What is the importance of a schedule of condition report, sometimes referred to as a partial schedule of condition?
Friday 26th July 2019
Carl O'Boyle BSc MRICS FCIOB MFPWS
A Schedule of Condition is essential! It's like drawing a line in the sand to record the condition of all of the adjoining properties before the building works begin and it is essential for surveyors to enable, in most cases to resolve disputes when it comes to reported damage.
Party Wall Schedules of Condition are normally partial in that they only record the condition of the neighbours' property adjacent to the notifiable works. A Schedule of Condition should report on the existing condition of the neighbours property and report on whether the condition in that area is good, fair or poor.
When recording existing cracks it's important to classify them by their direction (are they vertical horizontal or inclined), whether they are tapering and finally the width and length of the crack. It's also important to determine whether the existing plaster on the Party Wall is sound or whether it is blown (has become detached from the subsurface).
We at Tayross Associates not only describe the condition of the Adjoining Owners' property but we will actually record them on a PowerPoint presentation with individually numbered photographs and individually numbered defects clearly defined. Having a clearly defined schedule of condition report which is backed up with annotated photographs makes it much easier for surveyors and owners of properties to quickly resolve issues.
At times, we come across cases where the Adjoining Owners will not permit the building or surveyor to carry out a Schedule of Condition. Although a Schedule of Condition is not a legal requirement for the Party Wall process, it becomes very useful as a safety net for both parties. Unless it's very obvious to us as surveyors that damage has been caused by the building works we will not entertain any claims for damage where the Adjoining Owners have refused access to the properties to carry out a Schedule of Condition.
We always recommend that when carrying out reports and when the scaffold is fully erected that the Building Owner or their agents take a set of further photographs as we normally find that upon closer inspection of areas such as roofs; defects are concealed and are not visible when viewed from ground level (such as lead flashing behind the chimney stacks).
Sometimes we find when visiting Adjoining Owners properties to carry out a Schedule of Condition, that the party wall is completely obscured by heavy furniture, built in wardrobes and book shelves from floor to ceiling. In these instances it is not practical to remove these items and the surveyors will note that inspection was limited due to these obstacles within the Schedule of Condition report.
We hope you have found this post useful and if in doubt - always ask for a schedule of condition!
This article was written by Carl O'Boyle BSc MRICS FCIOB MFPWS. Carl is a full professional member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a member of the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building for which he currently sits on the CIOB professional conduct committee and adjudications panel.
If you have any Party Wall enquiries then please call us at our Pinner office on 0208 426 1448.