The Taylor couple had a swimming pool constructed in their yard; they were happy with this addition in their property. Days later, the Council informed them of potholes that had formed on the road and other damage due to the heavy machinery used for excavation and construction. The Taylors, however, maintained that the potholes were there even before they had their swimming pool built. However, when asked for a legal record of the property condition prior to the construction job, the Taylors had nothing to show to prove their claim.
The couple failed to secure a dilapidation report, which can be obtained through inspection of the structures surrounding the proposed construction site. Had they done this, they would have prevented any potential claims of damage to council infrastructure assets and neighbouring properties.
The Importance of Dilapidation Inspection
In NSW, infrastructure makes up more than half of the council assets base. Amounting to $105.6 billion in net value, this includes drainage and sewer networks, water supply, fences, gutters, and roads (including footpaths, bridges and other related assets). Community members directly benefit from these assets, and helping preserve these is a part of their social duties.
Before starting any construction job, contractors and builders are encouraged to conduct dilapidation inspections as part of construction risk management. It is instrumental to the success of forthcoming construction projects. One of the main features of this inspection is the assessment of the present condition of council assets, especially those in close proximity to the prospective construction site.
A dilapidation inspection helps prevent many of the complications that can arise from construction work on your property. Most local government authorities and councils require this inspection before starting any construction activities. It provides you with a record of the adjoining properties’ condition, both before and after the construction work. With a documented report, the actual state of the property is clear to everyone concerned.
Reasons for Dilapidation Inspection
Heavy machinery, vibrations, excavations, and the constant movement of equipment and workers are often enough to cause damage to properties surrounding the construction area. These properties are not just your neighbours’, but also council assets. The most common damage to these assets include:
- Cracked walls
- Broken paving
- Falling branches
- Damaged plumbing or drainage
- Damaged fencing
- Deteriorating land stability due to soil excavation or removal
A dilapidation inspection therefore becomes necessary to protect yourself against claims of property damages. The Council may even require a dilapidation report for any construction job to establish the condition of the properties contiguous to the project site. The dilapidation report must comply with the Australian Standards.
Benefits of Dilapidation Inspection to Council
The story at the beginning of this article should give you a clear idea of how a dilapidation inspection can save you from potential claims that may end up in costly litigation. This vital inspection also maintains council assets that are valuable to the community.
· Preserves council grounds and building
Maintenance of assets and structures such as streets, parks and gardens, and libraries is one of the many responsibilities of the Council. Any type of construction, like renovation or demolition, can affect these assets.
One way to safeguard its condition is through an inspection before commencing any construction project around a council asset. In case of damage to council assets due to a construction job within the vicinity, the Council may require it be fixed. The dilapidation report can serve as a reference, making it easier and simple to settle matters with the responsible party.
· Gives the opportunity to fix previously overlooked pre-existing damages
Dilapidation inspections may reveal any damage that is already present that councils are not aware of. It could be cracks on retaining walls or damage to the roadways that could eventually progress to potholes. A documented report bearing the details and photographic evidence of the pre-existing damage will help address problems regarding these assets.
· Maintains public safety and security
Council asset damage has the potential to cause accidents and injuries. Uneven footpaths leading to slip and fall accidents, and potholes causing the vehicles to skid and knock pedestrians or hit other vehicles are common.
This is why keeping council assets in good condition through proper maintenance is essential. A dilapidation inspection can help detect issues that need fixing. It also obligates builders and contractors to keep surrounding properties safe from their construction activities.
· Promotes the beauty and integrity of the community
Well-kept assets not only promote a safe and sound neighbourhood but also create a beautiful, positive impression in the community. People are also more likely to visit or move in communities with attractive shared facilities.
Before You Commence with Any Construction Project
You should consider having dilapidation inspection done before starting with any construction works, such as:
- Erection of new houses or detached residential structures such as sheds and other outbuildings
- Renovation or extension of residential or commercial property
- Infrastructure or civil works
- Any kind of infrastructure upgrades
You may be required by your local authority to carry out dilapidation inspections and provide copies of the report. It should detail any existing damage to public assets before your construction project, with accompanying clear photos. This will make for easy identification of damages after the construction work, and prevent disagreements or disputes later on.
Who Can Carry Out a Dilapidation Inspection?
Dilapidation inspections are usually performed by independent third-party property inspectors or surveyors. This is to avoid conflict of interest between the parties involved. You, your neighbours, building contractors, or Council Certifiers may request this inspection report before starting any construction work.
This kind of inspection will provide concerned individuals with proof of property condition and can be used as a reference in the event of property damage claims. It helps protect your interest as well as the neighbours’ and council assets.
For dilapidation inspections, choose only a registered builder with the right knowledge, expertise, and experience in the field. Exceptional Building Inspections conducts thorough property condition surveys and provides a comprehensive report. Our skilled inspectors understand how heavy trucks, compactors, digging equipment, and other machinery can impact neighbouring properties, and they recognise these vulnerable areas.
You can trust our team to carry out a professional, unbiased, and detailed inspection job. Contact us today for all your inspection needs in NSW.