A schedule of condition serves as a meticulous record detailing the state of a property or structure at a specific moment in time. This comprehensive report is instrumental in safeguarding the interests of both the neighboring property owner and the party responsible for the impending work. If you're contemplating alterations that will impact a shared party wall, compliance with the Party Wall etc Act 1996 is imperative.
The Party Wall etc Act 1996 establishes a framework to prevent and resolve disputes between property owners and developers concerning party walls. While the Act itself does not mandate a schedule of condition, legal precedent places the responsibility on the Building Owner executing the work to prove that any damage to a neighboring property wasn't a result of their activities.
The importance of a schedule of condition lies in its ability to ensure that any damage occurring during the construction process can be accurately assessed and resolved equitably. Even if your neighbors have given their consent for the work, commissioning a schedule of condition is a wise move to address potential disputes about the extent and cause of any damage post-construction.
Conducting a Schedule of Condition
A schedule of condition is typically conducted by a qualified surveyor and one who is experienced in party wall matters through a meticulous inspection of the property. The surveyor takes notes and photographs of various elements such as walls, ceilings, floors, and other pertinent areas. The survey will focus on areas of the property likely to suffer damage as a result of the proposed works and surrounding areas. The goal is to identify existing defects or damage and record existing decorative finishes, providing a snapshot of the property's condition at the time of inspection.
It's crucial to note that a schedule of condition is a statement of fact and does not offer opinions on the nature or cause of any defect. The inspection is non-intrusive and records only those defects immediately apparent during the survey. Defects that may be latent, covered up, or not visible at the time of inspection will not be identified.
Once completed, the schedule is shared with relevant parties, including the Building Owner undertaking the party wall work. The report then serves as a baseline for assessing any damage that may occur during the construction process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is responsible for preparing a schedule of condition for party wall work?
A: The Building Owner (the party undertaking the work) is responsible for preparing a schedule of condition. The Adjoining Owner has a responsability to request that one is carried out and to allow access so that it may be compelted.
Q: How long does a schedule of condition last?
A: A schedule of condition is valid for the duration of the party wall work and any subsequent dispute about damage.
Q: What happens if damage is caused during the work?
A: The schedule of condition is used as a baseline for assessing the extent of the damage and determining necessary repairs or compensation.
Q:Can I prepare a schedule of condition myself?
A: It's not recommended, as it requires experience to ensure impartiality and concise preparation, however, if agreed between the parties it is possible.
Q: How much does a schedule of condition cost?
A: The cost varies based on the size and complexity of the property. Contact us for party wall advice and to request a quote.
In conclusion, a schedule of condition stands as a crucial document, providing an accurate pre-work record of adjoining/adjacent properties before notifiable building works commence. When dealing with party wall work, commissioning a professionally prepared schedule of condition is essential to mitigate potential disputes about damage. By enlisting the expertise of a qualified surveyor, one ensures a comprehensive and accurate record, using clear language and detailed photographs to identify existing defects and damage. While not legally mandatory, a schedule of condition serves as a prudent and proactive measure in protecting the interests of Adjoining Owners before embarking on a building project.