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Taking a short-term loss, for long-term reputation

I recently had a Building Owner contact me to act as their Party Wall Surveyor, they were building a small extension with 1 metre deep foundations, about 2.8 metres from their neighbour. The neighbour’s existing foundations will be about 0.7 metres deep.

Adding to the background of the story, I’m told the work is under a Disability Access Grant, to create a new level-access shower & WC (for wheelchair use). The work is therefore urgent and essential and grant budgets extremely tight.

Well, they were setting-up to start works, when the neighbour grabbed their attention and said “you can’t start yet, I am entitled to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor”.

[General Stock Photo - no the actual site relating to this blog post]

- Ok, the Adjoining Owner is not wrong, Notice should have been served [Section 6 of the Party Wall etc Act 1996]. But at the same time, one still has to question the ‘reasonableness’ of the costs that are going to follow, and what the process would actually achieve for the Adjoining Owner.


This is where I could offer some free guidance & time, chatting through with the Building Owner to make sure that they are going down the most effective route.

We came up with some possibilities. One was : how much would it be for a structural engineer to design for a 'raft foundation', it would be shallower than 0.7 metres, and so taking it outside the scope of Notices, and most importantly no-longer a perceived risk to the Adjoining Owner. A win for both sides.

Upside :

Chances are, this is going to be a cheaper solution than appointing a Party Wall Surveyor, lower risk for everyone and will avoid any delays sitting-out Notice periods. Site work can get going as hoped this week.

Downside :

I’ve spent a bit of my time, shared some guidance, and if they accept my steer I won’t earn a fee on this one.

But that’s not really a downside, is it? Not when I have the pride in being the honest Party Wall Surveyor that they trusted to contact.

I’m sure there are a few of us out there, building the good reputation of the ‘industry’, but it seems to be an up-hill struggle for sure.


We shall wear our halo with pride for a while longer.


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