There have been horror stories all over the internet about the costs racked up between Party Wall Surveyors and how it is a complete con. I have to disagree with the last comment but there have been instances where costs have been disproportionate. Like all callings, there are always those who seek to make as much profit as quickly as possible, but on the whole I would hope that most of us have a conscience and make ethical decisions and charge accordingly.
A building owner who wants to carry out work covered by the Party Wall Act 1996 has to serve notice on the effected adjoining owners. The building owner is generally responsible for all the costs of both owners during the process so obviously wants to keep these to a minimum.
A competent building owner can serve their own notices initially however, any mistakes can invalidate the whole process and that could be expensive. We charge £75.00 per Notice served. At this point the Party Wall Surveyor is under contract with the building owner. It is not until there is a deemed dispute that the Party Wall surveyor has to be ‘appointed’ in writing by the owner. At this point the surveyor is not under contract with the building owner. The appointment is one under statute even though the owner ‘chose’ the surveyor. Once appointed, the appointment cannot be rescinded by the appointing owner and they have to continue with the surveyor of choice.
The building owner can generally negotiate an upfront fee from the appointed Party Wall Surveyor. For example, our fees start at £550.00* per Award. This covers correspondence and the drafting and serving of an Award.
An adjoining owner can simply appoint a Party Wall surveyor on an hourly fee as they are not actually paying the fee, the Building owner is. In fairness, the adjoining owners surveyor is unlikely to work on a fixed fee as he is unaware how much work is involved at this point. This is where the costs can be significant.
Hourly rates vary but are around £140-£225.00 per hour. 10 hours can easily be racked up during the process.
If the adjoining owners agree to use the building owners surveyors rather than appoint their own, the cost can be capped. We charge an additional £160 for acting as Agreed surveyor. In other words, an award will start at a fixed fee of £710.00 (plus schedule of condition) instead of the likely probable £2,200-£2,500 where two surveyors are appointed.
So, as building owner, if you are goods terms with your neighbour, it is best to talk to them and explain the cost implications if they go off on a voyage of their own and appoint a different surveyor.
*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 fixed fee award parameters.
For fixed price Notices and Party Wall Awards call:-
Richard G Johnson ACIOB Dip Eng Law (Open) on 07740 257414