It sometimes comes as a surprise when people learn that to be a party wall surveyor you do not need to have any qualifications. The Party Wall etc Act makes no provisions for who should act as surveyor, with the only exception being that those who are party to the dispute cannot act as a party wall surveyor in dealing with that dispute.
Choosing the right party wall surveyor is made even more important when you learn that once you have appointed a party wall surveyor you cannot rescind their appointment, no matter how much you might dislike them. Their appointment is in place until the matter is resolved, or until they declare themselves incapable of acting.
In order to make choosing your party wall surveyor easier, we have listed our 5 dos and don’ts below which aim to make sure you get a party wall surveyor that has the necessary skills and knowledge, and which you won’t regret having chosen.
1. Do appoint a surveyor with relevant experience & qualifications.
It almost goes without saying, but you should always choose a surveyor that has relevant experience and qualifications to act as your surveyor. This should include a knowledge of both construction and the Act itself.
A good starting point when choosing a surveyor is to look for the following:
- Chartered Surveyors (MRICS or FRICS)
- Structural Engineers (IEng or CEng)
- Architects (RIBA)
- Members of the Chartered Institute of Building (MCIOB)
- You may also want to look for members of The Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (MFPWS / FFPWS)
2. Don’t choose a surveyor who sends unsolicited letters following planning applications with researching them.
It is common practice for some party wall surveyors to send out letters to owners of properties that neighbour recently submitted planning applications with the intention of soliciting an appointment. This type of approach is frowned upon and quite often leads to an increased number of disputes, as well as appointments being made before a dispute has arisen.
If you do receive an unsolicited letter, be sure to do your research on the surveyor or company that sent the letter, and speak to other surveyors before agreeing to their appointment.
3. Do appoint a surveyor that is local to you.
Whilst not absolutely essential, having a party wall surveyor that is local to you will make it easier for them to visit site in the event that they need to, and reduce potential fees from time spent travelling. For this reason, you should aim to appoint a surveyor that is at least reasonably local to the works, ideally within half an hour to 45 minutes.
4. Don’t appoint a surveyor without talking to them first.
When choosing a surveyor, make sure you speak to them over the phone before appointing them. You will get a feel for the surveyor, and he or she should be able to advise you about the process and any other queries you have about the party wall matters. If they can’t do this, or you are unsure, then you should move on.
5. Do seek recommendations from friends and family.
Qualifications and designations are all very good, but at the end of the day the recommendations made by friends and family from previous experience working with a party wall surveyor are often invaluable. Before selecting a surveyor, ask your friends and family if they have had any previous experience using a surveyor and whether it was a positive one. If so you should give them a call and discuss your matter with them.
Choosing a party wall surveyor need not be a daunting or difficult task, and by following the 5 tips above you should be set to ensure you pick one that is right for you and your project. If you are looking for party wall surveyors, you can start by searching our directory of party wall surveyors.