Under the Party Wall Act 1996, building owners who plan to carry out changes or alterations to their properties are required to serve adjoining owners a Party Wall Notice one or two months before the work commences.
Once received, the adjoining owners have three Party Wall Notice response options:
- Consent to the work
- Dissent and appoint an Agreed Surveyor
- Dissent and appoint own Party Wall Surveyors
We have a detailed stand-alone blog post on these options which you can have a read of here.
A Schedule of Condition and a Party Wall Award have to be produced before the work starts, with the latter two Party Wall Notice response options.
How Much Does a Party Wall Surveyor Cost?
Most Party Wall Surveyors charge a fixed hourly rate, ranging from circa £100 to £320 + VAT for all Party Wall Surveying related tasks.
Don’t worry, this rate doesn’t apply to all of the files tasks. A lower rate will be applied for non-specialist activities such as administration.
The Adjoining Owner’s Party Wall Surveyor’s Fees
The building owner’s Party Wall Surveyor decides whether the adjoining owner’s Surveyor’s overall fee is both acceptable, and importantly as per the Party Wall etc Act 1996’s requirements “reasonable”.
This procedure is usually done usually by checking their timesheet, the total cost has to consider the following factors:
- Surveyor’s travel distance between site and office is often restricted to a maximum of 45 minutes. Any longer than that and the Surveyor will likely need to bear the costs themselves. After all, they accepted the appointment in the knowledge of the distance from their office.
- The quality of the building owner’s surveyor’s Draft Award and Schedule of Condition. The rule of thumb being, the better prepared, the less time the adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor will need to spend on it.
- The quality of the design team’s drawings and other information. The clearer they are and without fault, the quicker the Party Wall Surveyor’s review will be. Bear in mind that if drawings are inaccurate and require amending, the Surveyor will need to incur additional time in re-review.
- The complexity of the works proposed. The simpler they are, the more straightforward the matter and as such, the less time the Party Wall Surveyor should spend.
The Adjoining Owner’s Party Wall Surveyor’s Timesheet
Every timesheet is unique and obviously custom to the Surveyor. Some are written by hand, other with timekeeping software. We’d expect the following tasks to form part of the Party Wall Surveyor’s overall cost and expense:
- Review of the initial Party Wall Notice and any associated drawings
- The exchange of Party Wall Surveyor appointment letters and selection of a third surveyor
- Assisting the building owner’s surveyor in carrying out the Schedule of Condition, or accompanying the inspection
- Review of the draft Schedule of Condition and Party Wall Award. In most cases, this is done post-inspection
- Agreement of any outstanding points with the building owner’s Party Wall Surveyor. This is commonly done via the circulating draft Party Wall Award and in 9 out of 10 cases with Microsoft Word track changes
- Review, approval, signature and service of the Party Wall Awards
- Checking off of the Schedule of Condition after the works have been completed
- Communication during the course of the job (Surveyor and Owner)
Fee Negotiations between the two Party Wall Surveyors
The building owner’s Party Wall Surveyor may dispute the adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor’s proposed costs.
The reality of most third surveyor referrals is based around Surveyor fees and the reasonable level of those.
In our opinion, third surveyor referrals on fees should be avoided at all cost. Two qualified and experienced Party Wall Surveyors should be more than capable of resolving this point without input.
The Third Surveyor’s fees
In the event of a referral to the third Surveyor, their fees will be set out within their Party Wall Award and will be apportioned between the two owners at any level that the Surveyor determines. Third Surveyor costs aren’t cheap, we’d expect these to be at least £1,000 + VAT.
Party Wall Surveyor fees are a hot topic with a great deal of differing opinions on it! If you’d like to discuss Party Wall Surveyor fees, get in touch with us now. We hope you enjoyed the blog post!