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How much does the party wall process cost?

For many reasons, homeowners often choose the option: ‘don’t move, improve’. 

If this means installing a new kitchen or redecorating top to bottom, you are free to do whatever you choose.

However, if your building works are a little more ambitious, and could structurally affect your neighbour’s property because you share a party wall, it’s a very different matter. 

You will need to follow the correct process to make sure you are taking your neighbour’s wishes into account.

This isn’t something you’ll be doing every day, and you may not be sure how to go about it. 

Luckily, our qualified team of surveyors at Richmond Futures, a forward-thinking surveying practice in the London area, are going through this process every day. 

We have helped many clients successfully navigate the party wall process, getting their proposals agreed by their neighbours whilst keeping neighbourly relationships harmonious, and we can do the same for you.

You may be groaning, thinking, “These building works are already costing me a lot of money. How much extra is this Party Wall process going to cost me?!”

In this article, we look into the cost factors, to give you an idea of what you can expect. 


  • Costs vary based on project complexity.
  • Fixed fee or hourly basis.
  • Hourly rates range from £80 to £400 per VAT.


Factors Affecting Party Wall Process Costs:

  • Property size and Photographic Schedule of Condition.
  • Quality of architectural drawings.
  • Number of surveyors involved.
  • Risk of damage to neighbor’s property.
  • Relationship with neighbors affecting potential disputes.


Tips to Keep Party Wall Costs Low:

  • Communicate with neighbors early in the process.
  • Reassure neighbors of damage coverage by you.
  • Offer to pay for neighbor’s Photographic Schedule of Condition.
  • Use experienced surveyor for Party Wall Notices to avoid issues.

What building works are affected by the party wall process?

A ‘party wall’ is a wall standing astride the boundary of land owned by two or more owners. 

It either forms part of a building, it separates two or more buildings, or it is a wall that is completely standing on one owner’s land, but used by two or more owners to separate their buildings.

A party wall can also be comprised of a ‘party fence wall’, like a masonry garden wall, that is joined to a building but stands astride the boundary between the land of different owners in order to separate their land. (Hedges and wooden fences are not included in the definition of a party fence wall.)

How much does a party wall surveyor charge?

Each project is unique and some will be a lot more complex than others, so it’s tricky to put an exact figure on it.

A surveyor acting on behalf of a building owner will sometimes work on a fixed fee basis to reach a Party Wall Award, particularly in cases where the building owner is doing a lot of the work themselves, like drafting the Photographic Schedule of Condition and the Party Wall Award. 

More common, though, is for a surveyor to carry out party wall surveyor work on an hourly basis. Depending on factors like how expensive the area they are based in is, or how big their practice and therefore what their running costs are, or how qualified and experienced their surveyors are, can all dramatically affect a surveyor’s hourly rate. 

Generally, this can range from £80 to £400 per VAT (We charge £195).

It’s useful to remember, however, that, the more experienced the surveyor is, the more quickly they are likely to work, so their hourly rate may be higher but they may only need to charge for fewer hours.

Of course, a more complicated building project like a basement excavation is going to take a lot longer for a surveyor to work on than a simple job like a loft conversion.

What factors can affect the cost of the party wall process?

When you are thinking about the potential budget you might need to cover this side of your building project, you will want to think about:

  • The size of your and your neighbour’s properties – a Photographic Schedule of Condition is likely to be required, and the bigger the area the longer it will take to put this together.
  • The standard of the architectural drawings and plans your surveyor will be working with – the more detailed and high quality they are, the quicker your surveyor will be able to interpret your proposals.
  • How many surveyors are involved – your neighbour has the right to appoint their own surveyor and, if they can’t agree, a third party will need be brought in. The building owner is responsible for everyone’s costs, which includes all surveyors and the extra time and admin involved resolving any disputes.
  • The potential risk of damage to your neighbour’s property, which you would be responsible for fixing.
  • Your relationship with your neighbours. If your relationship isn’t great, there’s a higher possibility that they may dispute your works, which could add to the costs you incur throughout the party wall process.

Who pays the party wall surveyor’s costs?

As the building owner is the person initiating and benefiting from the works, they will be responsible for everyone’s costs incurred during the party wall process. 

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 clearly states that the neighbour receiving a Party Wall Notice has the right to dissent and to choose to appoint their own surveyor. All their fees charged to get to the point of reaching a Party Wall Award agreement will be paid for by the building owner undertaking the works.

How can I keep the party wall costs as low as possible?

Personally approach your neighbour early in the process and talk things through

We always advise a building owner to talk to their neighbours first. It can be quite a shock for a neighbour to receive a Party Wall Notice without knowing a thing about it beforehand, and it can often put their back up that their neighbour hadn’t had the courtesy of mentioning their proposed building works before sending them a formal notice.

Subsequently, this can make your neighbour immediately less compliant, more reluctant to agree to your works and more likely to officially dissent, causing you extra costs and possible delays to your building works.

If you don’t have a great relationship with your neighbours or aren’t in a position to approach them directly, we can do this for you, strategically planning how best to serve your Party Wall Notices, for the best chance of your neighbour giving their consent.

We also recommend that you speak to your neighbours as early as possible in the process. The more included and respected they feel, the more this should facilitate a smooth and agreeable process.

It’s also a good idea to serve the Party Wall Notices by hand, if possible. This enables you to build rapport and gain trust, as you will have the opportunity to talk things through personally, face to face.

Our surveyor at Richmond Futures would also be happy to talk to your neighbours about your plans, hopefully allaying any concerns they may have. 

Reassure your neighbour you will pay for any damage caused by your building work

Another way to keep costs down is to reassure your neighbour that giving their consent to your building works doesn’t mean that, if any damage is caused, they have waived their right to the building owner paying for any remedial repairs needed.

When you discuss your plans with your neighbour, you can reassure them that they will be fully protected even if they agree to your works, and you will honour your responsibility to pay for any remedial works required if any damage is caused to their property.

Offer to pay for your neighbour’s Photographic Schedule of Condition

Yes, this will cost you more money but, if it means that your neighbour is more likely to consent to your Party Wall Notice, it could save you a substantial amount of money down the line – it’s a lot less than paying for two surveyors to agree a Party Wall Award.

Officially recording the condition of their property before your works begin is hugely reassuring for them. Worrying about the potential damage that may be caused to their property by your building works is people’s main reason for dissenting to your works, so this gives them peace of mind that they will be totally protected, and there will be no ambiguity in the case of a dispute.

They will appreciate you paying extra money to protect them and their property and you benefit from investing in a Photographic Schedule of Condition too, as it protects you from any spurious claim of damages that you can prove weren’t caused by your building works.

Use an experienced surveyor to draw up your Party Wall Notices

It can be a case of a stitch in time saves nine… a building owner may decide to find an online template and prepare their own Party Wall Notices to save the cost of appointing a surveyor to do this for them. 

On the surface, they are saving money but, if they are filled out incorrectly (as we have seen happen many times), it can cause extra time and money rectifying any issues.

Also, it is often the case that neighbours don’t trust DIY Notices as much as professionally prepared ones, meaning that they may decide to appoint a professional surveyor to review them, at your cost.

Contact Richmond Futures today

If you need help with the Party Wall process, whether you are carrying out works yourself, or your neighbour is, our friendly, qualified and experienced team of surveyors is here to help and guide you, smoothing the process every step the way.

You can call us on 0208 412 7967, or email us at

We look forward to hearing from you!

All our surveyors at Richmond Futures are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the industry’s regulatory authority. Their strict regulations mean that we have to follow rules of conduct and keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry, ensuring that we are committed to providing you with expert advice that is clear, concise, accurate and in your best interests.