Friendly and approachable party wall surveyors helping you prevent or settle disputes concerning walls and structures you share with your neighbours.

Aiming to protect both you and the adjoining property owner, a competent party wall survey and agreement can be expeditiously delivered to keep your building work on track

Before commencing work on your party wall, a party wall agreement, drawn up by one of our party wall assessors, is necessary to be compliant with The Party Wall etc Act 1996 and ensure good relations with your neighbours.

The party wall award or agreement will normally consist of three elements:

  • The terms under which the work to the wall will progress
  • An assessment of the condition of the adjoining property, usually with photographs
  • Drawing(s) showing the details of the proposed works

Although it may seem an expense at the time, and your neighbour gains a greater benefit than you, you are legally required to have a party wall agreement if you intend to do anything other than minor works on a party wall you share. That said, you are protecting yourself from spurious claims for damage at the same time.
The award will be agreed between parties and subject to the 14 day right of appeal if the adjoining property owner considers the award not to have been completed properly, a copy of the agreement will be passed to the building contractor.

Benefits

  • Transparency of fees – Simple budgeting with upfront survey fee
  • Professionally qualified independent surveyors – Regulated through RICS & CABE to provide you with protection, guarantee of service (as far as possible) and peace of mind
  • Fast response of service – Preventing delays which cost money, we will work to your timetable
Access to neighbouring land

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act gives a landowner the right to carry out maintenance to his property from a neighbour’s land. Advice can be given on how to obtain access if a neighbour is being difficult.

Rights of light

Some proposed developments could affect the light available into a neighbouring property. It is often difficult to prevent a development going ahead, but in some cases a payment might be made by the Developer to the neighbour for the loss of light. We can advise on the loss of light and negotiate the appropriate payment for this loss.

Rights of way

Many properties have rights of way leading to them or across their gardens. These should be detailed within the deeds, but where there is uncertainty, we can advise on this again with reference to the deeds, ordnance survey maps and site inspection.

Boundaries

When owning a property, it is important to know the location of the boundaries and who is responsible for these. The deeds of the property will normally provide these details, but on occasions the actual boundary positions may have been altered following the construction of an extension or other building and in some instances the boundary fences themselves can have been relocated. From time to time neighbours disagree about the position of a boundary and we can help to agree the boundary position based on the property deeds, ordnance survey maps and site measurements.

Appointment of surveyors

The appointment of a party wall surveyor is very important as, once appointed, the surveyor cannot be replaced other than in very specific circumstances. We at Gemstone Building Surveyors are Chartered Surveyors and work to the professional standards of the RICS, the CABE and the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (FPWS).

If you would like to discuss the possibility of Gemstone Building Surveyors acting for you in a party wall matter please write to us at the address below or call us on 01485 545778 and ask for Edward Phillips, alternatively you can email him at edward@gemstonebs.co.uk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Party walls are the walls of your property that you share with your neighbours. Such walls are covered by the Party Wall Act 1996 and owners of property need to know their rights and responsibilities especially if they are making alterations to their property.

Where there are different sized adjacent buildings, the part that is used by both properties alone is considered to be a party wall. The rest belongs to the person on whose land it stands.

The Party Wall etc Act 1996
The purpose of The Party Wall etc Act 1996 is to minimise disputes between property owners by ensuring that they use a Certified Surveyor to determine how and when work is carried out.

The Act gives homeowners rights to do work to a Party Wall or any excavating and building close to a boundary line. The main obligations are to tell the neighbour that the work is to be done and to repair any damage that might be caused by the work.

An ‘agreed surveyor’ can act for both property owners and, indeed, this is common for smaller works. Should any problems arise then he/she will determine the remedy.

Under the Act the person carrying out the work is known as the Building Owner and the neighbour is known as the Adjoining Owner.

Party Wall Agreements are needed for the following types of work:
  • Cutting into a wall for bearing of a beam, for example for a loft conversion or through lounge
  • Inserting a damp proof course deep into a wall
  • Demolishing and rebuilding a party wall
  • Underpinning the whole or part of a wall
  • Cutting a flashing into an adjoining building
  • Building a new wall on the line of junction between two properties
  • Excavating foundations within three metres of an adjoining structure and lower than its foundations
  • Excavating foundations within six metres of an adjoining structure and below a 45° line drawn from the bottom of the foundations

Meet our Experts

Edward Phillips

Company Director

Edward is a Chartered Building Engineer, the founding member and director of Gemstone Building Surveyors Ltd.

Edward has had a colourful working career ranging from the Royal Marines, steel fixer, property developer finally settling in building surveying/building control.

After working for 20 years in Local Authority and for Approved Inspectors in 2006 Edward setup Gemstone Building Surveyors Ltd. Since that date the company has and continues to develop and expand.

Originally from Pembrokeshire West Wales Edward has set up home in Dersingham, Norfolk for the past 20 years. In what spare time Edward does have he enjoys the company of friends, family and a good social life along with walking with this to labra-doodles, the gym and jive dancing.