We Served a Notice for Excavating for Foundations but later Changed our Design and Withdrew the Notice. We now are disputing our Surveyor’s Fees.

by The Party Wall Surveyor

Question

We had started to work on a party wall agreement with our neighbour, as it appeared that we would be digging foundations for a new single storey extension deeper than current building foundations. We would be within 3 metres of the neighbours house.

However, we found that the soil conditions were so poor that we would have to go down almost 1.8 metres. This was not acceptable to us and our structural engineer came up with an alternative of building a 1 metre wide foundation, at the same depth as existing building foundations. This negated the need for a party wall agreement.

The neighbours part wall surveyor is now trying to charge us for almost £1000 for 6 hours work. We have seen no work from him, apart from emails, so cannot verify what he has done. He has also made no attempt to agree his charges with our party wall surveyor.

What steps can we take to dispute / agree his charges? We are prepared to make a payment to him, but not for the amount he claims.

Answer

On the basis that he acted in good faith the Adjoining Owner’s surveyor is entitled to charge for the work he has done up until the point that you withdrew your notice or informed him that your works will now not fall within the Act.

The amount is something that should be agreed with your surveyor. To have accumulated 6 hours on his time sheet I would expect the Adjoining Owner’s surveyor to have gone a fair bit down the road to agreeing an Award, probably including a visit to site, so you surveyor should be able to verify that. If there is any doubt he can request a copy of his time sheet.

I would not advise you to pay the bill until it is agreed by your surveyor. If the two surveyors cannot agree the matter can me referred to the Third Surveyor that they would have selected once their appointments had been confirmed.