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What is a Party Wall Surveyor, how to appoint them and the importance of due diligence

The most notable organisations which regulate Party Wall Surveyors are the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), CIBE, ISE, RICS, RIBA etc.  These Party Wall Surveyors can/should be trusted to be university educated and experienced, to act ethically and to meet the needs of the owners and the statute.  They can be recognised by their suffixes (letters after their name ie Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB (Master of Science in Building Surveying and Member of the Chartered Institute of Building).

Section 20 of the act and the spirit of the act, some argue, allows anyone to be a party wall surveyor which is an argumentum Absurdum (think legal capacity and negligence etc).  The purpose of Section 20 is to ensure healthy competition, ethical behaviour and  fairness in the act’s interpretation.  If there was only one Party Wall Institute/organisation fees would escalate (monopoly pricing) as would the use of professionals  such as checking engineers etc (from unsavoury and unethical networks).  The institute would select their own third surveyors.  What would then exist would be a sluggish, smug, conceited, self-important, pompous, egoistic and circumscribed monopoly which would have no incentive or motivation to serve the public as it would be feasting on the public as it serves itself.

Bruce therefore fully supports the competition from other organisations ie FPWS, LPWA, PWA, IPWA, PWSA etc – however Bruce considers it is essential that these non-chartered professional bodies avoid the possibility of being seen to mislead the public by the use of Non-Privy council suffixes (which do not denote Chartered Status or a degree or higher education from a University) or overestate the ability, qualifications, experience etc of their members (marketing confusion);  This is vital as immediately  an owner appoints their surveyor they are responsible for that appointment (they have carried out due diligence in consumer law) and they are therefore responsible for all mishaps which arise from that appointment which can be very costly should the appointed surveyor’s negligent actions be recognised in a court action or delay the works or cause excessive fees.

Due Diligence

Therefore when selecting your Party Wall Surveyor carry out due diligence. Importantly an adjoining owner should not contract a Party Wall Surveyor to frustrate the rights of the Building Owner as the appointment would be invalid under Section 20 of the act and the surveyor would be negligent under common law and statute.

Should you inadvertently appoint a person who is out of their depth please see, negligenceConsumer protection regulationsMisrepresentationQualifications etc below.

Party Wall Surveyor serving Thanet and London

Third Surveyor serving England and Wales

Bruce Spenser MSc LCGI
Bruce Spenser MSc LCGI