How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

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Emma
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How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby Emma » Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:49 am

I have just been through the party wall process and been presented with a bill for £2,800 for the fees for my neighbour's Party Wall Surveyor- My Party Wall Surveyor told be to expect a bill from them of about £1000.

Does anyone know if there are rules relating to these charges and how they justify them? I am certainly in the wrong job!!

mamma cass
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby mamma cass » Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:45 pm

You have my sympathies Emma, I had a similar experience when we were having a loft conversion and one of our party wall was with a council owned house. The council appolnted a firm of city surveyors who initially said it would cost me about £1500 and then sent me a bill for nearly £3000. After a lot of outraged phone calls and letters I got it reduced to close to the original quote. It seems that this is another one of those jobs - like solicitors, estate agents etc who charge exorbitant amounts for very littleacual work!

Emma
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby Emma » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:34 am

Thank you for your reply. I was hoping that there was official guidance concerning how much can be charged, but it appears it is an open cheque book! Looks like it will be a battle - they won't sign the agreement until I have paid and so they have us over a barrel!! Have a lovely weekend

petal
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby petal » Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:21 pm

Ouch! I feel sorry for you!
My husband reckons it should be in the region of 500-1500 max depending on work.
We got our " nice " neighbours to use our one on one side and he more anal neighbours used their own and also called them a lot and went via surveyor for minor details that could have been settled verbally. Sometime for petty stuff that caused extra work.
perhaps ask for a breakdown of costs and offer your own bill as a point of reference.
I don't think you are in a position to refuse paying the bill unfortunately.
perhaps they have used him for unreasonable amount of work ?!
I would express the surprise at high bill to neighbours
If they are not helpful remember this and use your own surveyor if they need the same favour back ...

mungomuffit
 
 
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby mungomuffit » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:46 pm

Sorry, but I feel a bit happier after reading this post!

Our new and rather pushy neighbours have already put in a major planning application that will affect my beloved property significantly. I intend to get an independent party wall surveyor. The law says it has to be at their expense for obvious reasons and really don't give a toss how much it costs them. They have paid millions for the house, the work will cost another fortune. I don't exactly feel sorry for them.

Emma
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby Emma » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:49 pm

Thank you, looks like we have been taken for a ride!

MMmmm
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby MMmmm » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:43 pm

The guidance we were give was 6-8 hours of work for the neighbours surveyor . We were charged 175 pounds an hour which was undoubtedly the high end of things. Our surveyor charged 8 hours at 125 an hour. We had a fiddly case, due to complicated neighbours, and so i'd hope and expect that in most cases it would be considerably less than this.

Our neighbours surveyor tried to charge us 16 hours for his work, which was a joke and made it very clear that he was either incompetent or just on the make. We decided to pay him for 8 hours work and then advised him if he was still claiming the rest we would dispute this with a 3rd surveyor. We had to pay for the 3rd party surveyor which was at a cost of 350 an hour for 4 hours. Had we lost we also would have been liable for the additional costs of the time involved for both our surveyor and the neighbours surveyor putting together the paperwork to justify their fees. Thankfully we won so there was no cost to us.

Frankly from our experience the law surrounding this whole surveyor business is shockingly unjust. It would seem that although home owners are quite rightly required by law to employ a surveyor to protect the interests of neighbours who may be inconvenienced by a build, there is no law to protect the home owners from unscrupulous surveyors who act unethically i.e. by delaying builds, acting un-independently which they are required to do so by their professional charter and falsifying time sheets etc.

Mungomuffit, just a word of caution, should you decide to appoint your own surveyor which you are totally entitled to do, although your neighbours are quite rightly expected to pay for your surveyors fees, they are only liable for "reasonable" costs associated with a surveyor you appoint. If your surveyor ends up charging a rate deemed unreasonable or charges for more hours work than should be associated with an award you will be liable to pay the difference on the bill.

Emma, feel free to PM me if you want any further advice, I'd be happy to pass on a few different suggestions that I was given when deciding weather or not to take this on. Best of luck working it all out!

Emma
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby Emma » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:21 pm

Dear Michele
Thank you so much for your advice and really sorry you had such a rotten time too. Really helpful message. So far I have asked him to give a breakdown of his costs and time involved in dealing with the case. Unfortunately our Party Wall surveyor was utterly useless! Hopefully they will see that this is unreasonable...all this and we are just trying to be really good and helpful neighbours and ensuring that we have crossed the ts and dotted the is. I may well get in touch if they are unhelpful, thank you very much for offering. Emma

cynic
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby cynic » Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm

Our new neighbour has made a planning application and I have so far received at least 3 unsolicited letters from Party Wall Surveyor companies (who have clearly just looked-up recent applications on Wandsworth's Planning website). Any industry that does this type of cold-calling is clearly full of inflated fees (the property equivalent of ambulance chasing?)

An architect friend of mine pointed out: however you feel about your new neighbours and their plans to build if they get planning permission (which if they've been advised by a decent architect who knows his stuff then they will) then it's gonna happen.
Everyone has a right to build, at some point you may want to build too, or maybe the previous owners did, plus anything the neighbours do now will likely set a precedent you do to the same at some point.

If you want an adversarial situation with your neighbours, then by all means instruct your own party wall surveyor and indeed aggressively instruct them so you all must go down the route of needing a third to resolve the agreement, you can cost the neighbours thousands (and delay them even more) if you like.

I think actually we will try to stay on good terms (wish us luck)

Am I being naive to think it maybe makes sense to actually try to use the same party wall surveyor?
I figure if there's a problem we have one professional to chase, whereas the adversarial route seems to leave scope for all the professionals to slightly disagree (i.e. write reports that cover their own ar*e's but not any of their clients)

Emma
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby Emma » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:37 pm

If you can get the same Party Wall surveyor to do everything then it is certainly easier and saves £s.This is what we did years ago when we did our kitchen and it was easy and painless. I think our problem is that my Party Wall Surveyor is unfortunately totally useless which has meant that the 3rd party wall surveyor has had to do far more phone calls, chasing etc... than is usual and this has cost me. No problem paying when they do a good job, but pretty miffed to be charged extra because my guy wasn't up to the job! Anyway all agreed and sorted and it will probably seem a small irritation as the build progresses...

lorrwa
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby lorrwa » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:47 pm

Warning from me about part-wall chasers!

Our neighbours wanted to do loft extension against ours, put in planning and then I got a letter from surveyors. Obvs didn't read it properly - we're not that chummy with our neighbours, no issues just they keep themselves to themselves. I assumed it was from my neighbours man and did little else. Few months later, massive bill for my neighbours, only then realised that the guy was 'acting' for us. felt sorry for the neighbours, they paid no issue - ah maybe that's why they aren't very chummy!

daddydaycarerocks
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby daddydaycarerocks » Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:18 pm

As lorrwa says the party wall surveyor is working for the neighbours, not the guys that are footing the bill. Our neighbours dissented and we purposely hardly speak to them now after costing us about £3000 in fees (and there was no damage to either of their properties during the build). Option 2 is the best when the surveyor is appointed on a fixed rate basis by the guys that are paying - there are a lot of surveyors out there who will take you for a ride. If we had done that option it would have cost us about £700.

Mungomuffit - your comments are a disgrace.

MGMidget
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby MGMidget » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:58 pm

Here are couple of tricky situations to consider when agreeing to a joint surveyor. Both happened to us.

Firstly as building owner, we had a joint surveyor with our previous neighbour who wanted to hold up the works to a time that suited him better. We thought that the party wall process had a set timetable so that couldn't be done. But hey presto, when you have a single surveyor there is no way to force them to act! The party wall act has a mechanism for dealing with surveyors who sit on their bottoms and do nothing, not sticking to the timetable for preparing an award. This doesn't work when there is only a sole surveyor appointed. The sole surveyor was our neighbour's choice as the adjoining owner. We went along with that to save costs (silly us). It cost us in the end as we had to delay the builders and wait for the sole surveyor (a friend of the neighbours, we discovered) to issue the award in his own sweet time to suit our neighbour). We couldn't even use the complaints procedure of a professional body as, although he was supposedly a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and appeared listed on their website as a member, it turned out he was not and hadn't been for a long time (e.g. a couple of years). We were advised by the faculty to call them to check if someone is a member as they (clearly) don't update their website and members list very often!

Second tricky situation happened when we were the adjoining owner. New neighbours of ours turned on the charm and of course we wanted to be accommodating and save them costs so had an agreed joint surveyor. However, we didn't bargain on the fact that they would a) ignore the surveyors requirements to safeguard our property from damp, structural movement etc and hence breach the party wall award b) that their builders were cowboys with only a mobile phone number, no address and that the neighbours left them to it and didn't check what they were doing and c) that they (with full knowledge) would allow their builders to trespass on delicate parts of our roof causing expensive damage and d) that when the party wall surveyor indicated he was investigating damage at the end of the job they would hire an army of lawyers and experts to dispute it all. Our single surveyor clearly felt this was more than he had bargained for and swiftly backed down on everything leaving us with unexplained damage that wasn't in the schedule of condition and various aspects of the build not complying with the party wall award but with no requirement for rectification. The law is such that the single agreed surveyor acts as judge, jury and everything else with no comeback on a lot of the decisions they make (e.g. if they decide there's no damage when its apparent to see!). The only opportunity you have to dispute anything is if the surveyor makes an 'award' at the end of the job but ours didn't so there was no dispute on his decisions possible and they were bizarre.

The party wall act has the concept of a 'tribunal of surveyors' so that one surveyor cannot act as a rogue or make stupid decisions. There are two others available to ensure balance, professionalism etc. This also adds credibility to decisions when there are big issues at stake such as subsidence, serious damage etc. It keeps the dispute out of the courts so the building owner saves on this expensive cost but the 'tribunal of surveyors' ensures that there isn't one individual with too much power making decisions which cannot be disputed.

So, do watch out for the flaws of using a single joint surveyor. You lose some of the safeguards when you do this. This can be very costly. We are considering a law case for negligence against the agreed surveyor and a complaint to the RICS. That is our only comeback and perceived wisdom is that it is hard to prove negligence. I'm sure if we had had two surveyors and a third surveyor to resolve disputes we would never have been in this position.

davethomas99999
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby davethomas99999 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:22 pm

These guys charged us only £695.00 + VAT

Shop around:

www.localpartywallsurveyors.com

Sloaney Pony
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Re: How much should I pay a Party Wall Surveyor?

Postby Sloaney Pony » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:06 am

I say that if you are thinking of deliberately hiring your own third party surveyor out of spite, be careful. Be very careful!

Goodwill is required on both sides.

And if you make the opening shot, you have all the building works to come afterwards.

You will find parking restrictions outside your home, builders who start bang on 8am with their angle grinders, dust blown over your backyard, migrating mice in your nice new basement conversion etc. and an owner who refuses to pay for the Rentokil brigade (that's no covered by party wall!!!).

All this could be avoided by a simple handshake and easy come, easy go mentality on both sides.

By pulling out what you think are the "big guns" and annihilating your enemy at the opening shot causes them to come back bigger and stronger later.

Golden rule in life: "Love thy neighbour and they will love you back"


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