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  • Im really sorry to seem like ive been rude but I did sit and type a long response to your lovely message but somehow didnt send it! I cant remember what it said but the neighbour came round to appologies yesterday and said his architect had cocked up. I think he wanted us to not have the surveyor, (because the archtect was sorting it). We said its already sorted and really I dont trust them as far as I can throw them so glad we have someone who knows the rules. Saves me spending hours on the internet!! Thanks again for your knowledge,and help (and replying at the weekend! ) Im sure your business will do well.
    Hi Lisa,

    First things first, I want you to set down and relax a little bit. You have done nothing wrong and are completely within your rights. You've not been unreasonable in any way and please don't feel upset for sticking to that.

    Stressing or getting upset over this will not help you, your partner or your children. (yes I know its easy for me to say that).

    Next thing;
    As already mentioned you have done nothing wrong and are well within your legal rights.

    Your neighbour, as you say, has not understood the process at all. The reason they send you a letter is to either get your consent under the act (without surveyors) or to allow you to appoint a surveyor. It is rich for them to chastise you for choosing one of those two options (simply because they wanted you to chose the other!)

    More to the point, no one can appoint a surveyor for you, nor tell you which surveyor you should appoint. You are free to choose whoever you want to. Quite apart from the fact that your neighbour is not impartial (and therefore would not be an impartial surveyor) is the fact that he cannot force you to use someone he chooses. Often, when a neighbour (you) chooses a surveyor, the instigator (next door) will choose the same one because it will keep his costs lower. But remember that you are free to choose who you want.

    Your neighbour (and you) need to be aware that appointing a surveyor is not going to stop any development. Make clear to them that you are not against them developing - and the act will not stop him building. But it ensures that the work is done correctly, safely and provides protection for the BOTH of you.

    For example, if there was a crack in your building how would your neighbour know if it was there before he started work , or as a result of his work (and therefore he'd be responsible). The act, and the surveyors help protect him as much as protect you.

    Finally, You should not feel like you HAVE to meet his architect. Your neighbour does not make appointments on your behalf. Yes, you may want to meet with his architect so he can better explain the work, but this should be done at your convenience. At the end of the day, he might come in and try to reasure you that this work is nothing out of the ordinary and try to convince you to proceed without surveyors by saying things like "no one uses surveyors for this type of work" or "I cant remember the last time I had to deal with surveyors". At the end of the day, its a moot point because, as I already mentioned, its your prerogative to appoint one.

    If you are concerned about what your neighbour / architect has in store then you are under no obligation to meet him. Dont feel like you need ot change any plans for him, and if you dont have any plans, they dont be afraid to make them (if its as nice out tomorrow as it was today!). By all means speaking to the architect may help you understand the works more (as your neighbour doesnt seem to know what hes doing) but this doesnt need to change your decision to appoint a party wall surveyor. Indeed, you may want to say to your neighbour that you dont want to meet with the architect until you have had a chance to speak with your surveyor and see if he wants to be there too (under the pretence that your surveyor will know the how the details and construction may affect your interests).

    If you do meet with the architect then you will want to make notes of what he says, or better yet record the conversation (the architect will not like that Im sure) so you can properly inform your surveyor.

    At the end of the day though, your neighbour getting irrate is really not the way to help his cause... If you are doing building work then you need to keep your neighbours on your side and it sounds like they are going out of their way to upset you at every turn! Please, try not to let it get to you, if they are getting angry and shouting at you then that's no reason to not want to protect your interests. Just appoint your surveyor and they should be able to deal with the rest. And don't be forced into any meetings you dont want to have.

    You are well within your normal rights.

    I hope I've been some reassurance.


    PS: You may find that your neighbours architect may not actually be an architect at all. dont worry about that, as you dont need to be an architect to design buildings. What I find is that many clients will wrongly refer to anyone who designs buildings for them as an architect. If the chap is not an architect, and refers to himself as one, then at that point he is breaking the law.

    PPS: Im not an architect, im an architectural designer (www.luisnieves.co.uk). I design buildings, extensions, interiors etc and do much of the work that an architect would do. I've just recently started working self employed providing design services so if you like what you see on my site (and you can see things on facebook too) then feel free to recommend me to anyone you know who wants to carry out work of their own!

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