Regarding access, the building owner may have a right of access under Section 8 of the Act but that would not extend to bringing materials through your property – they could only do that with your agreement.