What is the cost of a party wall surveyor?

Party wall surveyors may charge a fixed fee for their services, or they may charge by the hour. The scale of the surveyor’s costs will vary according to the nature of the project and the complexity of the proposed works.

What is a party wall under the Party Wall Act?

A party wall is a wall that is in shared usage because it separates property belonging to two different owners. The wall may be constructed on just one side of the boundary between the properties, or it may sit astride the boundary. The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 defines two types of party wall.

The type A party wall stands across the boundary of land which belongs to two different owners and

• Is part of one building
• Or separates two (or more) buildings
• Or consists of a party fence wall”

A party fence wall sits astride the boundary between land belonging to two different owners and is used to separate land only, rather than buildings.

A Type B party wall “stands wholly on one owner’s land, but is used by two (or more) owners to separate their buildings”. In this case, only the section of the wall which separates the buildings is designated a party wall. Any part of the wall which extends beyond the separating part is not deemed to be a party wall.

Party Wall

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Cost of Party Wall Surveyor

What does a party wall surveyor do?

A party wall surveyor should have expertise in construction and party walls and ideally, experience in dealing with the issues and disputes which can arise when work is proposed on a party wall. Under the terms of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, anyone who is not a party to the works can in theory take on the role of party wall surveyor for the building works. However, we would recommend that you use only a specialist party wall professional who has knowledge of construction and of the legal requirements relating to party walls, including the Party Wall Act.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 was introduced in England and Wales with the aim of providing a process for resolving disputes relating to shared walls in adjoining properties. In simple terms, the Party Wall Act is designed to ensure that all impacted parties are notified of and have the opportunity to respond to any proposed changes to a party wall, whilst also ensuring that there is a mechanism for the building project to proceed without undue hindrance or delay. The needs of the adjoining owners are protected by the party wall award, which will specify terms under which the work can be carried out. This may include specifying restrictions on when noisy or particularly dusty work can be undertaken.

The party wall surveyor’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the requirements of the Act are met in a fair and efficient way. This includes putting in place an agreement between the parties so that the proposed works can be carried out.

The first formal step in the party wall process is for the owner of the property where the construction work is to be carried out (the building owner) to serve a Party Wall Notice on the owner of the adjoining property (the adjoining owner). If more than one property will be impacted by the proposed works, a party wall notice needs to be served for each adjoining property. This can be done by the building owner, but ideally, it should be served by an experienced chartered surveyor appointed by the building owner. A surveyor will be certain to include all the essential information which must be included in the notice, such as detailed plans and drawings of the work to be carried out

There are three possible outcomes from this stage. The owner of the neighbouring property may:

  • Agree to the works. The surveyor may not be required to do any further work, but in some cases, a Schedule of Condition report may be requested. The Schedule of Condition is a formal record of the state of the property before any works begin.
  • Dissent: refuse to agree to the party wall notice and appoint their own surveyor. The building surveyor may be involved in negotiating consent to the party wall agreement.
  • Fail to respond to the party wall notice by 14 days from the party wall notice’s being served. This is then taken as dissent and a separate surveyor is appointed.

If the adjoining owner asks for a Schedule of Condition Report to be prepared, the party wall surveyor will need to inspect their property. Findings from the inspection are documented in the Schedule of Condition report. This provides all parties with details which can be referred to once the work is complete, for example, if the owner of the adjoining property claims that there has been damage to their property caused by the works impacting the party wall.

What is the average cost of a party wall surveyor?

Some party wall surveyors will charge a fixed rate per hour. For an experienced surveyor, you can expect to pay in the range of £150-270 per hour. The total cost of the surveyor fees will depend on several factors, which may include:

  • The complexity of the proposed project
  •  The size of the property
  • Whether the architect’s designs are complete
  • The likelihood of causing damage to the adjoining property
  • The number of surveyors needed to complete the work (up to three may need to be involved)
Party Wall Roofing

Who pays for the party wall surveyor cost?

The fees for the party wall surveyor are the responsibility of the building owner.

Do I have to pay for my neighbours’ surveyor?

The building owner has to pay the fees for the surveyor appointed by the adjoining owners whose property will be affected by the work. As the owner of the property where work is to be carried out on a party wall, you have responsibility for paying for your neighbour’s surveyor, since you instigated the process and in most cases are likely to be the only party who stands to benefit from the work being done. However, where work is carried out on a party wall to repair it due to neglect on the part of the adjoining owner, the building owner may submit a claim for a portion of the costs from the adjoining owner.

Looking for a chartered surveyor?

We are one of the leading Chartered Surveyors covering London, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality building surveys.
Contact us to discuss your requirements further.

How many party wall surveyors are needed?

The number of party wall surveyors who need to get involved in a party wall matter depends on the approach taken by the property owners and whether a party wall agreement can be settled without the need for a party wall award.

The simplest and lowest cost scenario is where the owner of the works property and the owner of the adjoining property agree to have the same <i>party wall surveyor</i> carry out the work for them.

The second scenario is where the owner of each property to use different party wall surveyors, and for a party wall agreement to be reached between the two parties.

The third and most costly scenario is where each owner uses a separate surveyor, but no agreement can be reached, so a third, and impartial, surveyor needs to be brought in to resolve the matter.

If just one surveyor is brought in to work on the project, the typical cost can be expected to be in the range of £1,000 to £2,700, depending on the scale and complexity of the work. Costs will of course increase with each additional surveyor involved in the project.

Projects such as loft conversions are at the lower end of the price spectrum, while basement work will be at the upper end.

If a party wall award is made on a property adjoining yours and you don’t agree with it, you can appeal the decision. You need to lodge an appeal to the party wall award at a county court within 14 days of receiving the award. You will need to provide an explanation as to why you are appealing the party wall award. Your surveyor can manage the appeal process for you.

How to keep down the costs of fees for the Party Wall Agreement and Party Wall Award?

The expense of surveyors fees can be kept to a minimum if you follow some simple guidelines. These will also help to ensure that your project runs as smoothly as possible

Maintaining a positive relationship with adjoining owners can make a big difference in how smoothly and efficiently your building project runs. The more efficiently the project runs, the lower the costs are likely to be, particularly if you are able to reach a party wall agreement with your neighbours without the need to go through the Party Wall Award process.

Communicate with your neighbours regularly, and in person, where possible. Often the best way to get the process off to a good start is to have an informal conversation in person with your neighbours. This gives you a chance to explain the work you are planning, and what you propose to do to avoid damage to their property and to minimise disruption. If your neighbours have questions or concerns at any stage in the process, respond to them promptly.

It is helpful for your surveyor to have a positive relationship with your neighbours too, so if possible, take the time to introduce them to each other in person. It demonstrates confidence in your surveyor and will make it easier for your neighbours to feel they can trust your surveyor too.

Don’t cut corners when it comes to plans and designs. High-quality plans for the proposed building work will be a worthwhile investment, saving you time and money further down the line. It will also make it more straightforward to communicate your proposals to the adjoining owners.

How can Oakfield Chartered Surveyors help?

At Oakfield Chartered Surveyors we have a team of experts in party wall matters. We can provide a free no obligation quotation for the services we offer in relation to party walls. Whether you are planning to carry out work which affects a party wall in your property, or you are the owner of a property where an adjoining neighbour plans to have work done, we have professionals on hand to help you through the process. Our surveyors will ensure that procedures are followed correctly, and that all plans and work are done in accordance with the Party Wall Act.

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