Can a Surveyor Draft an Agreement that Acknowledges the Adjoining Owner’s Existing Subsidence

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

Hoping for some words of wisdom to set me on the right path of action.

We are preparing for a loft conversion to our terrace cottage style building, and have written to both neighbours as required by the party wall act.  One of the adjoining owners has specified that a surveyor be appointed to draft an award, to ensure that we are held responsible for any damage caused to their property from our work.

Their property is currently under investigation for subsidence, and I have concerns that even if our builders do not cause any damage during the build, there will be difficulties in determining what is the likely cause of any damage in the future.

Can a surveyor draft an agreement that acknowledges the existing subsidence, and protect us from being responsible for ongoing damage this may cause, which is unrelated to our work or alterations?

Answer

Most awards will include a schedule of condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property so that any existing defects are recorded. There is no reason why that schedule should not record the fact that the property is being monitored for subsidence as well as any signs of cracking. With regards to the longer term, it would be for the surveyors to decide if any damage that comes to light could be attributed to your works.