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Party Wall Legislation and Procedure, 7th edition

Party Wall Legislation and Procedure, 7th edition

The new guidance note provides guidance for RICS members who accept instructions for which the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 (the Act) may be relevant. It also describes the circumstances in which the Act will apply, as well as the procedures to be followed where it does.

A surveyor as defined by the Act is any person not being party to the matter who is appointed or selected under section 10 to determine disputes in accordance with the procedures set out in the Act. The role of surveyors when acting for a client in the early stages of these procedures is addressed in this guidance note, as is the duty of surveyors who are formally appointed to administer the Act's dispute resolution mechanism.

It assumes that those accepting such appointments possess the necessary knowledge and professional competence to do so.

RICS requires that members carry out their professional work with due skill, care and diligence and with proper regard for the technical standards expected of them. The role of a party wall surveyor is a statutory appointment that is personal to the surveyor and independent of instructions from an appointing party. A member must comply with RICS Rules of Conduct and have regard to this guidance insofar as they do not conflict with the provisions of the Act.

The new 7th edition contains an in-depth and important section on professional conduct. While a party wall surveyor is minimally required to act only in accordance with their statutory obligations, an RICS member is expected to meet RICS expectations of professional and ethical behaviour commensurate with their membership, alongside their duty to conform to the Act. RICS considers these two considerations (strict adherence to the Act and ethical conduct) to be complementary, not mutually exclusive, professional obligations. Members should note that compliance with the wording of the Act may not itself be sufficient to achieve compliance with the standards expected of an RICS member. Members have professional duties over and above the strict wording of the Act. The quasi-judicial function of the party wall surveyor does not bestow judicial immunity upon a surveyor: RICS members appearing before an RICS disciplinary panel will not be protected against allegations that they have acted incompetently or in bad faith.

Topics covered in this guidance note include:

  • Professional conduct
  • Nature and purpose of the Act
  • Advising on the application of the Act
  • Service of notices and responses
  • Accepting appointments under the Act
  • Powers and duties of the appointed surveyor
  • Surveyor's role in preparing the primary award
  • Surveyor's role subsequent to service of the primary award
  • Role of the third surveyor and
  • Challenging the award and appeals to the county court.

The appendices of this guidance note contain various draft letters and draft notices and a revised and updated suggested draft award.

This guidance note replaces Party wall legislation and procedure (6th edition), RICS guidance note.