Choosing a Party Wall Surveyor

Did you know that anyone can be a party wall surveyor? The Party Wall etc Act defines a surveyor as “any person not being a party to the matter appointed or selected under Section 10 to determine disputes in accordance with the procedures set out in this Act.”

This means that you need no training and no experience to act as a Party Wall Surveyor.

I have seen dreadful notices and agreements prepared (by builders in particular) that, far from solving a problem, create a far worse one. Solicitors can make a muddle of it too, getting the legal angle right, but the practical construction element wrong. And, of course, inexpert Chartered Surveyors can also make a hash of it.

So, how do you choose your party wall surveyor?

I would suggest you look for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who are members of either The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (FPWS) and/or and The Pyramus & Thisbe Club (often referred to as the P+T). Both organisations have a ‘find a professional’ function on their websites.

When you have found a suitable surveyor, give them a call and talk to him or her – not the office manager. You will quickly form an opinion as to his or her knowledge and competence and their ability to work well for you.

The FPWS is a subscription association for which members must take an entrance interview to verify competence before admission. Membership of the P+T is by peer review and recommendation. The P+T played a pivotal role in the establishment of the present Party Wall etc Act 1996.

Both organisations promote best practice and have rules of professional conduct, although they are not professional bodies in the way that the RICS or the Law Society are. A practicing party wall surveyor who is a member of one or both of these associations will be competent in the field.

Collier Stevens has four party wall surveyors overseen by practice principal Steven Way. Steven is a Chartered Surveyor and party wall practitioner with 25 years’ experience. He is a member of both the FPWS and the P+T. He also encourages the firm’s other surveyors to be members.

If you need help with a party wall matter, give Steven a call (020 8295 1200 in London, or 01303 239 000 in Kent) for a no obligation conversation, get a quote.

(Originally Published by Steve Way, 19 October 2017)