Party Wall Surveyor Cost

Party Wall Surveyor Cost

What are Party Walls?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Dissent to the notice, but agree upon the same surveyor as the individual(s) undertaking the works.
  3. 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 party wall surveyors charge a fixed hourly rate for all tasks related to the party wall matters. This typically ranges from £150-£270.

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.

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Party Wall Surveyor Cost

Party Wall Surveyor Cost
Harding Chartered Surveyors is an independent firm of RICS chartered surveyors. We understand that purchasing a home is one of the most important things you will ever do and, as such, take pride in guiding you through the process by offering a range of services.

Party Wall Surveyor Cost
About the Author
Party Wall Surveyor Cost

Jack Pye

Jack Pye is a RICS chartered surveyor and registered valuer specialising in valuation and party wall work.

Comments 1

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    Can you please email me? I have some questions concerning a party wall issue as follows: my neighbours have decided to build a loft extension which has been discussed and no dispute there; we ourselves had a loft extension and a refurbishment of the house (still unfinished as we spend much of our time abroad) back in 2011; but naturally as the house is old (Southfields – terraced property) I am concerned about the wall and what could happen when they drive in a new beam. The plaster on the party wall concerned and the structure of the wall itself is, to the best of our knowledge, sound on our side. However, we had our neighbour’s surveyor round and he gave a report referring to a lot of cracking – which I don’t think is correct as there’s only one set of cracks in this otherwise perfect wall as far as we can see – and that was in the plaster as a result of a rawlplug driven into the wall to support a heavy mirror. Given that the report of the other surveyor might pose a problem for us if serious cracks appear, I would like to have my own Schedule of Condition of that wall (total 3 stories) prepared and to go through the list written by the neighbour’s surveyor to check whether what was written was accurate and get photographs as soon as possible (ie. towards the end of next week prior to Easter if possible). Is this something you usually do and you would recommend? Do I need to involve my neighbours – ie. notify them? I would obviously send them copies of whatever you wrote. The house is a mess having been primarily used for storage until I retire in May and have enough time to properly sort it all out – but you can still access the walls without difficulty. Can you let me know whether you would be able to come round on the Thursday or Easter Friday and what the cost of the Schedule of Condition would be? If you have other comments on the above, please let me know.

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