Schedule of Condition – always a must?
In this blog we will look at whether a schedule of condition is necessary before construction works begin. Very few people would accept taking a rental car without first making a note of the giant scratch down the passenger side door with the dealership, so why take the risk with construction works?
Take notes and photos!
What is it?
A schedule of condition is defined by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors as “a record, factually, of the condition of a property on a particular date… they usually contain both written statement of the condition of the building and a photograph to contextualise this”. Schedules of condition are simple documents when compared to other surveyors’ reports, however this means they also have the benefit of being easily read and understood by all parties.
Building owners will almost always benefit from a schedule of condition when undertaking construction works. This is the case even if neighbours consent to notices or their works do not fall under the realms of the Party Wall Act. Once works are commenced without such an inspection, any benefit of having this is lost indefinitely and can lead to more costly disputes in future. Having this document in place and agreed by both sides will limit any spurious or incorrect claims of damage later on.
Adjoining owners also benefit from having such a document, as it provides evidence of any damage caused by their neighbours works. When the inevitable noise and vibrations of works commences, neighbours can sometimes notice historic cracks and worry they are new. A schedule therefore also prevents them accidentally making unjust claims, and helps maintain relationships between parties.
In the inevitable pursuit to save on costs, parties often both take photographs in an attempt to avoid the need for a professional surveyor. Whilst this is certainly better than having no documentation, a qualified surveyor will be much better equipped at spotting and recording damage, again helping to avoid future disputes.
Unfortunately it is all too often seen that neighbourly relationships break down and parties end in spiralling costs of litigation due to missing the opportunity to schedule the condition prior to starting works. At The Hopps Partnership we have a team of surveyors that regularly prepare professional schedules of condition at a reasonable price. Feel free to give us a call.
You can also speak to one of our surveyors or leave a message here: Schedule of Condition