Whether you are undertaking a small or large commercial construction project involving demolition, pile driving, construction, sub divisions or road works (“construction project”), dilapidation surveys are often a key component of the contractual obligations and or are simply best practice in risk management and compliance strategies.
Dilapidation (condition) surveys can be conducted on:
- Residential, strata, commercial, industrial properties, under construction properties
- Roads, paths, bike tracks, kerbing, carparks, laneways
- Parks, gardens, bushlands
Whether you require a dilapidation survey on 1 property or surveys across 500 properties, the same professional standards need to be applied to each pre and post dilapidation survey, by a qualified building inspector, based on a sound occupant/owner engagement and communication strategies and within a robust overall project management approach.
1. The Dilapidation Survey Reports
1.1. One of the key components of the Dilapidation Survey is the quality of the actual survey report. Quality survey reports must include some key attributes
1.2. The reports should be conducted in accordance with Australian Standard 4349. This is the minimum standard of report that you should accept for a dilapidation survey
1.3. The reports should provide general photographs of the target property both internal and external so that readers of the report, many of whom will not have visited the actual property, can have context as to the style and condition of the underlying property
1.4. All cracking and notable damage should be photographed, described and measured. Crack cards which enable the width of cracks to be measured when photographed should be used whenever possible
1.5. All elevations of a building are to be pictured and captured within the report
1.6. Every room in a property should be included in the report, even if the room has no damage or cracking
1.7. The reports should all be subject to independent quality assessment/review
1.8. Reports should be suppled electronically for future storage and reference
1.9. Copies of all Jpeg files of pictures contained within the report should also be supplied electronically
2. The Dilapidation Survey Building Inspector
2.1. In Western Australia there are no regulations or restrictions on who can undertake a building inspection although individual contracts may require minimum standards
2.2. Construction firms need to ensure that the actual inspector undertaking the building dilapidation survey has the necessary skills, expertise and background to prepare a credible dilapidation survey, especially if litigation follows
2.3. All Houspect WA Building Inspectors are WA Registered Builders with a minimum of 20 years direct construction industry experience. They know how to review a property and how to assess cracking and or damage
2.4. Independence of the building inspector conducting the dilapidation survey is critical. The dilapidation survey must represent an independent assessment of the condition of the property which can be relied upon if a post works damages claim is made
2.5. It is important that all inspectors carry the required insurances (Professional Indemnity, Public Liability, Workers Compensation) in addition to a current National Police Clearance, Blue/White Card, identification and have completed a Safe Work Method Statement or Job Safety Analysis
3. Specialist Dilapidation Surveys
3.1. On occasion a specialist approach is required for dilapidation surveys
3.2. Houspect is able to facilitate dilapidation survey reports at height using commercial drones flown by CASA accredited pilots on repeatable flight paths pre and post project, utilising a 48 mega pixel high definition camera. This approach can provide stills or videos of large areas and or at height structures
3.3. Where extensive paths or road networks are required to be surveyed, Houspect will often video the area as a more efficient method of capturing large volumes of data in a cost effective manner
4. Post Demolition or Construction Works Surveys
4.1. The decision to resurvey the inspected properties or not, must be carefully considered. There can be several options:
4.1.1. Write to all target properties and offer to conduct inspections where the owner/occupant believes damage has occurred, providing a hard close date for claims.
4.1.2. Simply conduct reinspections on all previously inspected properties
4.1.3. Conduct reinspections only if a claim for damages is received i.e. only reinspect a previously inspected property if a claim is made
4.2. Reinspections for the target properties should include a resurvey of the entire property and not just areas where damage is claimed. This ensures that a cap can be placed on future claims
4.3. The reinspection survey should represent a reconciliation between the pre-construction survey and the post construction position, such that only the difference or damage is reported to enable focus on the key issues. However, the report needs to confirm that the entire property has been reinspected and only the difference between the two positions is being reported in the post construction inspection report. Dated pictures should be obtained on the entire property for both inspections
4.4. Where possible, observations should be provided as to possible contributory causes of any damage identified
5. Property Owner/Occupant Engagement
5.1. The key attribute of an effective dilapidation survey should be the level of engagement with the target property owner/occupant. Construction firms need to be assured that the target property owner/occupant has been given reasonable notice of the proposed works and clear and reasonable invitation to participate in the dilapidation surveys
5.2. Ideally and to ensure that occupants/owners have sufficient time to consider the offer to participate in a dilapidation survey and then make the property available for inspection, we would recommend that a dilapidation survey project time frame of circa 3 weeks. Projects in excess of 50 houses may require additional time
5.3. Dilapidation surveys can be conducted in much shorter time frames than 3 weeks, especially if contact details of the property occupants are known. However, construction firms should aim to avoid occupants of properties claiming that they did not participate in a dilapidation survey because insufficient notice to them was provided
5.4. Property occupants/owners should be written to on a minimum of three occasions and a minimum of two doorknocks should also be conducted. Houspect undertakes this engagement task on behalf of the Construction firms where the objective of a detailed and comprehensive engagement plan is to ensure that the occupant/owner is given full, fair and reasonable notice and opportunity to participate in the dilapidation survey. Construction firms need assurance that if a damage claim is made, and no dilapidation survey was conducted, it is because the occupant/owner did not participate in the survey and that the occupant/owner cannot claim that they were not given ample opportunity to participate in the dilapidation surveys
6. Dilapidation Survey Project Management
Having established the minimum attributes of a solid dilapidation project plan what is then required is flawless management of that project plan?
6.1. The project plans should clearly identify all of the target properties and key project information including:
- Property addresses
- Owner addresses (if available and different to occupant)
- Mailing dates
- Doorknock dates
- Inspection Date
- Rejection date
- Completion date
6.2. The project plan should be updated daily during the project period with regular progress updates to the broader project team as required
7. The Solution
Houspect WA Building Inspections has conducted over 50,000 building inspections in WA over the past 30 years utilising its extensive network of quality Building Inspections who are located across WA.
Houspect conducts dilapidation surveys every week in both Perth and Regional areas. Dilapidation project sizes can range from a single property through to literally 100’s of properties. All of the Perth metropolitan area and the majority of WA is covered by Houspect Building Inspectors.
All Houspect WA Building Inspectors are WA Registered Builders with a minimum of 20 years construction experience. Our buildings Inspectors are supported by an extensive client service team located in our Balcatta Operations centre.
Each Dilapidation Project is assigned to a senior quality project manager to manage individually.
Detailed quotes are provided for all Dilapidation Quotes.
Next time your construction or demolition project requires a quality Dilapidation Survey expertly project-managed contact Houspect WA Building Inspections.
Build, Buy, Invest in property with confidence.