Northern Home Counties Forum Meeting – 27th April 2017

Vicky Dewey-Bruce of PWS Surveyors Ltd has arranged the next Berkshire forum meeting on Thursday the 27th of April 2017 at the Pinkneys Green Cricket Club, Pinkneys Drive, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 5DS.

Please arrive 6.30 p.m. for a 7.00 p.m. start finishing by 8.30 p.m.

Stuart Frame, Barrister, is leading a discussion on “common erroneous clauses in awards and interpretation”.

If you wish to take part in this forthcoming event you will be provided with a simply questionnaire in advance, which you should complete and return to Vicky by emailing in order that responses can be evaluated and categorised to support common goals and understanding and application of the Act.

The cost to attend is £15 for members and £22.50 for non-members. Please fill in your booking form, which you can book via our website or by ringing the Faculty office on 01424 883300 to make a card payment.

A valuable CPD Certificate will be issued to anyone who has paid in advance and attends.

We look forward to hearing from you and please hurry so that we are aware of numbers for catering purposes.

Should you have any queries or would like specific clauses discussed please send these to Vicky Dewey-Bruce via our contact page.

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Practice Makes Perfect… Sense!!

When acting as a Party Wall Surveyor I often find that surveyors focus on their own opinions over the practical solution to disputes.  At PWS Surveyors, we always aim be to reasonable and flexible in our approach to matters, provided that the end result is support within the Act.

It is interesting to read through the recent Judgement in case of SAI Ventures Limited vs Compar Properties Limited on the 19th of August 2016, whereby the decisions of the surveyors protracted the process and incurred costs that could have been avoided.

In practical terms, it is always worth considering the overall effect of your actions and the material or immaterial consequence of them.  I believe that if surveyors act reasonably, there is little chance of ending up in Court and or matters not being resolved reasonably.

In this case the question was over the necessity of issuing new notices for a revised scheme when the original notices served resulted in dissents and surveyors being appointed.  To this end, when looking in on the case, it would seem sensible, practical and not particularly difficult to serve the new notices required.  Notices are what invoke the act and it is reasonable to suggest that a revised scheme may result in a different response from the adjoining owners.  This being the case the surveyors would have unnecessarily taken forward an award and incurred costs on the building owner that may not have been reasonable.

That being said, if the surveyors are appointed to receive notices, I would question the real need for new notices to be served for this purpose and would perhaps suggest that this is a simple paperwork exercise that would have no material effect on any of the parties.  That being said, either way, the service of new notices would have been a simplistic way to resolve the dispute between the surveyors.

This case does therefore highlight the importance of serving notices correctly, whether these are primary or secondary. Without a valid notice for the works in question there can be no award to resolve that dispute.

Judge Bailey, makes a point in this case that should determine the way in which practicing surveyors review notices, particularly those required subsequent to initial works or notices being served.  I believe that there could have been different outcome to this if the surveyors had been acting practically to resolve the dispute rather than focusing on their personal differences which have resulted in a further dispute that was totally unnecessary.

So to conclude, where there is doubt, or reasonable request, as a practicing surveyor, one should always ensure that they are acting in the best interest of the parties, despite personal opinions and when unsure, refer to and rigidly apply the Act itself.  When it comes to Notices, and the application of the Act thereafter, there is little doubt that notices, correctly relating to the works intended are the only way in which to invoke the Act. Thereby, if your notice does not over the issue you are resolving within an award, serve a new notice that does.

At PWS Surveyors we are happy to advise on the application of notices as we firmly believe that whilst many building owners and adjoining owners only want to ensure the legislation is followed, by being practical and helpful, we can strive to better understanding and application of the Act.

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We are holding our next forum meeting on Thursday the 1st of September 2016 at the Pinkneys Green Cricket Club, Pinkneys Drive, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 5DS.

Please arrive 6.30 p.m. for a 7.00 p.m. start finishing by 9.00 p.m.

The guest speaker is Stuart Frame, Barrister, who shall be talking about the recent case of Mills v Savage; Mills v Sell, heard before HH Judge Bailey at Central London County Court and also taking any questions – please could these be fielded in advance and forward these by email to

The cost to attend is £15 for members and £22.50 for non-members and you can book this event via our website  or by sending your application directly to Vicky Dewey- Bruce. You can also ring the Faculty office on 01424 883300 to make a card payment.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience so that we are aware of numbers for catering purposes. There will be light refreshments and snacks provided.

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In order to extend the season of good will Party Wall Services are offering to wavier the cost of service of notice, provided there is a dissent or 10% (which ever is the greater)off our quoted fee (which ever is the greater) for any appointments taken in January 2016… What a great way to get you exciting new build underway!!  Contact us today on 08003112077.

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PWS Annual Summer Party and Fundraiser!!

On 12th June PWS held their first annual summer party and fundraiser. It was great to see so many familiar faces and some new ones too. In our busy schedules it is all too easy to get into a mundane routine and forget to make the most of each other and so the time spend in organising and pulling off this event was well worth it. Fun was had by all, young and (slightly) older alike and it was great to be able to be at the centre of a successful event.
The success of the event has been measured by many factors but most essentially to us here was to show our appreciation to those who have supported us and ‘give something back’. The surf simulator was a great way of encouraging some competition, although it has to be said, the laser pigeon shooting was, excuse the pun here, a real hit!!
We were also able to raise over £600 to the Nepal Earthquake Appeal and as we have family in Nepal we are hoping for some updates to how this money has helped in the very near future.
Thank you again to all those who came and enjoyed the evening… we shall be hoping to run a similar event next year too!

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Party Wall Guidance – An update

As a homeowner it can be daunting when you are faced with the prospect of having to serve Party Wall Notices, especially if you were not previously aware that notices were required and are now facing delays in getting a project started or loosing your chosen contractor.

Whilst we encourage people to research all elements of the build well in advance we do realise, particularly with Rural projects, some people have never come across the act and the first they hear of it is by the contractor or neighbours right before the works are to commence.  In these situations, we will do all we can to support Building Owners and Adjoining Owners through the process to make the process as swift as possible and to minimise delays, provided that the information required for notices and awards (if required) is made available to us and neighbours are happy to waiver notice periods.

For additional information and support the government also provide a guidance leaflet which has recently been updated.  Please see the link below for some general information.  Should you require any further assistance, clarification or a quotation please do not hesitate to call Party Wall Services free on 0800 311 2077.

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Know Your Limits

All too often Party Wall Surveyors find themselves drawn towards matters that fall outside of the remit if the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and it is often difficult for neighbours to accept that surveyors cannot determine or agree ALL matters that arise. Particularly common issues include Rights of Light and Boundary Disputes as well as other easements.

Whilst it can often be difficult to explain the limits of our duties as Party Wall Surveyors, it is important that we do not enter into negotiations on these matters as it can invalidate the process to which we are party.

Under  Section 9 of The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 it is made clear that any Award or Agreement made shall not be seen to override any existing easements relating to the party wall or any structures within the scope of the Act.  This therefore explicitly confirms that should a Party Wall Surveyor agree any particulars with the regards to any easements the Award itself would be contradictory in terms and therefore would be likely to be overrun.

In practical terms however, provided that there is no ‘Dispute’ over the boundary line, it is helpful for the surveyor/s to agree what is deemed to be the boundary and if any wall thereon are party or solely on the land of either owner.

With regards to Rights of light, it is best to advise any owner to seek proper independent advice of a specialist surveyor.

If an existing easement or covenant affects the proposals in may way, legal advice from a solicitor would be the best approach.

Remaining within ones own remit ensures that the process if focused entirely on the Party Wall Act and also ensures that, whilst neighbours may initially be put out, everyone is aware of the purpose of the Award and there are no areas of doubt or confusion.  On that note it is also important that the correct advise on what steps should be taken with such matters and any concerns raised should be addressed timely so as not to further frustrate the situation. If the neighbours then choose not to instruct or progress matters with further parties, you can rest assured that you have given the best advise possible and clearly demonstrated your role.

It is also worthy of note that if you have historically been appointed to resolve a boundary dispute, right of light or other matter, provided that there are no on-going concerns, you can of course act as the current Party Wall Surveyor.

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