How to protect your project from costly and unnecessary risk
It can prove be a costly mistake to treat dilapidation survey reports as just another box to be checked off in a development schedule. Many project managers do not treat this process seriously enough and either carry out quick assessments themselves or engage consultants based simply on pricing rather than reliability, quality, detail and accuracy of the inspection and report. It is often the case that these reports are not even reviewed at the point of delivery. This places the construction project at unnecessary risk, especially if the developer or constructor is later looking to rely upon these details to ultimately protect them against any potential claims.
Bennett + Bennett recently worked with a construction company who were forced to depend on a pre-construction dilapidation survey to protect them against a claim from the owner of an adjoining heritage-listed property. Before the project had begun, the adjoining owner had taken a public stance against the development that was set to take place and saw an opportunity to try to exploit the situation. Thankfully the construction company had the sense to undertake both pre-construction and post-construction dilapidation surveys.
As with any building site, small issues can arise and, in this case, they did. However, the developer was made aware of this by the site foreman and measures were immediately put into place to address these items. Once the project neared completion the construction company went about finalising detailed rectification touch-ups on the adjoining properties and then checked these works off against the dilapidation survey reports, thus ensuring the properties were left in the same condition they were at the start of the project. When the adjoining owner demanded further works be paid for, the level of detail shown in the initial pre-construction report, supported by digital evidence, clearly showed they were pre-existing defects and the issue quickly dissolved. This in turn saved the developer and constructor a lot of time, money and unnecessary heartache with any potential legal actions.
The simple fact is this; Dilapidation Survey Reports have become a core component to development works contracts to reduce the very-real risk of unnecessary and expensive disputes.
Below are sample HD Images which clearly detail the scale and type of defects at the time of survey.