Who is the Third Surveyor?
September 2, 2021
If you have recently appointed your own party wall surveyor, following the service or receipt of a notice under the Party Wall etc Act 1996 (‘the Act’), you should have been informed by your surveyor of the selection of a Third Surveyor. Unlike in the scenario where an Agreed Surveyor is appointed by you and your neighbour, when there are two Surveyors, there is always a Third Surveyor. You or your neighbour may call upon the Third Surveyor before an award is served to deal with the dispute relating to proposed work set out in the notices.
Under Section 10(1)(b) of the Act, it is the first duty of your surveyor and the one appointed by your neighbour, to select a Third Surveyor “forthwith” to form the statutory tribunal. As Section 10(11) of the Party Wall etc. (‘the Act’) provides that either of the parties(you and your neighbour) or either of the Appointed Surveyors may call upon the Third Surveyor, it follows that the two Appointed Surveyors must provide details of the selected Third Surveyor to the parties. Failure to provide such information could be construed as preventing or obstructing the statutory rights of the parties to approach the Third Surveyor.
A referral to a Third Surveyor may arise because of the conduct of the Appointed Surveyors. Whatever the circumstances, such a referral raises a liability for you and/or your neighbour to pay the Third Surveyor’s fees; the Third Surveyor will determine the apportionment of his/her costs in his award. It is therefore crucial for you to discuss this potential liability with your Appointed Surveyor before a referral is made.
For further information on Party Wall procedures visit the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyor’s Website fpws.org.uk and/or Helpline.
Stephen Cornish September 2021