Party Wall Surveyor - should I insist?

My neighbour has served notice under the party wall act to do a loft extension. We are mid-terrace.

I have no issue with the work; my question is whether I insist on a party wall surveyor?

He says no need - he’s served the notice, come round and taken all the photos as well as drawing up a schedule of condition for our house (he claims he’s a former surveyor). He has shared the drawings.

He says a PWS would do exactly as he has done (I.e take a few photos) but that it would cost him - pointlessly - £1,000.

He says a PWS for a ‘simple’ loft conversion is not necessary.

Should I insist on one or let him crack on?

Comments

  • GDB2222
    GDB2222 Posts: 24,330
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    edited 31 December 2023 at 8:26AM
    We did recently. In fact, as the neighbour did not communicate with us, we ended up having two surveyors, even though I told him I was happy with a single surveyor acting jointly. This was for a retaining wall, with a substantial height difference, so there was scope for a catastrophe. 

    If your neighbour really knows what he is doing, you may feel that you can trust him not to cause any problems. 
    No reliance should be placed on the above! Absolutely none, do you hear?
  • GR54
    GR54 Posts: 4
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    Understanding of the Party Wall Act has changed in the last few years.  The cases of 'Shah v Kyson & Power' have reminded us that the definition of 'building owner' is someone who wishes to take advantage of rights under the Act.  If you are happy to rely on your common law rights, you are not a 'building owner', and your common law rights continue. (So no need to serve a Party Wall Notice for removing a chimney breast in your own house, or inserting a beam into the wall, up to a depth of half the thickness of the wall.) 

    There was in interesting article in Estates Gazette by Matthew Hearsum (a well-known expert on Party Wall matters) in November, confirming the latest understanding. 

    In the light of that it's probably unlikely that your neighbour needed to serve a Notice.  So I'd suggest just 'consent' to the Notice (or tell him he can rely purely on his common law rights) .  I can't do you any harm, and will allow your neighbour not to waste  around £1500.
  • Nobbie1967
    Nobbie1967 Posts: 1,447
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    GR54 said:
    Understanding of the Party Wall Act has changed in the last few years.  The cases of 'Shah v Kyson & Power' have reminded us that the definition of 'building owner' is someone who wishes to take advantage of rights under the Act.  If you are happy to rely on your common law rights, you are not a 'building owner', and your common law rights continue. (So no need to serve a Party Wall Notice for removing a chimney breast in your own house, or inserting a beam into the wall, up to a depth of half the thickness of the wall.) 

    There was in interesting article in Estates Gazette by Matthew Hearsum (a well-known expert on Party Wall matters) in November, confirming the latest understanding. 

    In the light of that it's probably unlikely that your neighbour needed to serve a Notice.  So I'd suggest just 'consent' to the Notice (or tell him he can rely purely on his common law rights) .  I can't do you any harm, and will allow your neighbour not to waste  around £1500.
    You’re his neighbour aren’t you?
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