After serving Notice I decided not to proceed with my Works. Can the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor Invoice for his work, even though there is no Award?

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

Following a party wall dispute and after exchanging some correspondence with the Adjoining Owner’s surveyor, I decided not to proceed with the notifiable works. However, the said surveyor then sent me an invoice for the work he had accomplished for the surveyor.
 
I have been advised by my own party wall surveyor that the Building Owner is obliged to pay for the Adjoining Owner’s surveyor fees only if an Award is reached.
 
If this is always the case, where can I find supporting evidence for it?

Answer

There is no supporting evidence for your surveyor’s view as the Act does not cover what happens when the Building Owner changes their mind and does not complete the work. I am not aware of any relevant case law on the subject either. 

Most surveyors take the view that if a notice has been served there must be an Award; an Award in those circumstances would simply state that the works have been abandoned and cover the surveyor’s fees. If your Adjoining Owner’s surveyor takes that route his fees will increase further to cover the time to agree, sign and serve the Award – if he is happy to just invoice you for the time he has expended to date you may be wise to accept that. 

Personally I can’t understand your reluctance to pay, he obviously acted in good faith to deal with a matter that you instigated by serving a notice.