Schedule of Condition for Party Wall

When it comes to construction party wall projects involving neighboring properties, party walls play a
significant role. To make sure everyone is treated fairly and disputes are minimized without a considerable financial burden, it’s crucial to have a clear and detailed party wall schedule of condition. In this article, we’ll explain why this is so important for party walls and party wall process and how it can protect you and your property.

What is a Schedule of Condition?
A schedule of condition is a detailed record that describes the current condition of a commercial property or properties next to where construction is planned. It’s like a snapshot that captures how things
look before any work starts. This record is important for future reference and comparison in the
event of damage disputes.

When is a Schedule of Conditions Needed?
A schedule of condition is usually required when construction work could potentially affect the
structure of neighboring properties. By identifying any risks upfront, it helps protect the rights of
both the people doing the construction, both the Building Owner and the people living next door
(Adjoining Owner).

What Does a Schedule of Conditions Include?
A detailed schedule of condition includes written descriptions, photographs, and sometimes
videos. It provides a comprehensive view of the property’s current condition, allowing a
thorough assessment of any changes that might occur during or after the construction work. For
example of schedule of conditions, it can measure the size of cracks to help identify any new damage and understand the existing condition better.

The Role of a Party Wall Surveyor:
A Party Wall Surveyor, often a qualified surveyor from the RICS, is responsible for creating the
schedule of conditions. They have to be fair and unbiased. They arrange access to the
neighboring properties through the Adjoining Owner and conduct a detailed inspection. By
documenting any existing damage carefully, they make sure the condition report is
complete and accurate for party wall notices.

Benefits of Having a Schedule of Condition:
There are several advantages to having schedule of conditions. Firstly, it protects Building
Owner from false claims of damage, providing evidence to disprove any unfounded
accusations. Secondly, it protects the adjoining owner’s residential property as it serves as important
documentation for insurance purposes, making it easier to make claims if needed. Lastly, a
schedule of condition acts as a starting point for comparison in case of future disputes, helping
determine who is responsible for any new damage.

Case Study:

To understand how this process works in practice, let’s consider a dispute involving a
loft conversion. Under a party wall agreement produced by an Agreed Surveyor, a contractor
unintentionally caused damage to the neighbours property. Fortunately, because there was a
schedule of condition, the damage was quickly identified when the construction was completed.
By referring back to the initial report, the surveyor could determine if the damage was due to the
notifiable work and need for internal repair for legal or contractual reasons. This helped resolve the issue promptly and prevent further arguments. It ensures fairness, protects the rights of all parties involved, and reduces the likelihood of disputes and tenant’s repairing obligations. As a Chartered Surveyor, using a detailed schedule of condition party wall act strengthens your position, safeguards the Building Owners and Adjoining owners, and contributes to the success of construction party wall projects and obtain a party wall award.

Find out more and book a Schedule of Condition for your party wall project today! We are happy to help at The Party Wall Guru.

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What are the benefits of having Party Wall Agreed Surveyor? 

When the Building Owner’s agreed party wall surveyor serves Party Wall Notices on behalf of the Building Owners, they are a number of options available to pick from at the luxury of the Adjoining Owners. However, as in the previous blog posts I have covered these options in detail, I won’t detail all of them here but simply put, if the Adjoining Owner’s decide they wish to dissent then they have the option to either appoint their own independent building owner’s surveyor or they can appoint a joint ‘Agreed Surveyor’.  

In most instances if not all, having one party wall act ‘Agreed Surveyor’ is more cost effective and time efficient. There is more control over the process and any disputes are resolved more amicably than having two of your own party structure wall surveyor on board.  

We are often asked the question ‘how can you maintain neutrality as a joint party wall surveyor?’. Well, the answer is that whilst the Act itself does not state your own surveyor must maintain impartiality, it is indicated by the clauses in the Act which state that adjoining owner’s property are prohibited in acting for themselves. This implies a state of impartiality to be maintained by the professional appointed. Secondly, it is advisable to use an RICS Regulated Chartered Surveyor who must abide by the byelaws and code of conducts stipulated by the RICS to provide an honest and transparent party walls surveyor service to their clients.  

A point of distinction in the process where an ‘Agreed Surveyor’ is appointed as compared to having two independent surveyors is that when there are two party wall surveyor appointed, they will both agree to the appointment of a ‘Third Surveyor’. This appointment is a redress mechanism when the two surveyors are unable to resolve a dispute that has occurred. However, when an Agreed Surveyor is appointed, there is no ‘Third Surveyor’ appointed. The only available redress mechanism in this instance will be to appeal the Party Wall Award if the Building Owner or adjoining owner’s surveyor are unhappy with it’s contents. However, rest assured this is a very rare scenario and we at Party Wall Guru have never had an instance whereby any building owner was unhappy with our Party Wall Awards and we are dedicated to continuing this success in the party wall process.  

If you have any questions, our team are very happy to speak with you and assist.  

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