- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 15 Feb 2018
Expert evaluation of disputes
Expert evaluation is where a neutral third party, with relevant expertise and experience, provides an objective and impartial evaluation of both sides of a dispute. The evaluation provided is not binding on the parties; however, it can provide valuable assistance in settling disputes and moving forwards.
The typical process adopted involves:
- Reviewing both parties’ arguments.
- Reviewing any relevant documents.
- Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of both parties’ arguments.
- Considering what the likely outcome would be of any third party determination.
- Informing both parties of the assessment and advising them how to move forwards.
Having this independent expert view can help the parties to enter, or conclude, formal negotiations with a proper understanding, both of the issues and the risks involved of taking the matter to a third party determination.
Expert evaluation may be suitable:
- Where the parties are already involved in informal discussions and find progress difficult due to uncertainty over an issue outside of their expertise.
- Where the matters in dispute are largely technical in nature.
- Where the relationship between the two parties has not broken down.
- Where both parties wish to conclude the matter and move forwards.
When considering expert evaluation the parties should have:
- Joint understanding that the negotiations have hit difficulties and stalled.
- A willingness to resolve the matter.
- Agreement on the use of an expert.
- Identification of the type of expert required.
- Agreement on the identity of the expert.
When initially approaching an expert, the parties should:
- Agree to joint and several liability for the expert’s fee.
- Provide a description of the negotiation in question.
- Provide a description of the matter on which the expert is required to provide an evaluation.
- Outline the necessary timescale.
The advantages of expert evaluation include:
- Helping make the parties think more realistically about the negotiations.
- Providing an understanding of previously difficult or ambiguous issues.
- Provide an understanding of the risks associated with third party determination.
The disadvantages of expert evaluation include:
- The independent expert is likely to change a significant fee.
- Finding an independent expert that both parties find acceptable can be difficult.
- Both parties may find the evaluation unacceptable and therefore unhelpful in moving the negotiations forward.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Alternative dispute resolution.
- Construction disputes.
- Contract negotiation.
- Dispute resolution.
- Dispute resolution board.
- Expert determination.
- Expert witness.
- Negotiation techniques.
 External resources
Featured articles and news
BSRIA report suggest the European market will double to 415 million Euros by 2023.
Do you understand the different types of stone and which ones you should use where?
Why a wellbeing strategy is vital for property managers.
An ECA briefing for members about the commercial implications of leaving the EU.
A crucial moment on any project - and fraught with danger.
The performance gap from a Northern Ireland perspective.
Book review: Buildings of protestant nonconformity.
Design and testing for health and wellbeing - free download from BRE.
Retention in construction contracts.
Campaign for the reform of cash retentions.
The key points for the construction industry and BSRIA's response.