Should my Surveyor Undertake a Final Inspection?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

I am in dispute at the moment with my Surveyor and the building owners Surveyor over final inspection costs.  The building owners Surveyor referenced a Counsels opinion and stated there was no requirement for a final inspection allowance to check the works as the works were deep excavation including a demolition of the adjoining building a detached bungalow  Although my Surveyor did note that this was contrary to RICS best practices, despite this it was not entered in the Party Wall Award (August 2019).

Since then I found out that the foundation work and backfill was carried out incorrectly.  As a result the retaining wall under the right to support is not supporting my property and it is now susceptible to subsidence.  I proceeded to engage a structural engineer to inspect the work at my expense, and he has recommended remedial works to be carried out; which should be at the building owner’s expense.  Is it right for the Surveyors to insist on payment on account from me?

I need the works remediated as I need to build a small wall and fence, I cannot do this until the work is carried out (not at my expense).  I cannot even sell the house in that state.  The other issue is the building owner has no room to maintain his side of the building unless I give permission and the fence, which is replacing hedges, will obfuscate the gas boiler flues.

Answer

To answer the final question first, as the work has already been completed the fact that the building owner has sold/is selling their property has no bearing. Responsibility for damage caused remains with the party that undertook the works.

The building owner is responsible for any loss or damage caused by the works authorised by the party wall award so you are entitled to put forward a claim and if that claim is rejected by the building owner it must be determined by the appointed surveyors.

It is for the surveyors to determine whether a final inspection if justified. As the award did not make provision for one they must have decided that it was not.

It’s unusual for the surveyors to request payment on account. Third Surveyor will sometimes do this but it would be equal payments from both owners so that it did not give any clues as to their determination.

If you believe the two appointed surveyor are not acting effectively you have the option of approaching the Third Surveyor – their details should be in the award.