If you’re planning to carry out construction or renovation work that involves party walls, it’s essential to understand the time frames involved in obtaining a Party Wall Award. While getting a quick resolution is desirable, several factors influence the speed at which a party wall surveyor can complete the process. In this blog, we’ll explore the key elements affecting the duration of obtaining a Party Wall Award and how you can ensure a smoother and quicker experience.
Factors Influencing the Timeline
The first factor that affects how quickly you can get a Party Wall Award is your relationship with your neighbour. If your neighbour is cooperative and open to discussions, the process is likely to move forward more smoothly and efficiently. However, if your neighbour insists on the two-surveyor procedure, it can add weeks to the process, potentially delaying your work.
Completeness of Documentation
Having fully designed architectural drawings and structural engineer details in place is crucial for expediting the Party Wall Award process. Without comprehensive plans, the surveyor may face difficulties in assessing the impact of your proposed work on the party wall and its adjoining properties, leading to delays.
Efficiency of the Party Wall Surveyor
The competence and efficiency of the appointed party wall surveyor play a significant role in determining how quickly the Award can be obtained. An experienced surveyor will know the requirements and procedures, allowing for a more streamlined process.
The Required Time Frame
By law, a party wall notice must be served at least two months before commencing work. This notice period is non-negotiable and cannot be expedited, even with a cooperative neighbour. During this time, your neighbour can dissent from the notice and require the two-surveyor procedure, which might further prolong the process.
However, under favourable circumstances, with both parties in agreement and all necessary documents in place, a competent party wall surveyor can turn around an Award from the party structure notice to the final Party Wall Award in as little as a week. In rare instances, when everything is in perfect order an Award might even be achieved within 24 to 48 hours. This typically applies to simple projects like small extensions or loft conversions.
Complex Projects Require More Time
It’s important to note that for more complex projects involving significant structural modifications or interruptions, the review process will naturally require more time. Properly reviewing the scheme, obtaining supporting documents, and liaising with engineers demand careful attention, which can extend the timeline.
The Cost of Expedited Service
If you’re in a time crunch and need a party wall surveyor to expedite the process significantly, it’s essential to understand that such services come at a premium cost. Surveyors may need to invest extra hours, including site visits, record of condition assessments, and coordination with engineers, which can result in higher fees. It is not uncommon for such expedited services to cost at least £1,000 plus VAT or even more.
In conclusion, the speed at which a party wall surveyor can complete the process and issue a Party Wall Award depends on various factors, including neighbour cooperation, completeness of documentation, and the efficiency of the surveyor. While it is possible to achieve a quick resolution, especially for simpler projects, more complex ventures will naturally require additional time for a thorough assessment. If you find yourself needing expedited services, remember that such convenience comes at a higher cost. To ensure a smoother experience, it is advisable to engage a qualified party wall surveyor well in advance and maintain open communication with your neighbour throughout the process.
For more information about the Party Wall Act in detail, check out this article.