The above list is not exhaustive but covers some of the most common 'unforeseen expenses'. Call us to discuss  potential costs in more detail. We can advise on which of the above might affect your project and give you estimates of the likely costs or effects. 

Additional Professional inspections 

​A Party Wall Award may require additional professional inspections in addition to those which may have been allowed for or anticipated. An Award may require an Engineer to make additional inspections to ensure that the works are being executed in accordance with design and defined methodology. These additional inspections will incur additional fees.

Expenses to remove trespasS

​If your contractor builds concrete foundations or commonly, reinforced concrete basement retaining walls, which project excessively onto neighbour's land then  the neighbour can reclaim the costs of removing the trespassing projections from you. This work can be surprisingly expensive.

Movement Monitoring 

Where basements are involved and especially where party wall is underpinned, Adjoining Owners Surveyors may require monitoring of the  Adjoining Owner's property. This is a system of measuring fixed points using optical or electronic equipment to detect slight movement. The installation and monitoring of this equipment can be expensive.  (We would resist this unless we considered it to be necessary).

We've received feedback that there was insufficient information provided on possible unforseen costs that can arise during the party wall process.    significant additional costs can arise - We've responded by producing this page listing some common issues.

Security for Expenses 

​A neighbouring owner can, under the provisions of Section 12 of the Act, request that a person undertaking works provides Security for Expenses  which is normally a sum of money agreed by the owner's or determined by the Surveyor or Surveyors which is then held in a escrow account for the duration of the work and used to cover any expenses which are legitimately incurred or released in whole or part to the person undertaking the work when the risk has passed. Persons or organisations that  hold sums of money in escrow will normally charge a fee for doing so.  Agreeing and administering Security for Expenses would also incur additional Surveyor's fees.

Damage caused by the works 

You and not your contractor will be responsible for any damage caused by your works.  Inspecting and determining damage would also incur additional Surveyors fees.

Temporary Works Design  

​You may have engaged an Architect and an Engineer but it is likely that no Temporary Works Design/Methodolgy  has been included. This is commonly left to the contractor. The temporary works design and construction methodology is very important if the work includes critical structure i.e. Deep excavation in close proximity of  neighbour’s building,  a basement that includes underpinning a Party Wall or works to remove and replace support to a flat above (this can include many side infill or ‘wrap-round’ extensions).  A contractor may not undertake this work in the safest way as this is not likely to be the most ‘cost effective’ method. Party Wall Surveyors may require that a Temporary Works Design/Method Statement is produced by an engineer and this would attract additional costs if it was not originally allowed for.

Working hours 

A Party Wall Award may restrict the timing of noisy works that fall under the provisions of the Act. This may have a cost or program implication.

Referrals to a Third Surveyor 

​If two appointed Party Wall Surveyors have a disagreement which they cannot resolve, matters may be referred to a Third Surveyor for adjudication. If the third decides against your appointed surveyor you may be liable for all or part of the third Surveyors fee and the fees of the referring surveyors.

Payment for use of an existing Party Wall (previousy built by a neighbour) 

Payment for use of a wall or structure  previously built by a neighbour is covered by Section 11(11) of the Act 
If a neighbour has previously built or raised a Party Wall, for example, to build a loft or rear extension  or if a neighbour has underpinned  a  Party Wall to form a basement then you may have to pay a contribution to use the section of wall in question. This is covered by Section 11(11) of the Act.
Measuring, calculating and agreeing a Section 11(11) payment would also incur additional Surveyors fees.

Adjoining Owner’s Surveyors fees 

​If you are doing work you will probably have  obtained quotes from surveyors so you will be paying a market rate. This does not apply to Adjoining Owner’s surveyors who often charge higher fees than the Building Owner’s surveyor for arguably doing less work.  An Adjoining Owner’s surveyor will not normally propose a fixed fee and he or she will commonly charge a high hourly rate. Adjoining Owner’s surveyors ‘get away with this' because:
a) It is hard to challenge a fee because there is no independent regulation. The only way to appeal a fee is either to a Third Surveyor who a cynic might say is part of the same 'gravy train', or by appeal to a Court which is  expensive. 
b) Challenging surveyors fees can cause delays to a project which are often disproportionate to the sum at stake.
c) The Building Owner’s surveyor does not have much incentive to argue over fees because it is time consuming and he or she is probably on a fixed fee.
Adjoining Owner’s surveyors are aware of the above and this has created an artificial economy where grossly inflated fees are almost the norm.

If we need to spend excessive time challenging unreasonable fees we may need to charge for the time spent.

 UNEXPECTED COSTS:    surveyors fees can be very high but they may only be the 'tip of the icebErg'

Additional site inspections  

​If there are breaches of the terms of an Award or if damage is caused to an adjoining property, Surveyors may make additional inspections which may incur additional fees.

Compensation for neighbour's losses 

The Party Wall Act Section 7 provides that an Adjoining Owner be compensated for any loss arising from the notified works. The validity of any claim in this respect would  be determined by the Party Wall Surveyor or Surveyors and it is not possible to briefly summarise here what losses would be compensatable. 
If damage is caused to an adjoining property the Adjoining Owner has a right to request a payment in lieu of making good the damage. The neighbour who has caused the damage does not have a right to insist that making good damage be undertaken by his or her contractors. A claim for loss in this context might,  if justifiable,  include alternative accommodation and associated expenses.

Determining compensations would also incur additional Surveyors fees.

Abortive Costs 

If an appointed Party Wall Surveyor incurs abortive costs which may be entirely outside of your control for example an Adjoining Owner fails to provide access to their property after a pre-arranged appointment then you may be liable for your Surveyor's additional costs even though the cause was not your fault.

Checking or Advising Engineers 

Where basements are involved or other jobs involving significant engineering, Adjoining Owners Surveyor’s may require advice from a independent engineer - if this is agreed you would  be liable for these additional costs. 

​​Watson Woods SURVEYORS

Party Wall Surveyors

Additional Specialist Surveys 

​A Party Wall Award may require additional specialist surveys which may not have been envisaged or budgeted for. For example surveys of underground drains or chimney/gas flues before or after the Works.

Watson Woods Partnership

Appealing A Party Wall Award 

If you believe that an Award has been made improperly the Act (Section 10(17)) provides that you may appeal it in the County Court within 14 days. After 14 days the Award becomes "conclusive" and unless it it legally flawed it cannot be "questioned in any Court".

Appealing an Award is a 'last resort' and can be very expensive even if you succeed. If you loose an appeal you may be liable for the other party's legal costs and associated losses in addition to your own costs. Before making an appeal you should obtain advice from a Party Wall Surveyor and also seek specialist legal advice.