Solicitors and Surveyors

Following discussions between representatives of the Institution of Surveyors NSW Inc. andthe Association of Consulting Surveyors (NSW) Inc. with the Property Committee of the Law Society NSW, it has been agreed by the representatives of those bodies that the following joint statement be published in their respective journals in an endeavor to establish a framework which will facilitate professional relations between their respective members. This statement relates to responsibility and conditions for liability for survey fees.

The position is as follows:

a) Where an individual, the client, issues an instruction to a Surveyor that necessitates the subsequent presentation of plan(s), report(s), etc. to the client’s solicitor, the client is liable for any survey fees and as such any account for survey fees should be rendered to him/her and not to the solicitor.

b) Where a solicitor issues any instruction on behalf of a client, either one of two conditions apply:

  • The solicitor may advise that s/he is acting for a client, but does not intend to be responsible for the surveyor’s fee. S/he should then disclose the full name and address of his/her client. The surveyor should then make contact with the client and form a contract with him/her.
  • In any other case a contract should be formed between the Solicitor, as Principal, and the Surveyor. The Surveyor should then confirm the costs and terms of payment in writing so that the Solicitor knows what to charge the client and can obtain an advance on the disbursement.

It would be unacceptable to delay payment to the Surveyor past the noted invoice date unless a specific agreement has been made between the Surveyor and Solicitor regarding payment of the account.

c) If a dispute arises, both parties are at liberty to submit a statement of facts to the Law Society Dispute Committee or the Survey Practice Sub-Committee of the Institution of Surveyors NSW Inc. for adjudication, together with the undertaking to abide by the decision made by the committee chosen.

d) The Solicitor should be specific with his/her instructions and mention the deadline for a Report, the provision of Title searches, access arrangements and any special requirements peculiar to the site. The above statement supersedes any information previously given by the Law Society of New South Wales or the Institution of Surveyors NSW Inc.

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Bossi SSSI Consulting Surveyors SMIC