The Party Wall Act does not supplant Common Law. The Act (S.2(2)(h)) allows projections to be removed to enable a wall to be built close to a neighbour's wall but this does not extinguish easements and cannot be used to remedy trespass. These should be resolved before commencing the Party Wall process.
You should choose a surveyor who:-
You are advised to obtain references from your chosen surveyor.
During the works the Party Wall Surveyor may inspect the works and the surveyor will be available to review any problems. If damage is caused the Surveyor will certainly be involved and will judge what remedial work is necessary.
When the works are completed the Party Wall Surveyor will normally re-inspect. If all is completed properly and there has been no damage we issue a Certificate of Inspection a copy of which is sent to both owners.
The Party Wall Act sets down what works require notice and what is necessary for a valid notice. Because an incorrectly prepared notice may be declared invalid and lead to potentially costly delays we recommend having the notices prepared by a professional. For more information about necessary notices click here.
There are a number of good reasons:-
We recommend offering a Schedule of Condition (a detailed written & photographic record) of your neighbours' property when you serve a notice as it is likely to encourage your neighbour to consent and it also protects you from mistaken claims. If no Schedule of Condition was offered then you can commence works without anything further (subject only to the notice periods stated). If a Schedule of Condition was offered then this should be made by a Party Wall Surveyor.
We would prepare a formal Party Wall Agreement comprising:-
Our fee for this is £495 plus VAT for domestic work if the property is within 8 miles of our office in London SW15 6TH (otherwise an additional charge to cover travel may apply).
The Act provides rights of access to execute permitted works . Click here for more information
If your neighbour dissents they must appoint a surveyor. This can be the same surveyor you choose (called an Agreed Surveyor) or a different surveyor, In either case the surveyor's fees are normally paid by the person doing the work.
It is best if you can agree on a single surveyor or 'adopt' the surveyor that your neighbour selects otherwise you will be paying for two surveyors and the total fees will double. You should try and get a fixed fee from an Agreed Surveyor and also bear in mind that here will be practically no 'check or restraint' on the Agreed Surveyor's actions or decisions.
If your neighbour does not respond to a notice after 14 days that neighbour is deemed to have dissented. You then need to serve reminder (Ten Day Notice). If no response is received after a further ten days you can appoint a Party Wall Surveyor for that neighbour. (If appointed to serve notice we would prepare the Ten Day notice for no additional fee).
Our fees for an Award depend upon a number of factors and we would give you a prior fixed fee. Our fees are low because we specialise and because we are efficient. Click the blue button below for our standard fixed fees.
If your proposed work is to a Party Wall or close to a neighbouring building or property it's likely that a notice under the Party Wall Act will be required. A notice must be served 2 months before works start that affect an existing Party Wall and 1 month before adjacent excavation or construction of a new wall along a boundary.
It's a good idea to serve notice before you make a Planning Application or your neighbours will receive letters from other surveyors encouraging them to dissent and appoint them.
You can prepare and serve your own notices and we provide 'easy to use' free templates as interactive PDF forms (see the red button below). Alternatively we will be happy to prepare the notice for you (This will reduce the chance of a notice being invalid due to error or omission). We charge £75 plus VAT to prepare a 'bespoke' notice including Land Registry search fees (to verify ownership).
In domestic situations we recommend and prepare a notice in the form of a friendly letter from the person doing the work which you sign and hand to your neighbour. We also annotate your designers drawings as necessary to validate the notice and for clarity and provide explanatory notes. You can call us or use the green link below:- .
Yes, The Party Wall Act, Section11 (11) states that you must contribute 50% of the cost of a Party Wall that you use that was previously built by a neighbour.
Fees can escalate if a neighbouring owner appoints a different surveyor as they are entitled to do, as the surveyor appointed by the neighbouring owner will often charge as much or more than the first surveyor (appointed by the person doing the work), for doing little more than checking and approving the first surveyor's work. In that case we recommend 'adopting ' the neighbour's surveyor as the Agreed Surveyor to save costs.
Whilst the bulk of surveyors act responsibly and reasonably some charge very high fees. There is a perception that surveyors fees are self regulated by an ‘old-boy’ network and not independently monitored or controlled and that the Act gives surveyors a ‘licence to print money’. This has led to understandable resentment. We offer fixed fees and strive to avoid disputes which would require an Award to resolve and we are committed to challenging excessive fees. Click the blue button above for our fees.
Watson Woods Partnership