Party Wall Surveyor Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB

What is a Party Wall Dispute and how is it settled?

A party wall dispute arises or is deemed to have arisen in given circumstances as described within the act:

Described as arises

1 New building on line of junction.

1 (8)   Where any dispute arises under this section between the building owner and any adjoining owner or occupier it is to be determined in accordance with section 10.

Described as deemed to have arisen or in the event of a dispute arising

5  Disputes arising under sections 3 and 4.

If an owner on whom a party structure notice or a counter notice has been served does not serve a notice indicating his consent to it within the period of fourteen days beginning with the day on which the party structure notice or counter notice was served, he shall be deemed to have dissented from the notice and a dispute shall be deemed to have arisen between the parties.

6 Adjacent excavation and construction.

6 (7)  If an owner on whom a notice referred to in subsection (5) has been served does not serve a notice indicating his consent to it within the period of fourteen days beginning with the day on which the notice referred to in subsection (5) was served, he shall be deemed to have dissented from the notice and a dispute shall be deemed to have arisen between the parties.

In places the act gives effect that a dispute may arise but does not describe its cause

7 Compensation etc.

(5)  (b)be executed in accordance with such plans, sections and particulars as may be agreed between the owners or in the event of dispute determined in accordance with section 10;

In all cases above notices must have been served to get to the position of a dispute – therefore, it is argued by some, unless notices are served no dispute may arise and injunctions must be sought.  Alternatively it is argued, by others, that if notices are not served disputes still arise under the act.

Section 10 then lays down the method of resolving disputes under the act:

10  Resolution of disputes.

(1)Where a dispute arises or is deemed to have arisen between a building owner and an adjoining owner in respect of any matter connected with any work to which this Act relates either—

(a)both parties shall concur in the appointment of one surveyor (in this section referred to as an “agreed surveyor”); or

(b)each party shall appoint a surveyor and the two surveyors so appointed shall forthwith select a third surveyor (all of whom are in this section referred to as “the three surveyors”).

(10)The agreed surveyor or as the case may be the three surveyors or any two of them shall settle by award any matter

(a)which is connected with any work to which this Act relates, and

(b)which is in dispute between the building owner and the adjoining owner.

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