We Think our Neighbour’s Surveyor’s Fee is Excessive

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

On the recommendation of our surveyor, the adjoining owner appointed a surveyor. Prior to the issuance of the Award, we have received an invoice from the other surveyor which is in excess or the fee our surveyor is charging and we believe that it is excessive.

My query is whether the Award can be made notwithstanding that the adjoining owner’s surveyor’s fees have not been paid? Our project will be delayed if the Award is not made soon and it seems inappropriate for us effectively to be held to ransom by the other surveyor. I would be very grateful for your advice.

Answer

What is your surveyor’s view on the adjoining owner’s surveyor’s fee? I ask because it is up to the two surveyors to agree the fee or if they cannot it can be referred to the Third Surveyor. This should not hold up the serving of the award as it can be set out in the award that the fee will be determined by the Third Surveyor. If the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor refuses to serve the award on the owners until his fee has been agreed your surveyor can ask the Third Surveyor to sign it on his behalf or proceed ex-parte. 

Bear in mind that Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor’s fees do tend to be higher than Building Owner’s Surveyor’s fees. The reason for this is that your surveyor would have had to quote a competitive fee in advance to give himself a fair chance of being appointed whereas the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor merely tots up the hours that he has expended and multiplies it by his hourly rate – having said that his fee should be reasonable bearing in mind the work that was involved. His fee will also allow for at least 1 further visit.