I am planning a rear Extension and my Neighbour who isn’t connected has contacted a Party Wall Surveyor.

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

I have a semi attached house and need to extend the kitchen out from the back by 3 metres. The adjoining house has no issues but the house that is not connected to mine has delayed the build from day one. Now that the council has approved the plans he has got himself a party wall surveyor. As the gap is over 30 inches away is this something I would have to agree to?

Answer

It may be that your proposed works are notifiable to the non-attached neighbour under Section 6 of the Party Wall Act. That would be invoked if you are excavating within 3 metres of any part of his structure and deeper than the base of the foundations to that structure. If that is the case it will be necessary to serve a notice on your neighbour who may then dissent to the proposals and appoint a surveyor.

Follow-up

Some further questions:

  1. What if my foundations are not below his?
  2. Also should the Surveyor be independent as in not a friend / related to my neighbour?  Can I obtain proof from him in writing?
  3. The costs, who would  pick them up?
  4. If I don’t agree with them can I say no to the cost?
  5. Am I  entitled to refuse  any approach from him  in regards to the party wall agreement as I don’t think that I need one?

Answer

Addressing each point in turn:

  1. There is no requirement to serve notice.
  2. It can be a friend – the only person that cannot act for him is himself.
  3. Costs vary considerably but using London rates I would expect the Adjoining Owner’s surveyor’s fee to be somewhere between £700 and £1,000. You are responsible for your neighbour’s surveyor’s reasonable fee as well as your own surveyor’s fee.
  4. It will be for your surveyor to agree the Adjoining Owner’s surveyor’s fee. If they can’t agree the matter can be referred to a previously selected Third Surveyor.
  5. The Act is invoked by the serving of a notice so he cannot have appointed a surveyor at this stage. If the work is not notifiable then you should not serve a notice and surveyors will not be involved.

Follow-up

No notice was served on him he has taken it on himself to get a surveyor, can I do anything? If it’s a friend the report will not independent. Would it as it will favour him as it’s his friend?

Answer

You do not need to do anything – you are only responsible for his surveyor’s fee from the point that you serve the notice.

Your surveyor would have to agree the terms of the award so he would make sure that everything is done according to the Act. The Act does allow the 2 owners to use just one surveyor but I would not advise you to appoint the surveyor that is advising your neighbour in that role if you are concerned about his impartiality.