What is a Schedule of Condition and why should you have one?

Recently we discussed the perils of conducting building works that might impact on a party wall shared by one or more neighbours and the importance of serving a party wall notice.

As part of the process, and to protect the interests of both you and any affected neighbours, a Schedule of Condition is essential as it provides an accurate record of the condition of the properties before works commence.

Why pay for a Schedule of Condition?

Put yourself in your neighbour’s shoes for a moment. They probably don’t monitor the condition of their walls, floors and ceilings on a daily basis (who does!). It may have taken months before they discovered a damp patch and blistering plaster and wished they’d hoovered behind the sofa sooner. But the minute they hear banging or feel vibrations as your project gets underway, they spot a crack that they’d swear wasn’t there before – hang on, that must mean the building works are causing damage! Who can say whether that crack has gone unnoticed for years or it really has just happened – it’s their word against yours. And it’s an issue that has the potential to escalate, no matter how friendly you and your neighbour may have been up to this point.

A Schedule of Condition protects you from an adjoining owner trying to unfairly claim for damages not caused by your building work. Equally, in the event that damage is caused it will support the adjoining owner’s claim.

So what does a Schedule of Condition entail?

A Schedule of Condition is not a full building survey. It is a descriptive report of what can be seen on the day of inspection by a qualified surveyor. The extent of the survey will depend on the extent of your building works – it could cover just a few square metres of wall or, if your project involves excavation work, the survey will extend to every floor level. This is something that your surveyor will determine based on your proposed plans and their assessment of risk involved.

During the inspection, the surveyor will note anything – both internally and externally – that could conceivably be linked to the notifiable works in the future. This might include cracking of walls, de-bonded plaster, evidence of damp, broken glass and so on. It won’t detail cosmetic issues such as peeling paint, for instance, which has no structural relevance. The subsequent survey report will provide a written description of each issue identified, supported wherever possible by photographic evidence.

If you’re planning building works that involve a party wall, Home-Approved’s experienced party wall surveyors can help ensure both your and the adjoining owner’s interests are protected with a Schedule of Condition. Call us on 0800 980 3113 or email info@home-approved.com.