Help, I want to start work on Monday and my neighbour wants a party wall notice… how quickly can I get a Party Wall Award?
At first it depends on whether you get on with your neighbour, whether your neighbour is cooperative and whether you have a fully designed piece of work (architectural drawings, details and structural engineers details) and how efficient your party wall surveyor is.
Your neighbour can insist on the full two surveyor procedure and the specified time-scales which will put your work back by weeks with all the attendant costs. A notice for work on the party wall must be served two months before you plan to start and you neighbour can insist that you wait this long.
Even with cooperative neighbours and party wall surveyors it is by no means common, or a foregone conclusion, that you will be able to get a fast party wall award within 24 or 48 hours or even get it done in a week.
It is a legal requirement to serve a notice (if you haven’t done it yet you can get your surveyor to do it or use our free party wall templates) and that must be done two months before your work starts, but with a fair following wind and a competent surveyor it can be turned around a lot quicker.
The usual problem is that the building owner has “forgotten” to do the party wall stuff and is stuck in a last minute panic with builders on site and steel work coming tomorrow. To be clear if the drawings and calculations are deficient or your neighbour appoints their own surveyor the Award process could take weeks and we cannot magic a solution up for you.
Getting a quick party wall award
It needs the party wall surveyor to be properly appointed as an Agreed Surveyor by both sides, the notices to be served and dissented from quickly and the schedule of condition to be taken immediately. Only then the surveyor can consider preparing an Award. If everything is in place Collier Stevens have managed to turn around an Award from party structure notice to party wall award in a day but more often than not it takes a week.
The surveyor will need proper drawings, finished calculations and the like, not just a vague idea and a fag packet drawing. If everything is in place then the Award could be agreed the same day and the works start tomorrow but this is not common.
We should also note that whilst this might work for a piece of generally simple work such as a loft conversion or small extension for anything complicated or with significant structural interruption then much more time will be needed to properly review the scheme and obtain all supporting documents.
Oh, and if you want a surveyor to drop everything, accept and get written appointments, attend site, review drawings, liaise with engineers and agree and do a quick party wall Award in a day, it is likely to be costly. Typically this process will take 7 or 8 hours including travelling to site and taking the record of condition at a premium rate so expect to pay at least £1,000 plus VAT.
Or more… which could be hugely less expensive than six weeks of an idle site.
(Originally published by Steven Way, 20 October 2015)