A Third Surveyor is a Surveyor who is selected by both the Building Owner’s and Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor, their main purpose is to resolve disputes between the two appointed Surveyors.
This means, both the Building Owner and the Adjoining Owner have their own Surveyors, who select a Third Surveyor. If a dispute between the appointed Surveyors occurs, the matter will be brought to the attention of the Third Surveyor who will make a final decision on it. in the Party Wall Surveying process this is called a ‘Third Surveyor Referral’. A referral to the Third Surveyor can be made by anyone involved in the Party Wall process, i.e. the appointed surveyors or the owners.
The Third Surveyor referral process, often consist of discussions between the surveyors, resulting in a dispute, this dispute will be sent over to the Third Surveyor, for his ruling. Prior to this, the appointed surveyors will inform their respective owners, as they will be at financial risk. Commonly the Third Surveyors cost will be settled by the party who loses the referred dispute. A Third Surveyor Referral can be raised for various reasons, i.e. unreasonable requests, surveyors’ fees, any or if the surveyors or owners believe the Party Wall Award is not in accordance with the Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
If you find one of the appointed Surveyors is not responding to communication within Party Wall statutory time frames, your Surveyor can enjoin with the Third Surveyor and complete the outstanding task, ensuring the correct service of the Party Wall Award within sufficient time.
The main downside with a Third Surveyor Referral is the cost. Rates range from £550-£950 +VAT per referral. This may seem expensive; however, Third Surveyors are usually highly knowledgeable and have a vast wealth of experience. This cost is usually paid by the party who lose the referral. A positive that you can take from a referral is if both your surveyor and self believe a neighbouring fee to be high you can refer the matter to the Third Surveyor, and as the Third Surveyor Referral, puts both the Building Owner and Adjoining Owner at financial risk you will find this tends to bring the fee back into a reasonable area!
If you have any questions regarding Third Surveyor Referrals, or the Party Wall process, please give us a call at 020 7493 9087 for free, educated and impartial advice.