The Party Wall etc Act 1996, does not state who should be responsible for the party wall surveyor’s fees, therefore as per the statue, the party wall surveyors retain the rights to determine how to divide the fees between the owners reasonably.
However, it is worth noting, the building owner is the one that benefits from the building work, in most cases, and in all cases of party wall surveying jobs here at Berry Lodge, it is standard practice for all the fees to be met by the building owner.
It, therefore, goes without saying that in the event of abandonment or cancellation of building work post party wall notice service, it should come as no surprise that the building owner must still be responsible for the reasonable surveyor fees incurred before the termination.
We will discuss this in a little more detail below:
Party Wall Notice Dissent
If the adjoining owner (neighbour) dissents to the building owner’s party wall notice, they can choose to either have a single surveyor appointed, also known as an agreed party wall surveyor. They can also appoint a party wall surveyor to act wholly on their behalf, known as an adjoining owner’s surveyor. The building owner would then also need to appoint their own party wall surveyor, known as a building owner’s surveyor.
Once the adjoining owner has selected their response, the party wall surveyor will generally undertake:
- Set a file up
- Land Registry legal checks of both title plans and deeds
- Review any drawings attached to the party wall notice
- A party wall notice review
- Fully discuss the party wall procedures with the adjoining owner
- Write to the building owner, or their surveyor confirming their appointment
These steps are undertaken in good faith and on the assumption the building owner intends to proceed with the works and follow the Act’s procedures, therefore even if the building plan is dropped, surveyors should still get paid for having started the process.
What if the building owner doesn’t want to cover these Party Wall Surveyor costs?
In this scenario, the party wall surveyor will provide a summary of time incurred, here at Berry Lodge we would expect that to be within about 1 to 2 hours worth of work comprising the various tasks set out above.
Should the building owner refuse to pay for this time, the fee will then have to be dealt with officially under the dispute procedures of Section 10 of the Act.
Party Wall works can be abandoned for all types of reasons, from a change of heart, financial situation or even a global pandemic!
If you’ve served a party wall notice and find yourself in a position of abandonment, here at Berry Lodge we would advise informing the party wall surveyor of this at the first instance.
That will ensure their fees are limited and they are able to keep their appointing owner, the adjoining owner fully updated.