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Last minute objection from neighbour's surveyor

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Hi everybody,


I'm in a tricky party wall dispute and could use some advice.


In the course of our loft conversion last year, my neighbour (the adjoining owner) agreed to me (the building owner) getting the shared chimney stack capped with mortar flaunching. Now, his party wall surveyor claims it's inadequate and insists on replacing the mortar with coping stones. I feel this is unreasonable given the initial agreement and the long (six-month) gap before any objections were raised.  


Here are some more details:


1. The neighbour agreed via SMS to the flaunching after I sent him a diagram of the proposed mortar flaunching. I have a record of this.

2. The neighbour was well aware of the work, even going up onto the roof to inspect the flaunching after it had been completed.

3. The neighbour's surveyor raised his complaint the day before the scaffold was due to come down, six months after the work was completed.

4. The neighbour's surveyor plans to charge us for his time in relation to this issue (at £250 per hour...).

5. I've consulted a number of roofing companies. Most say the flaunching is fully adequate.


I'm unsure how to navigate this situation.  Can I refuse to replace the mortar? Can I refuse to pay the neighbour's surveyor for the 'extra' time relating to this (given the neighbour himself agreed to the work)?


Thanks in advance for any advice.

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If the original (agreed) scope of works specifically says mortar flaunching then the neighbour doesn’t have an valid argument.

you have no obligation to cover his surveyor fees or modification of the stack, but how will a stand off affect your short or long term peace of mind and awkwardness around the neighbour. How about meeting with the surveyor and your builder to see what the objection is really about

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Sounds like if it had been raised earlier you probably would have coped it, at relative minimum cost at that time all things considered.  Now they are asking for something which is only a problem due to their delay in raising the issue which seems entirely unreasonable and unjustified.  Ask them why they have raised it so late.


is the scaffolding down / is that costing you / how much would it cost to cope it.  If you can cope it just now at minimum cost I’d just get it done and take the hit biting my bottom lip for the greater good eg not falling out with neighbours (assuming they are decent)/ legal issues etc.  But if what they’re asking is going to cost you a lot of money AND your neighbour is a dick I’d say yep we can change the agreed spec but at a shared cost.

it may be that your neighbour agreed the work with you  in good faith but that it his surveyor who’s insisting it’s inadequate.  In which case he’d surely have to provide evidence eg building regs or whatever that flaunching is unsafe or whatever.  








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12 minutes ago, Bozza said:

But if what they’re asking is going to cost you a lot of money AND your neighbour is a dick I’d say yep we can change the agreed spec but at a shared cost.

I disagree, I would tell them it’s THEIR cost.

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Having read @TonyT s helpful attachment I’ve looked around and cannot see anything else on tinternet that suggests hunching is adequate to cap a disused chimney, and there’s some that says specifically mortar flaunching is insufficient.  I think you’d be in a stronger position if you had something in writing / published to say what you’ve done is totally acceptable and recognised by industry etc.  


so it may be the case you’ve acted in good faith, as has you’re neighbour by approving it, but someone knowledgeable (surveyor) says, understandably nope not acceptable.  So ultimately I would assume that you both have joint legal liability for the chimney stack and frustratingly you’ll may have to cope it, and share the cost assuming you both have equal liability.   

I’m wondering how the decision was made to flaunch it rather than cope it was made in light that certainly I can’t find any guidance to say that the former is correct technique.    Did your roofer / builder advise you (wrongly it appears) in which case their issue to resolve?


Yes bloody annoying for them to raise it so late, but it appears to have been raised correctly.  So rolling back the start point for responsibility would be that question as to who advised you flaunching would be acceptable.   

Just my own observation.  




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What did the Party Wall Award say?  As the Building Owner I am afraid you will rarely have it easy.


I think you may need to take this one on the chin.  Perhaps politely ask the other sides surveyor if they would consider a reduction in their additional fee on the basis that the request was rather late in the day. 

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Thanks to everybody for the replies, your help is very much appreciated.


To answer a few questions:


- The party wall award didn't cover the shared chimney.  It became an issue because the neighbour complained about our builders' proposed approach to dealing with a step-down between the two flat roofs (our property is slightly higher than the neighbour's).  In the end the surveyors recommended raising the parapet wall between the two properties, which made it necessary to raise the height of the chimney stack (and we decided to cap it off in the process).

- The scaffolding was taken down, so new work to the roof now comes with an access issue.


I've attached a couple of photos.  The original mortar cracked in the hot weather last year and was subsequently filled in. 


It's helpful to see examples of good practice, thanks for sharing the link above TonyT.  Nobody (builder, neighbour or surveyors) has shared any reference material so it's hard to figure out what good practice looks like.  We want to do it right, even if it costs extra, but hard to work out what 'right' looks like.


I think we probably need to do the coping.  Hard to find a roofer or bricklayer interested in the job, but that's a whole other story...


Thanks again!



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