When Is It Necessary to Hire a Party Wall Surveyor?

Whether or not you require the services of a surveyor before undertaking construction work on a party wall, it is essential to begin by understanding whether or not the work which will commence requires sending out a notice to the other property owner. In instances when matters related to the construction reach an amicable resolution between the two involved parties, a party wall surveyor may no longer be necessary.

When is it necessary to serve a party wall notice?

As outlined in the Party Wall Act of 1996, a building owner who plans to undertake construction work affecting the party wall, or any work such as excavating close to the boundary needs to serve a notice to the adjacent property owner. The purpose of serving notice and undergoing mediation is to receive an award to commence with the construction especially if the work is any of the following:

  • Digging the foundation to add an extension
  • Converting the loft or adding extensions
  • Demolishing an internal wall which may need the support of the party wall

Most of the responsibilities of a surveyor involve the legal processes and steps required to secure an award. The Party wall surveyor cost varies from one firm to another and as such, it is essential to research and compare various services to get the best value for your payment.

Steps in securing a party wall award

To determine whether you need to hire a party wall surveyor, here are the respective steps involved in obtaining an award.

  1. Serving a notice. The essential first step in the process is serving notice. The notice is essentially a letter which you can draft using a template but before sending a notice, make sure that you enclose a reply envelope which the receiver has to sign and send back. If possible, have a casual conversation first with your neighbour before sending the letter to give him or her a heads up.
  2. Wait for the reply. Your neighbour has 14 days to respond to the letter. If the response is positive, you can commence with construction without the help of a surveyor provided that there is an explicit agreement and the project is small. In case the response is negative or does not reply within 14 days, you will need to secure an award and therefore require the services of a surveyor.
  3. Choosing a party wall surveyor. It is common for both parties to appoint a single surveyor. This arrangement is typically faster and less expensive. The appointed surveyor will be an impartial party to the matters whose responsibility involves only the legal aspects of the party wall.

Hiring a party wall surveyor may cost around £1000, and this includes the services that will ensure you get the award to continue with the construction project. As a standard requirement, you will need to provide the surveyor with detailed information regarding the project plan which an architect can help you with. You also need to ensure that you are using the correct form because different types of construction require a particular kind of document.

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