It is a sad fact that contributors to consumer forums are more likely to criticise party wall surveyors as being an expensive irrelevance than praise them for a job well done. Yes, there are surveyors who charge too much, but it is worth looking at some of the reasons why surveyors’ fees may seem high- for example -poor, inadequate or inconsistent information.

Reason One*: Designers rarely show how their designs will affect the neighbouring  properties and it is often the party wall surveyors  who identify issues that should have been resolved at a much earlier stage. Identifying the issues involved in implementing a design is surely part of the designers’ responsibility. Too often a ‘draughtsperson’ is employed just to prepare the bare necessities required to gain planning consent and does not even visit the site.

Here is an example we had recently, where the designer showed a timber and tile dormer for  the new loft for the building owner. The party wall surveyors visited the adjoining owners’ property to record a schedule of condition and found that the party wall had been built up in brickwork. The building owners’ designer had designed something that was impossible to build! This resulted in the building owners having to get their design amended, the party wall surveyors having to spend additional time and (perhaps worst of all) the building owners discovering that they had to make a contribution to their neighbour for the cost of the wall, that they had not budgeted for.

  • Remember, party wall services do not have to be expensive. Talking to neighbours and avoiding conflicts early and providing correct, timely and consistent information is cheaper than resolving things later.
  • Show relevant information about the neighbours’ property. Consider how your proposals will affect your neighbours’ properties at an early stage.

If you are a building owner carrying out work to your property that falls within the scope of the Act or if you are an adjoining owner where your neighbour is carrying out work to their property, Alan Riley Associates can provide you with timely, economical expert advice to guide you through the requirements of the Act.

For free advice, contact Alan Riley FRICS FFPWS on 020 8704 1952 or email

*  I will look at other issues in later blogs