What’s it like working with Harrison Clarke on party wall matters?

Building Owners planning construction works on their property have a lot to think about, including whether their plans will be impacted by the Party Wall Act.

At Harrison Clarke, our priority is to support you, using our extensive experience in party wall matters to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible.

In this article, we walk you through the party wall process, explaining what you can expect from us and what we will need from you.

Whether you are planning a new build on a piece of land that you own, an extension or a loft conversion, the party wall process is fairly standard.

First steps

We will be delighted to receive your enquiry and very happy to help you. We will ask you the address of the property you are planning to carry out works at and whether you have a planned start date.

Other key details we will ask you about will be whether you have full sets of drawings you can give us, including sectional drawings showing the depth and location of any foundations.

It will be useful to know your level of understanding about party walls and, with the party wall process in mind, your relationship with your neighbours and whether they know about your plans.

If you can have all this information available when you first get in touch with us, that will be really helpful so that we can respond quickly and efficiently.


Explaining the party wall process

We offer a 30-minute or one-hour consultation with one of our specialist party wall surveyors, to go through your proposals in detail and explain the party wall process step by step. This is your time to ask us whatever questions you might have, relating to your party wall matters.

This consultation can be carried out over the phone, or via Zoom, or you are of course welcome to visit our offices. We can meet with you on site if you would like us to, but this is not always necessary and can incur additional travel costs. If you are interested in this service, we can give you a cost proposal. 

We have a helpful video detailing exactly what your consultation will consist of, which you can see here. We also have many other videos online, which explain the party wall process in detail and can be accessed for free. 


Costs for expert advice from a party wall surveyor

Our fees are based on a range of factors including the complexity of your project, the distance of the site from our offices, and the number of neighbours affected by your proposals. 

We will, however, be able to give you a fixed fee for producing and serving your Party Wall Notices and for the preparation of your Party Wall Award. 

Once we know more about your project, we can give you an accurate overall fee proposal. 


What happens after you appoint us as your party wall surveyor

When you have instructed us, we will begin preparing your Party Wall Notices. This should usually only take one to two working days, but we will confirm timescales along with our fee proposal. 

Firstly, we will review the information you have provided, determine which aspects of your work are notifiable and draw up the relevant Party Wall Notices. 

You may need a line of junction notice, an adjacent excavation notice or a party structure notice. In some cases, you will need a combination of two or three of these notices. Rest assured, you can trust us to make sure that the correct notices are served on your behalf. 

We have a helpful video which describes what each of these notices are, that you can watch here

Once the notices are drafted, we will either send them by first class post to your neighbour or provide you with PDF copies to personally serve on your neighbour. 

Which method you choose largely depends on your relationship with your neighbour. If it is a positive relationship, in our experience we find that you serving the notices personally, by hand, can often result in a positive outcome and make it more likely that your neighbour will consent. 

If you meet with your neighbour to discuss your proposals, it offers them the opportunity to ask you any questions they might have, and share any concerns. 

Open and honest discussion with your neighbour is a great way to build trust and ensure that you are taking their perspectives into account. 

However, in some cases, it may be best to let your surveyor handle serving the notices for you. 


How long you have to wait for the acknowledgement forms

Once notice has been served on your neighbours, they will have 14 days to return their acknowledgement form. 

We do not recommend that you try to rush this process as it is important that your neighbour has time to consider your proposals and seek advice if necessary. 

If it would be helpful and reassuring for your neighbour to speak to us directly, to talk through your proposals and share any concerns, we are happy to speak to them on your behalf. In this instance, you would need to instruct us and cover the cost for our time. If this is something you are interested in, to help your project move forward smoothly, just let us know and we can provide you with a cost proposal. 

As part of our service, we will also track the progress of your notices – if the end of the 14-day period is approaching we will check in with you to see if you have heard anything. It may be worth reaching out to your neighbours to confirm that they have received the notices if they were sent by post. 

If we have still not received their acknowledgement form by the end of the 14-day period, we will then send them a 10-day reminder notice. 

This notice asks them to respond and, if they intend to dissent, to appoint a surveyor. You should account for this potential further 10 days of the process when you are planning the timescales for your project. 


What happens when your neighbour consents to your Party Wall Notices

This is your ideal scenario. It is great news if your neighbour has consented and you do not have any further obligations under the Party Wall Act. 

However, you should ensure that you keep the acknowledgement form safe. At Harrison Clarke, we ask you to send us a copy of the acknowledgement form so that we can ensure that your neighbour has filled it out correctly and that it is valid consent. 

Sometimes, neighbours can forget to sign and date the form, or not circle the correct box, which is why we like to make sure everything is in order. 

It is also worth considering whether you want to offer your neighbour a Photographic Schedule of Condition. This inspection and report will accurately document the condition of your neighbour’s property before you start your construction works. Should your neighbour make a claim for damage as a result of your works, this report will help to either confirm that damage has been caused or prove that it was pre-existing. 


What happens when your neighbour dissents to your Party Wall Notices

If your neighbour dissent, there are two scenarios that can follow. 

  1. They can agree to appoint your surveyor to be the ‘agreed surveyor’, who will be responsible for drawing up the Party Wall Award.
  2. They have the right to appoint their own surveyor. In this case, as the Building Owner carrying out the works you will be responsible for their surveyor’s costs. 

If you appoint us as your surveyor, we work closely with your neighbours to ensure that any disputes are resolved before you start your works. 

Whilst it may be frustrating to receive dissent, it does not mean that your works will not proceed, although it will inevitably delay the process. This is why it is really helpful to start the party wall process as early as possible.


How Harrison Clarke can help

At Harrison Clarke, we work with you to help ensure that your party wall matters are dealt with efficiently and with the utmost care. Our extensive experience with these projects means that we are well practised in navigating what can be sensitive situations. 

Our involvement maximises the potential of the process running smoothly, keeping delays to a minimum and costs down where possible. 

For further guidance and useful tips and information on the range of surveying services we provide, you can read our blogs and watch our videos. These are available on our website and our YouTube channel


How you can contact Harrison Clarke

Call our friendly, expert and highly qualified surveyors on 023 8155 0051, or email us at info@harrisonclarke.co

We would welcome the opportunity to help with any queries or needs you may have.

At the time of writing, we have a total of 80 reviews across Trustpilot and Google. We are proud to say that they are all 5-star ratings across the board.

Discover something you would like to know more about?

Faye Williams, party wall and building surveyor at Harrison Clarke chartered surveyors.

About the author

Faye Williams,
BSc (Hons) MFPWS Senior

Surveyor & Winner of Young Property Person of the Year 2023

Faye joined Harrison Clarke in 2018. Faye found an interest in Party Wall surveying, and became a Member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors in 2022.

Since then, Faye has set out a revolutionary approach to party wall instructions, by focusing on people and relationships, backed up by expert knowledge. Faye’s approach has saved building owners £1,000s in unnecessary party wall fees.