How Much Does a Party Wall Surveyor Cost?

As you can no doubt tell from reading the description of this blog post that we are here to discuss Party Wall Surveyor Costs – In particular the fees charged by a Party Wall Surveyor on average here in the UK.

Obviously as with any sector there will be fluctuations in a surveyors fees based on whereabouts in the UK that they undertake these services.

So Lets Begin – Why Do I Even Need To Pay A Party Wall Surveyor Anyway?

Do you want to make a change to your property? If you own the property, and you have all the relevant permissions in place from your local authority to make alterations to the property, there is still one party that you have to consider when it comes to keeping the peace.

And considering this party is closer to you than all others, it’s the one that’s all too often overlooked.

Yep, you’ve guessed it – The Party all too often overlooked is your next door neighbour.

If the alterations that you want to make affect the party wall, then you may have to look to the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 to answer any questions or indeed settle any disputes you may have with the individual or business that owns the property adjacent to you.

In most cases, this will require hiring and using a party wall surveyor. But, how much does something like this cost? Let’s take a look at the overall expenses that you might expect to have to fork out for the services of a party wall surveyor.

Understanding Your Options

When it comes to the party wall, the individual or business that also shares your common boundary has three options when you serve notice that you intend to carry out building works that are covered by the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996.

First of all, they can consent to the alterations, which means that there is no further necessary action. However, it is heavily recommended that a schedule of conditions is undertaken because this allows you to record the state of the neighbouring building before the work starts.

This not only protects the adjoining owner by giving them proof of damages.  It also protects you, the building owner against any fraudulent claims for damages that may have been present prior to commencement of the works.

A consent subject to a schedule of conditions is by far and away the most common selection ticked on Notices returned to us from adjoining owners.

Second of all, they can disagree and dissent to the planned alterations, in which case, they will agree to use the same surveyor as you will.

Finally, they can dissent to the alterations suggested and then appoint their own party wall surveyor. In cases where this happens, you are responsible for the fees of neighbouring surveyors as well as your own.

When your neighbour dissents to the works, in the vast majority of cases it is not because they do not want you to carry out your building works.

Instead what we find is that your adjoining owners has one or more specific concerns and by simply discussing these concerns through, a compromised can be reached and a party wall award drafted up to ensure the agreed compromises or actions are fulfilled by whomever is undertaking the building works.

It is worth noting that in the case of the third option, both surveyors will need to agree on the selection of a third surveyor who will only be called upon should the two surveyors reach a stalemate whereby they cannot reach an agreement between themselves. 

It is very rare that the two surveyors cannot reach an agreement between themselves and that the third surveyor is called upon.  In our experience the third surveyor has only been used when an adjoining owners surveyor is requesting fees that we feel are grossly disproportional to their time spent on agreeing an award.  

The Fees

When it comes to the costs of a party wall surveyor, it is crucial to understand that a building owners surveyor may work for a fixed fee (we certainly do) – Most adjoining owners surveyors will usually work on an hourly rate.  That being said, we ALSO work for adjoining owners on a fixed fee service however our adopted business model is very rare at the time of writing this article.

An Adjoining Owners Surveyor Fees will vary according to a handful of different criteria, but typically speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from £100-£300 per hour for a Party Wall Surveyor based in our area of operations which are notably London, Essex and Kent.

We find that the final bill for an adjoining owners surveyors generally ranges between £750 and £2,000.00 but have been as high as £2,500.00 in the past

Our fee for acting as an adjoining owners surveyor is £650.00 and this is a fixed fee that is only payable only on completion of an Award.

What Criteria Affect Fees?

Your surveyor will be responsible for making sure that the fees charged by the neighbouring surveyor are reasonably fair. There are a couple of different factors which will influence this. Let’s summarise them here:

 

  • Travel fees are usually considered when it comes to the hourly rate of the neighbouring surveyor. It is suggested that you set a cap with regards to how much each surveyor can claim in terms of travel fees because traffic conditions and unforeseen accidents can quickly lead to massive expenses.
  • It is probably important to know that if the work is quite complex, the adjoining owner, i.e. the person who is your neighbour may attempt to enlist the services of experts to check the drawings of the proposed plans, as well as provide an assessment on the specifications.
  • If you create an accurate report which is authenticated and appropriately checked, then there is less for the neighbouring surveyor to check themselves. This will, naturally, translate to less work and thus less billable hours.

 

As a general rule, the more information that each surveyor has access to, the quicker they will be able to create a party wall award and settle the dispute.

What Happens Next?

In practice, on conclusion of the award the Adjoining Owners Surveyor will propose a rate for the hour together with a total fee for their role in agreeing an award.

This hourly rate and final bill will be either accepted or rejected by your own surveyor, who will check the timesheet of the Adjoining Owners Surveyor to determine if the fee is accurate and reasonable.

The timesheet for the Adjoining Owners Surveyor will be influenced by a variety of different things, like for example checking the designs, speaking with experts, assessing the planned works, authenticating the works, and a selection of other tasks.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the costs for a party wall surveyor will be influenced by many factors. Typically, these types of individuals will work on an hourly fee, which will then be disputed or contested by the Building Owners surveyor as is necessary.

A third-party can and will arbitrate and move the process forward if necessary, but, as they will have their own costs, and bearing in mind the majority of third surveyors regularly selected and agreed on Party Wall disputes command the highest level of respect in their sector it is to be expected that their rates will reflect this and £300.00 per hour is not uncommon.

It is advantageous therefore to use the third surveyor as little as possible for a small domestic extension such as a House Extension or Loft Conversion.

With all of this being said, you should do your homework when selecting a Party Wall Surveyor, especially if you are the building owner.

Check their levels of experience, check their credentials and make an informed decision.

You are investing a significant amount of money to extend your home.  Therefore look upon the party wall surveyor as simply being an additional service along with planning and building control to ensure your build is carried out efficiently with no neighbourly disputes.

A party wall surveyors costs are a small price to pay when you compare it with the price of falling out with your closest neighbours over something that could have been so easily avoided if the correct procedures had of been followed.

London Office:

4th Floor, Silverstream House,

45 Fitzroy Street

Fitzrovia

London

W1T 6EB

0800 464 7131

Essex Office:

282 Leigh Road

Leigh on Sea

Essex

SS9 1BW

0800 464 7131