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Property Surveying Blog
August 28, 2014

Party Wall Fees

Written by Bradley Mackenzie

In this blog we will be looking at Party Wall Surveyor fees.

Generally speaking there are two types of fees that Party Wall Surveyors will charge:

Fixed Fees

A fixed fee, usually quoted in advance by the Party Wall Surveyor.

A fixed fee structure usually only applies for jobs whereby the Party Wall Surveyor is acting on behalf of the building owner.

The Party Wall Surveyor will usually review the drawings, undertake his or her checks and then determine the types of issues that are likely to arise.

The Party Wall Surveyor will then quote his or her fee which will be fixed and based upon the complexity of the job and the likely time that will be spent on the job.

Variable Fees

A variable fee structure where the Party Wall fee increases as the Party Wall Surveyor’s time increases.

Once the Party Wall Award has been agreed and all matters in dispute have been resolved, the Party Wall Surveyor will add up his time and then present this fee to the building owner’s surveyor for review and acceptance.

Who agrees the adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor’s Fees?

As part of the building owner’s Party Wall surveyor’s role it is for him or her to determine if the adjoining owner’s surveyor’s fee is reasonable and therefore whether it should be agreed within the Party Wall Award.

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 stipulates that the building owner is only responsible for those ‘reasonable costs’ incurred in making an award.

Surveyor’s fees tend to be the final point agreed within a Party Wall Award, the reason behind this is that the Party Wall Surveyors are appointed to resolve the ‘dispute’ between the owners.

To discuss fees at any point other than the end would likely delay the progress and agreement of the Party Wall Award.

In the event that the two Party Wall Surveyors are unable to agree the level of the adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor’s fees, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 does have a built in dispute resolution procedure.

This procedure allows one of the two Party Wall Surveyors to refer the dispute to the selected Third Surveyor for his or review and determination.

Although the Party Wall etc Act 1996 intended Third Surveyor referrals to be a straightforward process, in practice it is somewhat different.

Once the matter is referred to the Third Surveyor, he or she will apply his or her hourly rate to the time spent dealing with the matter, however this fee will be payable by the side that looses the appeal.

Therefore before making any referral, the owner and Party Wall Surveyor must consider the potential risk of Third Surveyor referral going against them and therefore the risk of further fees.

Party Wall Surveyor fees are never a straightforward dispute, an experienced Party Wall Surveyor will have tried and tested methods that will ensure his counterpart’s fees are kept to an absolute minimum.