When the Party Wall Etc. Act 1996 was going through parliament It was initially intended, that for straightforward building works in a residential setting, the two neighbours would agree on the appointment of one, Agreed Surveyor.
If you do intend to appoint your own surveyor that’s OK but it is sensible to first do some homework and find someone of good repute and reasonable cost to avoid the pitfalls associated with the appointment of a ‘rogue or ‘fee driven’ surveyor.’
Appointing the wrong party wall surveyor could cost you money.
Some adjoining owner’s surveyors think they can charge whatever they like. This is not the case. Under the Act the building owner (your neighbour) can only be responsible for the ‘reasonable fees’ incurred in agreeing a party wall award.
Unfortunately there are too many building owner surveyors who don't like to 'rock the boat' by contesting the adjoining owner surveyor's claimed fees. Fortunately, there are a growing number who will.
Where an adjoining owner’s surveyor comes to me with a high fee I ask if they will reconsider. They often do not because they know that if I refer the matter for determination by the third surveyor it costs them nothing. In fact the most unscrupulous amongst them even want to charge more to make representations to the third surveyor.
As most third surveyors are quite fair and frown upon high adjoining owner surveyor's fees, the result is likely to be that the fee is reduced and the fee of the third surveyor is passed to the adjoining owner.
This could mean an unnecessary cost to the adjoining owner of £500-1000.
Ask your preferred surveyor what they intend to charge - If they are vague, walk away
If they have a high hourly rate - Proceed with caution
Ask them how long it usually takes to agree an award. If > 8hrs - Proceed with caution
Residential extensions and loft conversion fees should not be more than around £1000. If they indicate much more - Proceed with caution
Ask if you preferred surveyor will act as the agreed surveyor if asked to do so by your neighbour. If they say no you may become liable for my fee - Proceed with caution
It is worth noting that most residential works aren't particularly complicated.
There are lots of good local surveyors who are familiar with the Party Wall Act etc 1996 and charge reasonable fees.
A short list of expert Party Wall Surveyors whose adjoining owner surveyor fees are fair.
Watson Woods Partnership
Party Wall Services
There are many others...
8 Second Cross Road
79 College Road