Cost of party wall agreement

Poorly handled party wall procedures have the potential to add hundreds, if not thousands of pounds to the cost of your building project. There are, however, various things that can be done to keep the cost of a Party Wall Agreement to a minimum.

1. Engage with your neighbours before serving the Party Wall Notice

Wherever possible, an informal chat with your neighbours about your plans will go a long way towards pacifying them ahead of you serving your Party Wall Notice.

Showing them your plans in person and reassuring them about the professionalism of your contractor will help alleviate any concerns, and will improve the chances of receiving consent and moving directly to the Party Wall Agreement stage.

Where neighbours receive a Party Wall Notice without warning, they may feel put out, and may be more likely to dissent to the plans, in which case you would need to appoint a party wall surveyor to draw up a Party Wall Award, which will increase the cost of a Party Wall Agreement.

2. Make sure your neighbours are clear on their rights

A lot of adjoining owners are of the belief that if they consent to a Party Wall Notice, then they are giving up their rights to make a claim against the building owner should any damage arise during the building works.

This is by no means the case, so putting neighbours’ minds at rest during your informal discussion will again help you achieve an early consent.

Adjoining owners who consent to a Party Wall Notice do not lose any right to appoint a surveyor down the line to represent them should a dispute arise over the works, or if there is a need to remediate any damage.

3. Take care when choosing your party wall surveyor

Always be careful when appointing your party wall surveyor. Do your due diligence, check reviews and satisfy yourself that the proposed fees are reasonable.

An experienced and ethical party wall surveyor will save you time and money. Ideally, you’ll want a fixed fee quote for the surveyor to act for you should an adjoining owner dissent to a Party Wall Notice. If you can also get a fixed fee for their work in representing the adjoining owner, all the better.

If your neighbours have appointed their own surveyor, you will also be covering those costs, so your surveyor will need to have sufficient knowledge and experience to challenge any fees they consider unreasonable.

It is often worth investing more for experience and foresight. Preparation and communication are key in party wall matters and, by ensuring all the necessary information is to hand, and by providing adjoining owners with ample information and clear advice, a good party wall surveyor can help keep the cost of a party wall agreement down.

4. Offer a schedule of condition

Sometimes, an adjoining owner may be reluctant to consent to a Party Wall Notice, as they will be concerned that should any damage be caused to their property during the building works, they won’t have evidence to prove that the damage hadn’t been there previously.

However, by offering a Schedule of Condition, you are effectively offering to set that evidence down for them.

A Schedule of Condition is a factual record of the condition of a property, specifically detailing the current condition of the affected parts of the adjoining property ahead of works commencing. The cost to the building owner of arranging a Schedule of Condition is generally lower than that of having to appoint a surveyor to prepare a Party Wall Award in the event of the neighbour’s dissent against the Party Wall Notice.

5. Avoid self-filing your Party Wall Notice

The majority of Party Wall Notices filed by building owners themselves turn out to be invalid. Serving a notice requires technical and legal knowledge that only come through training and experience.

Whilst serving your own Party Wall Notice may seem like a good way of keeping the cost of a party wall agreement down, more often than not it will turn out to be a false economy.

Firstly, there is the chance that your self-compiled notice will appear unprofessional to your neighbours, which may prompt them to seek advice from a surveyor and subsequently appoint them, the fees for which will become your responsibility. A set of professionally prepared notices from a RICS chartered surveyor will be more likely to be trusted and receive consent.

It is also typical when self-filing a Party Wall Notice, or using an unregulated party to do so, to fail to describe the proposed works in enough detail. Sometimes the wrong form of notice is used.

An experienced party wall surveyor will ensure all the correct notices are issued, and that they are thoroughly and accurately prepared in order to avoid issues down the line. They will also ensure that all affected adjoining owners are notified. This is another error so often made when self-filing. For example, few realise that freeholders as well as leaseholders need to be notified.

Party wall surveyors accredited by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) are liable for any issues arising with any party wall documentation. So it is in their interests to make sure that every aspect is meticulously taken care of on your behalf.

Free Consultation

Whether you’re undertaking construction works that fall under the Party Wall Act, or you’ve been served a Party Wall Notice, RICS accredited Icon Surveyors is ready to help with clear, qualified advice and reassuringly transparent party wall surveying pricing.

We offer 15 minutes of free telephone advice. There’s no obligation, and we’ll put the advice in writing if you need it. Contact us today and we’ll answer all your questions, from how much does a Party Wall Agreement cost, to how to make the entire process run like clockwork.

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We are a team of party wall surveying experts based throughout London and the surrounding areas. Here, we share informative property survey blogs created by industry experts.



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