What Sort of Qualifications Must a Party Wall Surveyor Have?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

Could you advise me what sort of qualifications a party wall surveyor should have? We are “in dispute” with our neighbour but have said we would accept the appointment of an agreed party wall surveyor. My neighbour’s builder has suggested the appointment of a local man who called at the house and offered his services. His business card says “Surveyors and Building Consultants”  but he appears to be a one-man band operating from his own home. His only qualification listed is a BSc (Hons) in Building Surveying. Having searched for details of him on the internet it appears he has only acquired that qualification in 2009 and was recently employed as a sales and valuation manager for an estate agency.
Secondly, the builder has suggested constructing a party wall for the rear extension rather than building it entirely on the neighbouring property. The supposed advantage to us is that we would in future be able to build an extension ourselves and link up to this wall, thereby saving part of the cost. In practice we have no intention of building an extension, but would it be a big selling point when we come to sell the house? Thanks for any help you could give with these two questions.

Answer

There are no specific qualifications required to act as a party wall surveyor although I doubt a ‘surveyor’ with no qualifications would win much business. Having a relevant degree is a good starting point although it does not demonstrate any practical experience in the way that, for instance, being a member of the RICS does. I have never heard of a surveyor knocking on doors and offering their services (although many do write to adjoining owners touting for business) so that would make me suspicious. You will find the details of 2 organistions on our resources page that will be able to supply you with the names of some experienced local surveyors.

I am generally in favour of building new walls astride the boundary as it is a good idea to make the wall available for the use of the Adjoining Owner in the future although it may not be the cost saving that your neighbour suggests. Under section 11(11) of the Act you would have to pay him compensation at the time you make use of the wall – the rule also applies to any future owner of your property.

Follow-up

Many thanks for your answer to my questions. The information regarding a compensation payment was interesting and something I had not heard of. Before receiving your reply I had  decided  to reject the proposed surveyor and ask for somebody with a RICS membership and from what you say in your reply, I think it was the right thing to do.