Keeping party wall costs to a minimum

This article provides ten recommendations to assist you save money when dealing with party wall issues. If even one of these ideas works, you may save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.

1. Early interaction with neighbours

Arrive early and discuss your proposals with your neighbours. If you submit a planning application, be in mind that ambulance chaser surveyors will write to your neighbours, frequently before you have had a chance to speak with them. A party wall conflict may be started before you have even had a chance to speak with your neighbours. Professional bodies prefer to tolerate this behaviour, possibly since it generates party wall charges and increases the industry’s profitability. Don’t put money in the hands of unethical surveyors; rather, communicate to your neighbours as soon as possible so that when there is a conflict, you may be confident that this is at least genuine.

2. Inform your neighbours about the fines.

Inform your neighbour that if they object, it will cost you at least £1,000 to obtain an award for a loft or extension development — and quadruple that if they decide to disclose a surveyor. Notices and ambulance chasing letters do not include cost information, and neighbours may be less motivated to object if they are aware of the financial repercussions. Some neighbours disagree, saying that the process and fees are unimportant, despite the fact that they frequently take centre stage.

3. Appointments of surveyors have been agreed upon.

The agreed-upon surveyor route is simply not widely publicised. Again, the business is not being proactive in this regard, despite the fact that it stands to lose considerable sums of money if the agreed-upon surveyor appointment becomes more widespread. Why pay two surveyors’ costs when one will suffice? This alternative should be considered – it isn’t always suitable, but there should be no reason why you can’t save money by sharing a surveyor to create an award.

4. Describe the concept of consent.

Some people are afraid to consent because they fear that if something goes wrong, they will be absolutely screwed. That is not correct. Accepting a notice just permits the job to begin. If there is damage and a disagreement arises, a surveyor might be appointed to settle the matter through an award. Consenting to a notice does not imply that you agree to unneeded discomfort or damage.

5. Provide a condition schedule

One of the main reasons why people object to notice is that they are concerned about the consequences. They want an inspection of their property before work starts, but they can only receive one if they object to the work and hire a surveyor. Some surveying procedures, thankfully, provide an alternative: ‘consent subject to a list of conditions.’ This allows for a timeline without the hassle and expense of an award. It does not have to be a simple case of agreement versus dissent. Some surveyors have discovered a practical solution that allays a neighbor’s fears of damage in a cost-effective pragmatic way by finding a medium ground.

6. Have notices delivered by a professional for free.

Forget about using templates and filling out forms that are riddled with errors. Instead of attempting to do it yourself, simply contact a surveyor who will serve notices for you as an agent for free, with no obligation to employ his services beyond the serving of a notice. Valid notices are critical because they are used to bring the Act into force. Leave it to the experts to assure compliance.

7. Reduction in fees

Consult with your surveyor to ensure that the fee is appropriate and satisfactory. Will you receive many identical paperwork while dealing with multiple awards? If so, what exactly are you paying for? Because the process is often repetitious and ‘cut and paste,’ a charge decrease may be reasonable.

8. Inquire about additional inspections

Awards frequently allow for unneeded further examinations. Worse, you must pay in advance for an examination that may never take place. Complacency has set established inside the industry, and surveyors are content to accept the money without questioning the necessity or appropriateness of their acts. If these unneeded examinations are avoided, hundreds of pounds can be saved. Of course, they are sometimes required, but necessity should be questioned, and any inspections must be justified.

9. Fees for surveyors

When selecting a surveyor, keep in mind that it is not always about the lowest fees. Some surveyors provide low-cost estimates, perform subpar work, and then rely on the neighbor’s surveyor to complete all of the work. The surveyor hired by your neighbour is almost always more expensive, so the initial savings you thought you were making are anything but. Don’t be comforted by hefty fees, either, because there is no link between high fees and quality of service. Instead, conduct some due investigation on your surveyor. The internet and word of mouth can both assist you in making your decision. A trustworthy surveyor will save you both time and money.

10. Create the Act Out (or even in)

Simple changes to a plan can ensure that the party wall legislation does not apply. There are occasions when there is no way around it, yet there are numerous ways to ‘design out’ the behaviour. However, keep in mind that the act imposes both rewards and liabilities, so consider carefully about what you want to accomplish. Pulling a wall back from the boundary by one centimetre may appear to be a clever technique to avoid a section 1 notice, but do you require access to build the flank wall? If you do, you can exploit the Act to your advantage and avoid having to obtain an access licence.

In conclusion, do not give up on the party wall process. It can be intimidating and costly, but there are numerous things you can do to get ahead. Keep your surveyor honest, and speak with your neighbours as soon as possible – after all, this is a neighbourly affair.