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Party Wall Surveyor Practicing throughout London
Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB

Bruce's Party Wall Cyclopedia

building owner has extensive rights under the party wall act including rights to entry but to exercise these rights  they must serve notices, which are time limited, upon any affected adjoining owner at a set date prior to the intended works.  The adjoining owner then has reciprocal rights and must consider their options.  When a dispute arises both owners, utilising due diligence, must either appoint an agreed surveyor or appoint one Party Wall Surveyor each and in that case the first duty of the two surveyors is to select a third surveyor and if they can’t agree the Party Wall Act allows the Local Authority officer to make that appointment.

The first question a Building Owner or Adjoining owner confronts is what is a Party Wall Surveyor and how to find and appoint one; Party Wall Surveyors should be correctly qualified, understand, interpret and advise on law and must reflect on their practice which provides a further selection factor by viewing their blog or posts.  Some Party Wall  organisations consider any one can be a party wall surveyor and argue that a wall can be raised downwards or that the act can legalise trespass etc but Bruce offers satirical advice against such stances and why you should avoid inadequate Party Wall Surveyors.  The surveyors should be expert in dispute resolution, risk analysis and the psychology of disputes.

An owner who appoints an inadequate party wall surveyor will cause the dispute to escalate, for example if a surveyor requires a checking engineer  or makes requests etc. with inadequate qualification or quantification.  Section 10 (6) and (7) of the act allows for dealing with and the removal of ineffective Party Wall Surveyor or surveyors who refuse to act effectively.   A bad Party Wall Surveyor can be spotted by analysing their behaviour

Once validly appointed the agreed Surveyor or the two surveyors must visit site and determine what is a Party Wall and is it a Type B Party Wall, a Type A, a Party Structure, a Party Fence Wall or not a Party Wall at all?  They then consider the impact of the Building Owner’s works on the Adjoining Owner and their property and take a schedule of conditions. They should then agree an award which allows the Building Owner to expeditiously proceed with their lawful works whilst fully recognising and protecting the interests of the Adjoining Owner.

The Party Wall Award settles the dispute and may include the fee of the surveyors and therefore allows the surveyors to recover fees and of course for owners to contest greedy Party Wall Surveyors who claim unreasonable fees.  The adjoining owner may request security for expenses which can take many forms but notably by escrow and bond and payment for works done 

If a Building Owner does not serve  notices a prohibitory injunction should be sought.

The Party Wall Act is a statute; it was initially read pedantically and by reference to other statutes and old case law.  However modern case law is more and more  veering towards common sense interpretation and its spirit.  The act does not interfere with easements or rights of light but legal principles, statutes, regulations, doctrines and law do apply ie estoppelnegligenceConsumer ProtectionMisrepresentation, frustration but importantly Road Runner (case law) stated that the act suspends common law.  The act has a long history, as can be better understood by viewing its chronology and the first Party Wall Surveyors can be traced back a millennium. Bruce has produced a guide for owners, surveyors and aspirant Party Wall Surveyors.  There is currently one amendment to the act which allows for electronic communications and there is recent case law which expands considerably the methods available to serve notices etc.

There is a need for a new learned institute for Party Wall Surveyors which could be provided by the Institute of Architecture and Surveying of the Chartered Institute of Building

07927123469

bruce@partywallsurveyor.london

Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB, Party Wall Surveyor | Building Surveyor | Third Surveyor London, 

12 Forburg Road, Stoke Newington, London N16 6HS

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Rosie Wedderburn
Rosie Wedderburn
20:54 19 Jan 20
Bruce was exceptionally quick to respond to survey request and the survey was conducted speedily and extremely... thoroughly. Bruce organised access to the property via the estate agents (so I didn't have to send lots of chaser emails to either party). Definitely recommend.read more
Mark Lazarus
Mark Lazarus
12:17 16 Jan 20
Detailed survey, organised efficiently. Very pleasant to talk to. Would recommend!
Kimmy's Hands
Kimmy's Hands
19:55 13 Jan 20
Prompt & professional service. Bruce went above and beyond what I had hoped for. I would recommend 100%
Rod Jones
Rod Jones
21:26 18 Dec 19
In August 2019 Bruce Spenser carried out a survey for me on a Victorian flat conversion, to a very high standard,... saving me from a potential bad purchase. He is highly professional and his vast experience is clear. Highly recommended. Subsequently I used Bruce to survey an alternative property in Dec 2019. Again his expertise did not disappoint and this time will result in a successful purchase subject to negotiations etc. Highly recommended.read more
Felipe Castrillon
Felipe Castrillon
12:32 28 Nov 19
Helpful advice answer my questions out of hours and responded very promptly
Samuel Myer
Samuel Myer
10:21 02 Oct 19
Bruce was recommended to me via my brother after he provided excellent party wall service when he had a dispute with... his neighbour and the council. Very happy with the service he provided. He is a fair and just person operating in what can be a very confusing and ultimately exploitative part of the law.read more
Tom Neff
Tom Neff
17:09 20 Sep 19
I’ve met a few true craftsmen in my time, and I can say with confidence that Bruce is one of them. In less than week... of calling him to see if he was available, he had performed a comprehensive survey of a property with a tight time constraint I had put an offer on, sent me a full report, then called me to discuss his findings. Thorough, professional, timely. I can’t recommend him enough. I will be using his services again in the future.read more
Carlo Giovine
Carlo Giovine
09:10 18 Apr 19
Bruce's home survey was excellent, thorough and prompt. Albeit he is roughly 50% more expensive than other surveyors,... his review has been tremendously valuable to us and helped us to potentially save tens of thousands of pounds of works that we would incurred into after home purchase. He discussed his survey in details, provided advice on the overall negotiation process and offered to further review additional documents to ensure our purchase is sound. We feel Bruce has been our partner in this process as opposed to a transactional advisor, simply completing his assignment.read more
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