Professional Advice - Drew Pearce Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors
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Party Wall Surveyors
The Party Wall Etc Act 1996 has been in force since 1997. The Act gives certain rights to property owners, over their neighbours’ property, subject to them giving adequate notice of the intended works. If there is a disagreement in respect of the works, a dispute arises which must be settled by the party wall surveyors appointed by each of the owners.
This is the operation of the Act in basic form, but there are many complications. The Act does not only apply to party walls, but can apply to;
- the external wall of your neighbours’ property even if it is not a party wall
- new construction on the line of boundary between two properties
- excavation near a structure on your neighbours’ land.
We are experienced in dealing with party wall matters, and are members of the Pyramus & Thisbe Club, the body for party wall surveyors. We can act for you in preparing and serving notices and agreeing an Award as the Building Owner, or receiving notice and negotiating the Award for you as the Adjoining Owner.
If you wish to undertake work which you believe falls under the Act, or your neighbour is undertaking work which you believe falls under the Act, then please contact us for some free initial guidance.
These are more correctly referred to as Insurance Reinstatement Valuations. The valuation figure is the sum you are required to declare on your insurance proposal form as the cost of rebuilding your property in its present form, should it be destroyed by fire or some other calamity.
If the figure is too high you are over insuring and wasting your money. If the figure is too low consequences are more dire in that the process of “average” may be applied to any claim you make significantly reducing the amount the insurance company may pay you. It is therefore important that the figure is properly calculated and you have the peace of mind of relying on professional advice.
Whilst the calculation of insurance reinstatement values can be relatively straightforward for individual residential properties, larger estates or more unusual properties, including commercial properties, require individual consideration.
Most insurance claims for damage to buildings are these days dealt with by the insurance company. They arrange for loss adjusters to act on their behalf in administering the claim and arranging for works by their preferred contractors. This does not necessarily mean they will be acting in the best interest of the insured and you may wish to seek independent advice from a building surveyor. Unfortunately, the cost of such advice will not usually be met by the insurance company.
In some more specialised cases, such as where the insurance policy is issued by NHBC, Zurich or similar body on new build properties, you may need the guidance and support of an independent professional building surveyor to pursue the claim on your behalf. It is important that your adviser should be experienced in these matters in order to have the highest possibility of success. Unfortunately, again it is unlikely that the insurance company will meet these fees.