David Moon has been a Chartered Surveyor in London since 1975 and director at Davis Brown since 1998. He is a highly regarded member of the Party Wall Surveying community. He is a former Chairman of the Pyramus & Thisbe Club, has chaired the Subterranean Development Bill Advisory Panel to the House of Lords and has worked all over London from St James’ Palace to The Banqueting House. We interviewed him to find out a little more about his career as a Chartered Surveyor in W1.
You began your career as a Chartered Surveyor in Central London working for the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works; can you tell me more about your role there?
‘I first worked at the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works whilst on summer break from Leicester Polytechnic and my first office was at Elizabeth House, Waterloo, where I worked on a former Victorian Workhouse among other projects. I also spent my sandwich year with the Ministry, and was lucky enough to work on the Royal Palaces, particularly St James’ Palace. After completing my diploma, I started work full time with the Ministry, and moved between a number of offices. One of the projects I dealt with as a qualified surveyor was the temporary structures that were built to host the NATO and G7 Summits in The Banqueting House, Whitehall in 1977. For this, I was based in Whitehall and it was unique experience.’
When did you begin to specialise in Party Wall Matters?
1974, which funnily enough is also the year that the Pyramus & Thisbe Club was founded. The job was at Monsanto House where works were taking place in the building next door. At the time, Party Wall Matters only really applied to the Inner London Boroughs and it was not until the 1996 Act that Party Wall Matters were widened to include the rest of England and Wales.’
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
‘I would have to say my proudest career achievement was being elected as Chairman of the Pyramus & Thisbe Club, which has over 1,300 members and works to advance and promote best professional practice in all matters Party Wall. I was also happy to win the Henry Stewart Structural Survey prize for a large survey project in Kent.’
Tell me about winning the Henry Stewart Structural Survey prize.
‘We were very fortunate to be instructed, on behalf of an international rock star, to survey a wonderful 17th Century manor house in Kent. The work was split between two of us, one of us on the inside of the house and the other on the outside, keeping in touch at intervals which made the whole process quite entertaining. Our client very kindly allowed us to enter the report and we were delighted to find out that we had won. We received the prize, presented by Ian Melville, at The Café Royal. I was especially pleased because the prize had been won the previous year by a very good friend’.
What is the most interesting thing about Party Wall surveying?
‘Acting as a third surveyor! It is always enjoyable to help settle disagreements or disputes – it’s an important part of working in Party Wall surveying.’
What do you believe to be the top five key skills to possess for those looking at a career in Party Wall Surveying?
‘Impartiality, an even temperament, an eye for detail, interpersonal skills and the ability to stay calm at all times!’
For more information about our services in Party Wall matters from our contact our Chartered Surveyors in W1.