One of the characteristics of a thriving neighbourhood is the construction of new property, including high-rise developments and infrastructure projects.
Demolition and excavation work requires a lot of heavy machinery and equipment that can cause some serious damage to the worksite. This might result in the alteration of existing terrain and the removal of soil, plant, or even trees. Sometimes, demolition may also involve knocking down parts of an existing structure.
Even if the demolition and construction processes are carefully managed, the sheer amount of work and traffic has the potential to cause damage to nearby infrastructure. It is often difficult to prove how the damage occurred and who was at fault. The damage can also be costly to repair.
Any property that’s close to a construction site has to be evaluated to prevent future disputes. These property assessments are called dilapidation surveys.
If you’re a contractor or property developer, a dilapidation survey before starting a new project is essential to protect you from possible dilapidation claims.
If you are a property owner and a builder is about to start work on a new structure adjacent to your home or commercial space, you need to ensure that there is a record of the current condition of your property before work begins. This will protect you from any dilapidation issues in the future.
Neutral third parties often file building condition reports during the initial construction phase.
What is a dilapidation report?
A dilapidation report is an assessment of the current condition of a property before any construction is done around the area. It includes any structural damage and specific aspects of the property that are likely to be affected by demolition, excavation, or construction work.
Your local council may require a dilapidation report before approving a development project. This report will be used in situations where homeowners make claims for damage to their property caused by construction work nearby.
Inspectors conduct dilapidation surveys on nearby properties before construction work begins and after the new building’s completion. Comparing these reports will show if any damage was caused by the excavation, demolition, or construction work.
Prevent any conflict of interest by letting a neutral third-party conduct dilapidation surveys.
The first stage involves documenting any pre-existing structural damage before construction on an adjacent property commences.
The second stage involves inspecting nearby properties after completion of the project. The pre- and post-construction dilapidation report will prevent disputes in the event of that a home or building sustains damage as a direct result of construction work at a nearby property.
What does a dilapidation report include?
Dilapidation surveys are carried out by experienced building inspectors who are knowledgeable in the particular aspects of a property that are likely to be affected by construction. These technical experts know exactly what to look for during a dilapidation inspection.
Dilapidation surveys take place before demolition, excavation, trench digging, earth compaction, and drilling around an existing property. The dilapidation report records the condition of existing cracks and defects with notes, measurements, diagrams, and photographs.
There is a second inspection after completion of the project to assess any changes to the condition of the property as documented in the first report. The second survey will identify debris, cracks, subsidence, and water damage, and determine a course of repair.
The dilapidation report is signed by the owner of the inspected property and the contractor or developer having construction work done.
Why you should obtain a dilapidation report
The building of a new wall, road, or underground infrastructure, as well as demolition projects and alterations to an existing property, can all affect nearby buildings.
Heavy machinery used for the removal of substantial amounts of soil can cause damage to the surrounding area.
Even with careful planning and skilful management, it is sometimes inevitable for damage to occur on adjoining properties.
With a dilapidation report, the builder and property owners are all protected against messy disputes in the event of damage.
Here are three reasons why you should conduct a dilapidation survey.
1. Independent report from a professional
A dilapidation report documents the current condition of a property and outlines areas which may be prone to damage. These can include:
- Deterioration of roofs, gutters, and downpipes
- Water damage to floors, walls, cornices, and ceilings
- Cracks in brickworks, road surfaces, and footpaths
The final dilapidation report includes a detailed written document, photographs, and even video. A neutral professional inspector should be able to provide an independent in-depth report without any bias towards either party.
2. Extensive guide for builders and contractors
With a dilapidation report on hand, a contractor can assess the condition of adjoining structures and take proper precautions during construction. They can take measures to minimise movement, vibration, and water overflow that could affect adjacent surfaces or features.
A dilapidation report can also guide contractors during the restoration process after completing the project. In cases where roads or landscaping had to be moved during construction, the dilapidation survey can help restore these original structures to the way they were.
3. Protects contractors from fraudulent claims
Building contractors often take the blame for the damage that occurs on surrounding properties. If you have a dilapidation report, you cannot be liable for damage that was present before you started construction. The report serves as evidence to defend against outrageous demands and prevent expensive, drawn-out litigation.
When to order a dilapidation survey report
For builders, contractors, and real estate developers:
Order a dilapidation report before you carry out any digging, piling, demolition, renovation, or construction work. It can protect you from any potential claims from third parties.
For residential and commercial property owners:
Order a dilapidation report before any renovation, alteration, demolition, construction, reconstruction, or underground work is done in your neighbourhood.
Property owners who are planning to renovate their own homes or buildings should also get a dilapidation report to identify any point of weakness, instability, or degradation.
Dilapidation surveys are necessary regardless of the scale of the project. EBI conducts dilapidation reports anywhere within a 70-kilometer radius of Newcastle. Our team will be happy to assist you with your building inspection needs. Contact us to organise a survey for your new project.