In this blog post, we will be looking at the role a Third Surveyor plays in Party Wall Surveying process.
If a Party Wall dispute has two separate Surveyors, i.e. The Building Owner’s Surveyor and the Adjoining owner’s. A third Surveyor will be appointed by the two surveyors, prior to commencing their Party wall duties.
The Relevant section of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 in which this relates is S10(1)(b):,
‘Each party shall appoint a surveyor and the two surveyors so appointed shall forthwith select a third surveyor (all of whom are in this section referred to as “the three surveyors”)’
The Third Surveyor’s is called upon when required to resolve any dispute referred to them. The dispute could be referred by the respective owners, or their surveyors.
When is a Third Surveyor Selected?
Usually, the Building Owner’s Surveyor will send a list of three options to the Adjoining Owner’s Surveyor, whom will then select one of the three and proceed. Once selected, the Third Surveyor will be in place throughout the Party Wall dispute process. Until called upon to resolve a dispute, the third surveyor will likely not be aware of the Party Wall matter, or that they have been selected.
Over the years we have come across every possible dispute the Party Wall etc. Act can throw our way, this being one of the less common, however given the topic it is relevant. If the two appointed Party Wall Surveyors, cannot agree on a Third Surveyor. The matter will be referred onto the Local Authority, whom will take over the decision as per Section 10(8) of the Act.
‘If either surveyor appointed under subsection (1)(b) by a party to the dispute refuses to select a third surveyor under subsection (1) or (9) or neglects to do so for a period of ten days beginning with the day on which the other surveyor serves a request on him (a) the appointing officer; or (b) in cases where the relevant appointing officer or his employer is a party to the dispute, the Secretary of State, may on the application of either surveyor select a third surveyor who shall have the same power and authority as if he had been selected under subsection (1) or subsection (9).’
As confirmed, the Third Surveyor’s role is normally called upon to resolve disputes between parties or their Surveyors. However, in accordance with Section 10 of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996, the Third Surveyor can also sign and agree a Party Wall Award, if one of the Surveyors does not uphold their duties within the guided timings of the Act.
More often than not, the two appointed Party Wall Surveyors agree the Party Wall Award, without requiring the Third Surveyor’s input. With that in mind, there are occasions where this isn’t plausible. The Third Surveyor procedure, was included into the Act, to avoid a stalemate situation. In most cases, Third Surveyors tend are selected as a result of their experience within the sector.
If you do find yourself in a situation, whereby a Third Surveyor referral is called upon. Your Surveyor must inform you as you run the risk of additional fees, irrelevant to whether you are undertaking the work or are a neighbouring owner.
How Much are Third Surveyor’s Fees, and Who Pays Them?
Third Surveyor fee’s, range from £800 - £2000 +VAT. Prior to confirming the referral, the Third Surveyor will request the fee to be settled, the party making the referral usually settles this. However, the owner liable for the cost will confirm within the referral, thus putting both sides at financial risk.
If you any questions regarding Third Surveyor referrals, or the Party Wall procedure, please give us a call now, where one of our expert Party Wall Surveyors will give you free, impartial advice.