As a Party Wall Surveyor, one of the more common questions asked by adjoining owners is:
“Will I pay your fees or will the building owner pay your fees?”
Well, in this blog post, I will clarify exactly who is liable to pay the Party Wall Surveyor’s fee.
Who pays the Party Wall Surveyor’s fees?
In every normal circumstance where a building owner requires a Party Wall Award to be agreed, the building owner will cover the cost of the Surveyor or Surveyors, who have been appointed.
Fundamentally this is the correct procedure as the building owner is the owner undertaking the works, therefore the adjoining owner shouldn’t have to pay for a Party Wall Surveyor to agree a Party Wall Award protecting due to the building owners choose to undertake notifiable Party Wall works.
What does the Party Wall Surveyor’s fee include?
Well generally, the building owner will cover the cost of both Party Wall Surveyors in undertaking the procedures that lead to the agreement of a Party Wall Award.
In respect of the building owner’s Party Wall Surveyor, the owner will typically pay a fixed fee. Whereas the adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor will apply their hourly rate to any time spent on the matter. In accordance with Section 10 of the Party Wall etc Act 1996, the fee will include,
“The reasonable costs incurred in—
(a)making or obtaining an award under this section;
(b)reasonable inspections of work to which the award relates; and
(c)any other matter arising out of the dispute,”
The Party Wall Surveyors roles will include everything from the file set up to correspondence, to drawing review, to Schedule of Condition Inspections, to agreeing the Party Wall Award itself.
However, there have been very rare cases whereby an adjoining owner would have to pay for Surveyor’s fees.
When does an adjoining owner pay a Party Wall Surveyor’s fees?
As previously mentioned, in normal circumstances, the building owner is the owner who is liable for all costs involved in the Party Wall procedures. However, in accordance with the Party Wall etc Act 1996 and in particular Section 11(4):
“Where work is carried out in the exercise of the right mentioned in section 2(2)(a), and the work is necessary on account of defect or want of repair of the structure or wall concerned, the expenses shall be defrayed by the building owner and the adjoining owner in such proportion as has regard to—
(a)the use which the owners respectively make or may make of the structure or wall concerned; and
(b)responsibility for the defect or want of repair concerned, if more than one owner makes use of the structure or wall concerned.”
To put it in perspective, if the building owner was to propose demolishing and rebuilding a defective shared garden wall which is legally referred to as a Party Fence Wall, the Party Wall Surveyors fees are to be shared between the two respective owners, as the works benefit not on the building owner but also the adjoining owner
Party wall Surveyor’s fees are becoming a common topic of discussion amongst owners. Therefore, if you are in any doubt, feel free to get in contact with us here at Berry Lodge and we will be happy to clarify the subject for you.
How much does the Party Wall Surveying Procedures Cost?
This is a very common question, it all depends on the works that are taking place and both the building owner’s and adjoining owner’s property.
It is also common practice for a building owner’s Party Wall Surveyor’s fee to be at a fixed rate, whereas an adjoining owner’s Party Wall Surveyor’s fee will be based off their hourly rate.
What happens if I am not happy with the Party Wall Surveyor Costs?
Providing there are two respective Party Wall Surveyors on board acting on behalf of both the building owner and adjoining owner. The first point to be agreed between the respective Party Wall Surveyors should have been the agreement of a Third Surveyor.
The Third Surveyor’s role within Party Wall procedures is to agree and determine any dispute that exists between the two Surveyors or the owners, this can include fees.
It is important to bear in mind that there is a cost risk in a Third Surveyor referral, therefore we would advise fully discussing the procedures with your Party Wall Surveyor before they are activated.
Can I negotiate the Party Wall Surveying Costs and Fees?
Yes, as an owner you are within your rights to discuss the Party Wall Surveyor costs with the Party Wall Surveyor.
It is worth bearing in mind that an owner is only responsible for the Party Wall Surveyor’s reasonable costs.
It is also worth bearing in mind that it is the respective Party Wall Surveyors that agree the total quantum of costs, or in the event of dispute the Third Surveyor.