- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 30 Dec 2020
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.
Featured articles and news
Tech tools to help manage people and space post-pandemic.
A style that ranges from mock Tudor to arts and crafts to the 'Wrenaissance'.
Free guide from Secured by Design.
BREEAM strategy for sustainability and the circular economy.
Free tool to improve the construction programming process.
Are buildings doing what they're supposed to be doing?
Cities with quick access to everything by foot or bike.
The pressures and pinch points of global destinations.
Making the case for a sustainable future.
Retrofit professionals now entitled to enter CIOB programme.
How, where, when and why stereotypes happen.
Optimising the best features of both energy performance tools.
BSRIA guidance updated in BG 78/2021 publication.
ISO standard supports crime prevention through environmental design.