Party Wall Surveyor Cost
If you plan to make changes or alterations to and around the party wall or property boundary, you may be required to abide by the Party Wall Act 1996. This may require you to serve notice on the neighbouring properties (Adjoining Owners). Depending on the works proposed the notice period is either one or two months minimum. Once the adjoining owner receives the notice they have three options:
- Consent to the works, in which instance no further action is required, although we would advise a schedule of condition is taken to record the condition of the neighbouring property prior to the works commencing.
- Dissent to the notice, but agree upon the same surveyor as the individual(s) undertaking the works.
- Dissent to the notice and appoint their own surveyor. Under the Act, in most scenarios, the person(s) carrying out the works (building Owner) are responsible for the fees for the neighbours surveyor.
With the later two options a schedule of condition is produced of the neighbouring property which is in close proximity to the works. The schedule of condition acts as a record of the properties condition prior to the works commencing, if any damage is caused to the neighbouring property which is attributable to the notifiable works the Building Owner will be at liberty to make good. A Party Wall Award will also be produced which will layout the rights and duties of the parties with regards to the party wall.
Naturally, disputes between surveyors (in option 3) are not uncommon, which is why a third impartial surveyor is appointed before any work begins. If the initial two surveyors can’t reach an agreement, the third surveyor will have the final say.
At Harding Chartered Surveyors, we’re always transparent with our pricing, which is why we offer free quotes either online or over the phone to building owners. However, because we don’t have full control over the adjoining owner’s surveyor’s fees, it’s virtually impossible to provide a quote for the total party wall surveyor cost. Below, we explain how the adjoining owner’s surveyor’s fees are calculated and agreed upon.
How Much Does a Party Wall Surveyor Cost?
Most chartered party wall surveyors charge a fixed hourly rate for all tasks related to the party wall matters. This typically ranges from £200-£270 per hour.
The Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor’s Fees
The building owner’s surveyor is responsible for deciding whether the adjoining owner’s surveyor’s fees are reasonable. The total cost should take a range of factors into account, including:
- Distance between site and office
The longer it takes for the adjoining owner’s surveyor to reach the building, the higher their fee will be. We usually agree to cap the travel time to around 45 minutes as to prevent congestion, roadworks and other unforeseen events from causing travel fees to spiral out of control.
- The Quality of the Building Owner’s Surveyor’s ReportDraft Award and Schedule of Condition
If the building owner’s surveyor does a thorough job and creates an accurate report, the adjoining owner will naturally have less work to do, reducing the number of hours required to finish the job.
- The Quality of the Design Team’s Drawings and Other Information
Again, the more information the surveyor has access to, the less time it should take to compile a party wall award.
- The complexity of the works proposed
If the works are more complex the adjoining owner may seek to utilise other experts to check the design teams drawings, specification etc. This normally takes the form of a checking engineer, and is common in basement excavations and big projects.
The adjoining owner’s surveyor will propose an hourly rate, which the building owner’s surveyor can either accept or reject. The building owner’s surveyor will usually check the adjoining owner’s surveyor’s timesheet to decide whether the fee is fair.
The Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor’s Timesheet
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ adjoining owner surveyor’s timesheet because each job is unique, which is just one reason why it’s usually impossible to provide a fixed quote for both surveyors’ costs upfront. However, some of the tasks that the adjoining owner’s surveyor is responsible for carrying out and charging for include:
- Review of the initial notice and any associated drawings
- The exchange of appointment letters and selection of a third surveyor
- Assessment of the adjoining owner’s property conditionAssisting the Building Owner’s surveyor carryout the schedule of condition
- Review of the draft Schedule of Condition and Award
- Agreement of any outstanding points with the building owner’s surveyor
- Review and approval of the fair copies of the award
- Checking off of the Schedule of Condition after the works have been completed
Note that the final two tasks on the list above are completed after the fee is agreed, which means the total time spent for each of said tasks is estimated.
Negotiations Between the Two Surveyors
The building owner’s surveyor is responsible for deciding how much the adjoining owner’s surveyor should get paid. Therefore, the building owner’s surveyor will usually check the other surveyor’s timesheet to check for accuracies and ensure all claims are fair. The building owner’s surveyor may dispute the adjoining owner’s proposed fees for a host of reasons, from unreasonable travel fees to unfair hourly rates.
If the two surveyors appointed by the building owner and adjoining owner can’t reach an agreement, the matter may be passed on to the third appointed surveyor. Acting as an impartial advisor, the third surveyor will usually have the final say on how much should be paid to whom.
The Third Appointed Surveyor’s Fees
Naturally, in the interest of minimising costs, it’s better to involve the third surveyor as little as possible. However, should the matter of payment end up being the third surveyor’s decision, th They will apportion their costs between the parties.
Often, the adjoining owner’s surveyor will discuss their proposed fees with their client before taking the matter to the third surveyor. The adjoining owner’s surveyor may explain the financial risks associated with letting a third surveyor have the final say. If the adjoining owner thinks they may be liable to cover extra costs, they may agree to pay their surveyor’s requested fee.
If either party is dissatisfied with the terms of the Award, they may appeal at the local county court within 14 days. Adjoining owners should be aware that building owners have a right to alter party walls provided the planned changes fall within the bounds of the law. If you intend to appeal an Award, you might want to seek legal advice first.
We can act as party wall surveyor for building owners and adjoining owners. If you want to book a survey or have any questions about the party wall surveyor cost, call us on 020 3598 6730.