If you are carrying out work that may affect your neighbour then the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 requires that you first serve a notice of your intention on your neighbour in advance of carrying out those works. You don’t have to use a party wall surveyor to serve the initial notice but it is important that it is correct so if in doubt, it is best to use a surveyor. We can serve notices on your behalf for a total cost of £75.00 per notice plus a land registry search fee and for this minor cost, you may well think it best to leave it to us.
The Party Wall etc. Act does not just cover work to the party wall. It also covers excavations or new buildings on the boundary line.
The Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes with neighbours using surveyors instead of solicitors and expensive court proceedings. It also has time limits to prevent disputes holding up the work unnecessarily. It isn’t for stopping work that you don’t want to go ahead. If the proposed work has planning permission then it is lawful and can proceed once the procedures in the act have been followed.
Simply put, once you have served notice, your neighbour has 14 days to act. They can:-
- consent to the works in writing
- dissent to the works and appoint a surveyor (either the building owner’s surveyor as ‘agreed’ surveyor or appoint their own)
- do nothing (deemed to have dissented after 14 days)
If consent is given then building work may start after the statutory period which is either 1 or 2 months depending on what notice has been served or even sooner if the neighbour agrees. All consents must be in writing.
If consent is not given or your neighbour does nothing then a dispute starts off the process where both neighbours have to each appoint a different party wall surveyor or one agreed Surveyor.
Some believe that the party wall surveyor is working for the other side and by agreeing to use the building owner’s surveyor, would put them at a disadvantage. This should not be the case as the surveyor, although initially ‘chosen’ by the building owner, is appointed under statute and is not under contract to the building owner. However, it is the choice of the adjoining owner to decide if they want to appoint the same surveyor or appoint their own. In either case the building owner generally pays the costs of all surveyors.The advantage of using an agreed surveyor is that the costs will not be as high for the building owner and you are less likely to upset your neighbour!
If you do nothing once you receive a notice, you will after 14 days be deemed to be in dispute. You will then receive a further notice demanding that you appoint a party wall surveyor within 10 days or one will be appointed for you by the building owner. If you still don’t appoint a surveyor the building owner or his surveyor will appoint a different surveyor to act on your behalf.
At this point the surveyor/s draft a Party Wall Award that sets out the rights and obligations of the owners and usually includes the drawings, method statement and a condition survey that the surveyors carry our on the adjoining owner’s property to record the current condition in case there is a claim of damage during or after the work. The award is then served on both owners and becomes a legally binding document that can only be challenged by appeal in the County Court within 14 days.
Many Party Wall Surveyors charge upwards of £150 per hour and the cost can easily reach a couple of grand. We like to be up-front and crystal clear with our charges. Our costs to draft and serve a Party Wall Award start at *£450.00 with an additional fee of £160 per agreed surveyor role.
The schedule of condition starts at *£350.00 and should you have two adjoining owners and we can gain access on the same day, we will only charge an additional £150.00 for both properties.
Should you only require a schedule of condition, please call for prices.
For Immediate Attention from a Member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors
Call Now- Richard G Johnson MFPWS ACIOB Dip Eng Law (Open) on 07740 257 414
The costs for the fixed fee award is for local basic small value work such as a chimney breast removal etc.and is not for such works as extensions, basement construction or work involving many design/structural engineering considerations. It does not include a schedule of condition which is charged separately. Please enquire to confirm that your work is within the above fixed fee award parameters.