Will My Surveyor Mark Out the Boundary So That There’s No Confusion? 

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question 

The fence between mine and my neighbour’s garden is in very poor condition with parts of it having broken away completely. Now my neighbour is planning to build a rear extension and has sent me a notice. If I appoint a surveyor will they mark out the boundary so that there’s no confusion? 

Answer 

I need to make a distinction between confirming where the boundary line is so that it does not inadvertently move during the works and a boundary dispute. 

Appointed party wall surveyors cannot determine a boundary. If there is a dispute over the location of the boundary that is critical to the works the dispute should be resolved before the works proceed. The RICS has a neighbour dispute service to help neighbours resolve property disputes and maintain harmony without the need for intervention by the courts. It’s possible that a party wall award could be agreed and served without a boundary dispute being resolved but the wording would need to be amended to confirm that the true position of the boundary was unknown and any drawings should make clear that the boundary line shown is nominal. 

If your concern is that the accepted boundary position may become blurred during the works that is something that the appointed surveyors can assist with. I suggest including a clause in the award along the following lines: 

Prior to constructing the wall described in clause X of this award, [The building owner is to] agree the location of the boundary with the adjoining owner and confirm with an indelible mark on the rear wall of the property. 

Where there is a party wall dividing the two properties in question the boundary will generally be at its centre and that can be easily transferred onto the rear wall.