Party Wall costs

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by Charles Morgan, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Club Veteran

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    I am looking to buy an old property which needs a fair bit of work to put it into good order. As part of the survey some damp was found in a party wall with the next door property which will need to be sorted. I am unafraid of damp, having lived in basements for years, but after an experience with an unhelpful neighbour I am less happy about party wall procedures as they are the perfect opportunity for surveyors to go off on a frolic.

    Does anyone have a sense for the costs involved in the procedure if the other party to the party wall is very unhelpful? I can live with the cost of doing up the damp, but I would most probably seek a retention (or better still a price reduction) to cover the cost of the party wall award if next door proved unhelpful.

    Many thanks for any contribution!
     
  2. nick.ged

    nick.ged Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    depending on the age and construction of the property, the party wall should have a cavity, if it has, and it is rising damp, you can damp proof your side without having to even tell the person next door.

    the cost? depending on who does it, and the size of the problem, should be less than a grand.

    If it is penetrating damp, the issue may be from their side, and could be very costly, or not at all expensive, depending on the problem.
     
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  3. developer

    developer MB Club Veteran

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    I had a party wall award due to an obstructive neighbour. I'll see if I can find the costs in my file.

    However, be aware that as the instigator of the action you have to pay for both yours and your neighbour's surveyor.

    Edit:£450 for my guy and £550 for the neighbour's guy, both plus VAT and in 2006, however, I should add that this was a new build on the boundary line, with joint inspections required at various stages. It sounds like your level of surveyor input will be less so costs shoud be less.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2011
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  4. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Charles

    I've acted on a few of these. my costs rarely go above a few hundred pounds. Survey at start, and survey at the end with a little bit of paperwork in between.

    The unknown is always the other side. It can be the same to huge depending on attitudes etc. I know of one case which was originally a party wall case. I decided that it was not actually a party wall, although we still did the inspection to cover my client. Neighbour is nuts, and on his 4th court case, this one being over the cost of his surveyor, for what was not a party wall. He's yet to win a case...

    Other thoughts, is depending on your attitude and what work you are doing, while it is law to comply with the act, there is no punishment if you do not.

    Finally if this is going to benefit your neighbour, why not 'persuade' them that this is mutually beneficial and that you should have the work carried out jointly. Issues disappear totally.
     
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  5. corned

    corned Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Not necessarily. Until you see the colour of their money, they can agree to anything without any intention of seeing it through...
     
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  6. OP
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    Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Club Veteran

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    Thanks all. Much as I would like it not to be a party wall, I think I have to work on the assumption it is, until proved otherwise.

    My plan/inclination is to try and reach some form of agreement with next door without the need for a party wall notice, but I have had this before and a reasonable / logical position of trying to resolve a common problem (damp in a party wall) was met with the neighbours retaining Farrers (the Queen's solicitors and not cheap) and I foresaw a huge world of pain and cost. So in went a false wall, which didn't resolve the issue, but merely hid it.

    My understanding is that I will be liable for both my and neighbour's surveyors fees, plus the neighbour's costs in rectifying any damage caused by my works (in this case, the injection of a chemical damp course, which could easily lead to a problem on their side of the wall), plus obviously re-decoration costs for them.

    I can get a handle on the rectification costs, but the costs of surveyors is a big unknown.
     
  7. Ade B

    Ade B Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hi Charles

    Going rate in London appears to be between £750 to £1750 plus VAT per Award depending on the scope of services required.

    I guess if the neighbour dissents, then you are looking at the same again. In theory, all costs have to be reasonable. The process can be quite protracted, over 8 weeks if there are issues.

    In our experience the same surveyor usually acts for both parties which helps.

    Another option may be one of the myriad lining systems out there provided the timbers can be isolated.


    Ade
     
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  8. finisterre

    finisterre Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Have you had a chat with the neighbours?

    I think it might be a sensible thing anyway. If they are obviously difficult it will save ever so much trouble to walk away.
     
  9. OP
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    Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Club Veteran

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    It's on the list of things to do. I'll keep my Wagner interests quiet.

    Cost of damp work suspiciously low.
     
  10. finisterre

    finisterre Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    it isn't hard

    chop off plaster (30 mins sq meter)
    drill holes (two per brick, couple of minutes max)
    inject smelly stuff ( thirty seconds a hole)
    re-plaster with renovating plaster (£15 a meter maybe)
    a monkey could do it. (though the plastering may look a bit slapped on)

    Then spend weeks trying to find a joiner that can make good the damage to the original skirtings and pay him more than it seems reasonable to have the appropriate mouldings made up.
     
  11. Meldrew2

    Meldrew2 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    At least we would know what blend of tea to serve.....

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  12. Mike Walker

    Mike Walker Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Charles
    A long standing friend of mine is a Chartered Building Surveyor who I am happy to put you in touch with if you wish. Won't cost anything to have a chat with him and he can also give you hourly rates/budget estimate etc.
     
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  13. bolide

    bolide Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Do you really need a party wall agreement to do this? I thought it was more for work where the wall might shift - such as removing floors & adjoining walls

    Nick Froome
     
  14. developer

    developer MB Club Veteran

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    If you and the neighbour agree about the work/procedure etc. then no party wall award is needed. Neighbourly agreement is always the best/cheapest way in normal circumstances.

    If, however, the neighbour doesn't agree then the award enables you to proceed with the law on your side.

    The surveyors are interested in what's best for the building, not either party.

    As an example of the clout the award carries, my neighbour, despite me having the award, locked his side gate and refused to allow my contractors access. I called the Police who told me it was a civil matter and they wouldn't attend. I explained I had a party wall award and they then attended and told him they would charge him with breach of the peace if he didn't open the gate.
     
  15. OP
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    Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan MB Club Veteran

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    I fear it is, Nick. A chemical damp course will go all the way through the wall and may well cause issues on the other side. I have had exactly the same situation before and my architect advised me that a party wall agreement was necessary. Having reread the guidance it is a huge Pita.
     
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