It should be noted that a Schedule of Condition is not a requirement of Party Wall etc. Act 1996, and either the adjoining owner or the building owner can refuse to have one.
That Being Said A schedule of condition is a record of an Adjoining Owner’s property taken by an independent surveyor. Although it is not required, it serves a very useful function.
This accurate recording of the condition of the properties before any works have begun protect both building owners against claims for damages that where not caused by the works and help strengthen Adjoining Owners Claims for damages that have been caused by the works.
A schedule of condition is a descriptive say what you see style report it is not a building survey and doesn't investigate possible causes and in the preamble of the condition it will state the fact it is a schedule of condition and not a building survey.
A photographic survey will not usually be enough as its almost impossible to note hairline cracks in photographs and by following the guidance offered in BRE Digest 251 we use those descriptors to identify cracks as well as photos.
The written document will be set out in columns and include the headings ‘Item’, ‘Description’ and ‘Condition’. Sometimes a fourth column is added which references the relevant photo numbers. You can see an example below
|Walls||Party Wall is of solid construction, the other walls are all metal stud work finished in painted surface||Hairline Crack running from top right to the corner of the window,
Some damp to Party Wall Approx 150mm x 250mm
|Ceilings||Plastered and Painted||Hairline Cracks where chimney abuts the ceiling which extends diagonally 450mm||6-8|
|Floors||Suspended Timber Floor, Fitted Carpet Throughout||Creaking Floorboards near party wall, and towards rear window||8-10|
There are some occasions where an area has so many cracks, i.e due to shrinkage within a skim coat or due to age that it will be almost impossible to describe them all in cases like this a sketch, general note of area and quantity and additional photos will be used to offer as good a description as possible.
For most domestic extensions, loft conversions and small excavations this is usually not needed we would limit our report to around 3-4 meters of where the notified works will be.
In the case of underpinning or basement excavations we would make this assessment based on the plans but in most cases its going to be at least double the above and cover every single floor.
The Purpose of a condition survey is not to record every single blemish and issue it is to record only those which it is reasonable to assume could be caused by the notifiable works such as cracking, de-bonded plaster and broken glass and some damp issues.
When the work has been completed and a revisit is needed you can survey the property once more looking for new damage and seeing if it was recorded in the condition schedule. If not could it be caused by the works or is it recorded and its condition is now worse?
Given that some more complex works can take several months to years to complete, in that time a lot can naturally change the key is to compare it to the original condition survey, it is important to note, that if its not included in the original survey it doesn't automatically mean it was caused by the notifiable works, this will come down to the surveyor(s) experience and negotiations between them and the owners.
Should you need advice on your schedule of condition or generally on party wall matters please don't hesitate to contact us on 01843 808184 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form on the website.
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