I am a building Surveyor and i have found probably over the last 10 years that the Party wall Act which was initially intended to protect neighbours is now becoming increasing arduous and costly on any party intending to carry out building works.
The principles behing the Act are still sound and it seems sensible to advise a neighbour work is about to start, to check the condition of their property and insure them against any damage.
However the Act is not controlled, there are no governing bodies, no qualifications are required to become a party wall surveyor.
In an attempt to increase their fees adjoining surveyors are requesting far more information that is unecessary, they are delaying building projects which is leading to more and more disputes.
The appeal proceedure for a dispute certainly needs reforming where the two parties call on a
Tthird surveyor to deal with these disputes. more often than not he is not equipped to make a decision as he would rarely visit the site and in the event his involvement relates to costs there is a catch 22 situation wheras he may feel a surveyors fee is high but will then charge a disproportiante fee himself. As noted above there is no governing body relating to party wall work so surveyors can basically charge what they like.
Why is this idea important?
I feel the Party Wall Act is only causing unecessary costs on any builing project both directly in respect to surveyors fees and indirectly by delays caused on building projects and additional costs by providing unecessary information.
I would suggest there be a new proffesion of a Party Wall surveyor who acts basically as the agreed surveyor on a project. He must act independantly and impartially meaning there is now only a need for one surveyor rather than three which is now becoming more common, even for small projects, the process time can be considerably reduced and disputs can be reduced.