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Party Wall disputes

A question please for anyone knowledgeable in property matters.

I live in a semi detatched property & my next door neighbour has put in planning permission for a 2 storey extension on the other side of her property (ie the detached side not adjoining our property).

Additionally, she is having what I would describe as a full loft conversion, with 2 velux windows at the front & a dormer ? at the back (the type that juts out from the roof). I assume this would involve putting at least one steel RSJ into the Party (adjoining) wall.

I have received a letter from 2 seperate surveyors, advising me of the Party Wall Act and that I can appoint them to check my property before & after work to ensure that there is no damage to my property.

However, in the T&CS of their letters, it says that although my neighbour should pay the costs, if she doesn't then I'm liable. (My interpretation).

Does anyone have any experience of this/guidance please.

My concerns are :-

1. If I appoint a surveyor & she doesn't pay then I would have to.

2. If I appoint a surveyor, should I choose a local one as opposed to the 2 notices I received from surveyors in Harrow & Canary Wharf.

3. Am I worrying unneccessarily, as the chances of this causing damage to my property is next to nothing. However, my roof is quite old, it may last another 10-20 years but could it cause problems to the roof or any other part of my house ?
What is the likelihood of any damage to my property?

4. It may cause bad feeling if I ask her to pay the costs of appointing a surveyor, when there's no real need.

I know everyone likes a laugh, but I'd be obliged for serious comments, if anyone is in an informed position to offer their opinion.

Many thanks in advance.


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    It's your home buddy , how well do you get on with the neighbour, be upfront show her the letters and explain your anxiety,

    At the end of the day you wtont be able to prove damage if you don't get it done
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    Get a solicitor NOW ! - My neighbours did a bodge job knocking out a shared chimney, they didnt even put a steel in place so it was just left hanging...! Building control were not remotely interested. It hasn't fallen down or anthing and we've subsequently sold the house, but it was a very poor show from Greenwich council, they basically said that they had no pwers to prosecute (or interest) - My neighbours didn't even have a party wall agreement with us, they just started on the work.

    Good luck and go detached next time :-)
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    edited March 2012
    Your neighbour will have to have your consent to put steels into the shared walls hence the agreement.
    As she will have to a structure engineer to work out loadings and building control will be involved throughout the construction I wouldn't worry too much.
    I'd have a bit of a chat to her and her builders just to get a feel of how things are going in the first instance.
    Then if your not happy or you think there maybe some concerns you then take it further.
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    The only help I can give you is that yes RSJ's will be used but doesn't necessarily have to tie into a party wall, a property I worked on recently had two steels running front to back of property, then off of these a vertical one, in the middle with a horizontal one bolted across the two, it was built like this I believe due to a dispute about putting it into the party wall with the other home owner.
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    Thanks for comments so far.
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    If your neighbour is doing any work to your Party Wall (or i think within a certain distance from it - 1 meter??), they have to agree a Party Wall Agreement with you AT THEIR COST. Their architect / structural Surveyor should do this.

    If it were me i would ask to speak to their architect and then ask him if he should be agreeing a party wall agreement with you. See what he says. If you dont like what you hear or he gives you a load of flannel, take it further. Building Control at the Council should be monitoring the job - call them and chat it through. If they know nothing about it I would be concerned. you can always ask them to come round and have a look.
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    I'm a Chartered Surveyor and undertake a lot of Party Wall surveys/agree awards.

    Your neighbour will likely be raising or cutting into (steels or lead flashing) to form their new conversion which fall into the realms of the party wall act. They as the Building owner should appoint a surveyor to act upon their behalf who should serve a Party Structure notice on you (adjoining owner). You have 14 days to consent to the works and their surveyor will undertake a condition survey of your property. If any damage is caused to your property from the works then your neighbour has to rectify or pay you damages


    You can dissent to the works (under the act and not the building works). You can either appoint a surveyor to act for you or appoint thgeir surveyor. Either way, as a dispute has arisen the surveyor's will undertake a joint inspection of your property with the building owners surveyor producing a schedule of condition and then a Party Wall award. If any damage occurs the Building Owner will be liable. The award lists particulars such as surveyors names, an agreed 3rd surveyor (to act if the two surveyors cannot agree), working hours and practices, futur inspection dates to chack for damages etc.

    All costs are at the BO's expense unless the works are of the adjoining owners benefit. Such as, your neighbour raises the party wall to form their conversion and in two years time you convert your loft and use the wall. Then you would have to pay the neighbour your proportion for using the wall.

    or if you have a good relationship with your neighbour then ask to look at the drawings, she how they may affect your proposals and undertake a joint condition survey with your neighbour, take lots of photo's and both sign the consition. Although I have never experienced this I believe that it is allowed under the act.

    Speak to your neighbour first and see how this can be resolved as party wall surveyors fees are likely to cost your neighbour 1.5-2k.

    Hope this helped.
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    Thank you very much.
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    Can we start making puns yet?
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    as long as they aren't o'fence'ive, oh sorry wrong thread... its nothing to wall about.

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    Okay then, presumably you'll soon change your name to Uncovered End to match your house?
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