The Fear of The Party Wall
I believe that there is a lot of fear and misunderstanding of The Party Wall etc Act 1996. This has been deciphered from reading a number of articles widely distributed. This article has been written to hopefully help alleviate some of these.
To understand The Party Wall etc Act 1996, it is important to understand its source. The origin of this Act can be tracked back to the great fire of London of 1666. This was not truly addressed until the introduction of this Act in England and Wales, however the London Building Acts (amendment) Act 1939 did set out a clear route for dispute resolution that had evolved over many years. This was superseded to allow for agreements to be sought between adjoining owners and in the aim to reduce the number of disputes that lead to litigation.
I believe that the greatest concerns are in relation to the fees. In order to ensure that the fee structure is clear and is agreed prior to appointment. In addition the Party Wall Surveyor that you are seeking to appoint should have a proven track record.
If proposed works are carried out that are notifiable under The Act, then firstly have notices been served? If not and you are an adjoining owner and would like to address this issue, then you should contact a Party Wall Surveyor immediately.
If notices have been served and they have been disputed, have all surveyors dependent on the route chosen been appointed/selected? It is imperative that any party who chooses a surveyor feels they are happy for them to perform this statutory role and that again they have a proven track record.