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Hiring a party wall surveyor in London: How and when to do it

by LLP Reporter
26th Jun 23 4:12 pm

Every London homeowner knows that navigating the world of property management in such a bustling city is never straightforward, and party wall related matters can be especially complex.

Below you will find a comprehensive guide which explains when you should seek to hire a party wall surveyor to help with your property project and how you can hire the right one for the job. We will explore the role of a party wall surveyor, what they are (and aren’t) responsible for, the situations where one is required, some of the costs involved and what criteria you should use when selecting the right surveyor for your project.

First, let’s discuss what a party wall surveyor even is.

What is a party wall surveyor?

A party wall surveyor is a professional that specialises in consulting on party wall related matters and resolving disputes which fall under the UK’s 1996 Party Wall Act.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing, mitigating and resolving disputes which relate to shared walls (like the wall between a terraced house or a garden wall built over a boundary).

When someone (the “Building Owner”) intends to carry out works which will impact a wall shared by their neighbour (the “Adjoining Owner”), they must get consent for the works in advance to avoid any disputes or legal liability further down the line. In such cases an experienced surveyor will be called in to provide impartial advice to both property owners to ensure that the work is completed to everyone’s satisfaction.

Next, let’s explore when you should even consider hiring a party wall surveyor.

Why hire a party wall surveyor?

Technically and legally, anyone who is not involved with the works can act as a party wall surveyor. However, this doesn’t mean that you will want just anyone acting on your behalf when it comes to reducing the risk of or resolving party wall disputes.

You will want to hire a party wall surveyor to ensure that your party wall related works are carried out smoothly, and without unexpected legal costs or liability in the event that your works fall outside of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.

Hiring a party wall surveyor has several key benefits:

  • Reduced risk of legal liability in the event that damage occurs to the party wall.
  • Making it easier to sell your property should you decide to because all the party wall works will have the required documentation and have followed the correct process laid out in the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
  • Peace of mind knowing that you are less likely to run into disagreements and/or arguments with your neighbour.
  • Saved money by avoiding building delays as party wall related matters are discussed, addressed, and agreed.

In short, there are many benefits to hiring a party wall surveying including peace of mind, minimal stress, smoother building works, and minimising building costs or legal fees and liability.

How and when to hire a party wall surveyor in London

Embarking on a construction or renovation project in London, especially when it involves party walls, will require careful consideration and adherence to relevant legal requirements. Hiring a party wall surveyor is an essential step in this process.

In this section, we provide a detailed guide on the process of hiring a party wall surveyor, including the time frames and the factors to consider when selecting the right professional for your building project.

1. Determining the need

Before hiring a party wall surveyor, you must first evaluate whether your project falls under the scope of the Party Wall Act or not. If your construction or renovation involves shared walls, or is in close proximity to neighbouring properties, it’s likely that you will need a party wall surveyor.

2. Time frame for hiring

When you are dealing with a party wall related matter, it is important to engage a party wall surveyor early in the planning stages of your project.

According to the Party Wall Act, you must notify the adjoining owners at least two months before commencing any construction work that falls under the Act, although reaching out to and hiring a chartered surveyor at least three to four months before the start date is advisable. This will give them a good amount of time to discuss with you and assess the situation, prepare the necessary documentation and communicate with any adjoining owners.

3. Gathering quotes

You don’t need to settle for the first party wall surveyor you come across (although this isn’t to say that they won’t ever be the best option). It is essential that you gather quotes from multiple experts. This will not only provide you with a range of cost options but will also give you a better understanding of what services are typically included and how each service provider may differ.

Be sure to let any surveyor that you speak to be aware that you’re in discussion with other companies, as this will mean they give you their best price up front and you can avoid any unnecessary back-and-forth.

4. Checking credentials

Finding the best party wall surveyor London has to offer means ensuring that the surveyors that you are considering hiring are a member of a recognised professional body, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This affiliation assures that the surveyor adheres to high professional standards, and is invested in building their reputation by delivering exceptional services.

5. Assessing experience and expertise

Look for a surveyor who has experience with the type of construction or renovation that you are undertaking. Ask for references or case studies of similar projects they have worked on and look at their website to determine if they are already highlighting this there. Their expertise in handling similar scenarios will prove invaluable and could save you considerable time, money and stress.

6. Understanding the scope of work

When you are considering hiring a surveyor, make sure you understand the scope of the services they will provide. A good surveyor should be able to explain clearly what their role will be, the steps they will take to ensure compliance with the Party Wall Act, and how they will communicate with you and the adjoining owners. They should also make it clear what is not included, for example they are not required to side with the person who hired them should any dispute arise (they are hired to be impartial advisors to the works not any one building owner).

7. Finalising the agreement

Once you have selected a party wall surveyor, it’s essential to get a written agreement that outlines the scope of work, fees, and any other important terms. Make sure to read and understand the agreement before signing. Keep this somewhere safe in case you need to refer back to it later, or if potential purchasers request to see it should you decide to sell your property in the future.


Hiring a party wall surveyor in London requires thought, consideration, and timely action. By adhering to this guide, you will be well-equipped to select a competent professional who can help ensure that your project complies with legal requirements and maintains good relations with adjoining property owners.

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