The truth about fees

It's true what they say - if you're renovating, you end up spending a small fortune on fees before you've purchased so much as a brick.

Because we're taking out all sorts of load-bearing walls and converting the loft space, we had to get in a structural engineer to take some measurements and draw up detailed sketches. Inevitable really, as the house might fall down otherwise - but definitely not cheap.

Our lovely surveyor, Michael Vince, is also qualified to do the architectural drawings (see previous posts). He kindly agreed to a one-off fee regardless of the number of re-drawings required. The poor chap is living to regret it, thanks to endless wrangling with Haringey Council about what we can and can't do. Keep the faith, Michael.

We have also had to organise a party wall agreement because the work we're doing can potentially affect our neighbours' properties. Michael Vince also did this for us. Both neighbours have to confirm they're OK with the work, and as one neighbour is a council tenant, we also had to pay for the Haringey people to come and check it out. It would have been even more pricey if either side objected, but luckily they succumbed to Michael's charms and we're good to go on that front.

We discovered rather late in the day that there are whopping fees to pay to the council's building control department for site inspections throughout the process. This depends on the extent of the work you're having done, and as we're going for an extension as well as a loft conversion, it was £996.

Last but not least, there's the fees for the planning application - £75 for a certificate of lawfulness, £150 for a householder planning application. The government's planning portal is really handy for this, you can apply online and upload all your documents. Since we got some dodgy advice from Haringey about what to apply for, they're not charging us the 2nd time around.

So here's the damage. This is actually quite cheap, as we've gone with contacts of friends etc:

Drawings and party wall agreement - £2400

Party wall fee for council call-out - £500

Structural engineer - £960 (will rise with any amendments and site visits)

Building Control fees - £996

Planning application - £75

TOTAL: £4931

Has anyone seen The Money Pit? Keep meaning to, but fear is holding me back.