Who is liable for Party Wall Surveyors' fees?
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 is invoked when a Building Owner serves Party Wall Notices upon their neighbour, notifying them of proposed works. Where a dispute arises between the parties, they must appoint a surveyor each or opt to appoint an Agreed Surveyor.
The costs of both surveyors are generally the responsibility of the Building Owner who is carrying out the works as they will be benefitting from the proposed works, however the liability for the costs are determined by the Surveyors’ resolving the dispute, in accordance with Section 10 of the Act, and include the following:
1. Making or obtaining the Party Wall Award
2. Reasonable inspections related to works
3. Any other matters arising out of the dispute
Can the Adjoining Owner be liable for any fees?
In most cases, the Party Wall Surveyors’ fees will be paid by the Building Owner carrying out the works, however there are some very rare occasions where an Adjoining Owner may be liable for fees, as detailed below.
If works are carried out to a Party Wall or Structure on account of defect, which is respectively used by both owners, in accordance with Section 11(4).
Any instructions made to their appointed Surveyor which are outside of the scope of the Act (not related to the notifiable works).
If matters are referred to a Third Surveyor and it is concluded in favour of the Building Owner, they may apportion their fees and any associated costs to the adjoining owners.
What if the Surveyors’ fees are unreasonable?
If a building owner does not believe that the Surveyors’ fees are reasonable, they are able to refer the matter to the Third Surveyor or opt to appeal the Party Wall Award (within 14 days of it being served), in the County Court.
It is recommended that you discuss the fees your appointed Party Wall Surveyor and request to see a breakdown of their time spent on the matter, usually in the form of a timesheet.
N.B. If a Party Wall Surveyor is able to clearly demonstrate that their fees are reasonable, it is highly unlikely for an appeal or Third Surveyor to conclude otherwise.
At UNEK Building Consultants, we ensure that our fees are reasonable when acting as Building Owners, Adjoining Owners or the Agreed Surveyor. We are able to provide a fixed service quotation when acting as Building Owners or Agreed Surveyor, and have a set hourly rate when acting as the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor.
We are here to help, so contact us if you require initial advice, a service quotation, or would like to discuss your project with an experienced and suitably qualified Party Wall Surveyor.