The options available to an Adjoining Owner are dependent on the circumstances prevailing, let us explore them in turn:
The Adjoining Owner receives a letter from a surveyor when the Building Owner has not served notices
This is known as coffin chasing or cold calling and is an unethical practice. If the letter is from a Chartered Professional make a complaint to their professional body. Regardless of who the letter is from, put it in the bin and have no further truck with these people.
The Adjoining Owner is advised by planning of an application or its progress
This is standard regulatory procedure required by Planning legislation, it is outside the remit of the Party Wall Act and you should therefore not contact a Party Wall Surveyor
The Adjoining Owner receives notices from the Building Owner (or a surveyor who is authorised to serve them)
The Adjoining Owner has four choices:
To appoint their own surveyor – Bruce would recommend only a Chartered Building Consultancy or a Chartered Engineer – both have the necessary training, education and experience to carry out the requirements of the act
To agree the Building Owner’s Surveyor as the Agreed Surveyor – Bruce would recommend this course of action if the Building Owner’s surveyor is a Chartered Building Consultancy or a Chartered Engineer – both have the necessary training, education and experience to carry out the requirements of the act
To do nothing – The Building Owner will, in due course, serve a requirement to appoint notice and then the Adjoining Owner has the two choices listed above.
To allow the Building Owner’s works to go forward without a dispute – In this case a dispute under the act would not arise – Bruce would not recommend this course of action unless the Adjoining Owner knew exactly what they were doing and the ramifications of their choice.
The choice exercised will be dependent on the Adjoining Owner’s psychological make up and can not therefore be advised upon by a surveyor and it would be unethical of a surveyor to attempt to persuade an adjoining owner to choose them.