Surveyor is defined in the Act as any person who is not a party to the works. Basically the individual must be independent but it does not have to be a qualified surveyor. Ideally the person should have a good knowledge of construction and of administering Party Wall matters.
The Party Wall Surveyors or a sole "Agreed Surveyor", if both owners agree on a single appointment, will prepare an 'award' or a Party Wall Award. The Award sets out guidelines in relation to the proposed works and covers items such as working hours, rights of access etc.
The process is initiated with the service of a Party Wall Notice. Template notices are available online however, if any part of the information is incorrect, or the notice is not properly served, it may be invalid.
The main task that the Party Wall Surveyor performs is the preparation of a Schedule Of Condition of the adjoining property. It is very important that an accurate schedule is prepared in order that any damages can be properly attributed and made good. This document is prepared by the Building Owner's surveyor and approved by the Adjoining Owner's surveyor and will normally include a number of photographs.
Once a surveyor is appointed under the Act, be it an "agreed surveyor" or one appointed by either owner, it is a statutory appointment and as such the Party Wall Surveyor has a duty to act in an entirely impartial manner. This point can cause a lot of frustration for owners as they understandably believe that their surveyor should fight their side of the argument. Under the Act once a Party Wall Surveyor has been appointed they cannot be changed.
Normally the Building Owner will pay all the costs associated with drawing up the Party Wall Award provided the works are solely for his benefit. Fees may vary widely from job to job and surveyor to surveyor and may be different depending where you are in the UK. The adjoining owner's surveyor's fees are agreed by the owner's surveyor and entered into the award before publication.