Builders and civil engineering contractors undertaking construction work near existing buildings will often be required to undertake a ‘Dilapidation Survey’ of adjacent properties before commencing any work.
Dilapidation surveys (also called ‘Condition Reports’ or ‘Building and Surrounds Inspections’) provide a photographic record of the condition of nearby buildings and the surrounding areas that can be vital in the event of a dispute about property damage.
A dilapidation survey protects builders and contractors against mischievous claims by property owners that the building work has caused damage to their property. Similarly, a survey provides a solid basis for a claim by a property owner against a builder in the event that the building work has caused some property damage.
Dilapidation surveys usually highlight existing cracking, but a comprehensive survey will also check the condition of fencing, paving and ground conditions as well as noting general cleanliness.
If building work is about to start near your property make sure the contractor undertakes a Dilapidation Survey – if they are reluctant to do so – take matters into your own hands and commission an independent survey yourself. You may never need to refer to it but in the event that the work causes some property damage you’ll be very glad you have one!
Architects have an eye for and constructional experience to assess these conditions – so you should use one.