Ask the Inspector

Inspections For Dilapidation – What You Need To Know About An Old Property

Have you been approached by a neighbour, seeking permission to have a dilapidation inspection
conducted? Or your builder has recommended a dilapidation report be prepared? Aside from the
question “What is a dilapidation report?”, you may be asking:

 Do I need a dilapidation report?
 What does Dilapidation mean?
 How much does a dilapidation report cost?
 Who pays for a dilapidation report?
 What does a dilapidation survey involve?

Do I need a dilapidation report?

Dilapidation reports can be very useful in determining whether damage has been sustained to a
property during the course of building works on your own or neighbouring properties – whether
checking on past damage when you are buying a property or if your neighbours are about to embark on
a significant renovation/demolition/development. You can almost think of a dilapidation report as an
insurance policy – as a renovator or developer it is useful proof that damage to a neighbouring property
already existed prior to your works, as a homeowner you may need to prove that your property
sustained damage as a result of the neighbour’s works and that they are liable for the repairs.

What does Dilapidation mean?

Dilapidation refers to destructive events or disrepair sustained to a building, as in a neglected building
that has fallen into disrepair may sometimes be referred to a “dilapidated property” or a home next to
the newly built highway or apartment building may suffer “dilapidation” as a result of the works.
How much does a dilapidation report cost?
Every company is different and prices can vary dependent on the size of the property and time taken to
conduct the inspection. Call an inspection service like Action Property Inspections to get a quote. The
price of a dilapidation report may be less than you think and, in terms of potential costs of repairs, well
worth the money as “insurance”.

Who pays for a dilapidation report?

The person requesting the report pays for the report – and it is usually the builder or developer who will
request a report. Many local councils will require a renovator or developer to obtain a dilapidation
report on neighbouring properties prior to commencing works, as part of the approval process. In any
event, it is good practice to obtain a dilapidation report on the neighbouring properties to avoid
disputes over damage sustained to the property. As a homeowner, if you are aware that major
renovations or developments involving demolition, excavation or construction are commencing on a
neighbouring property and you have not already been approached by the neighbour to have a
dilapidation inspection conducted, it is worth considering paying for one yourself.

What does a dilapidation survey involve?

A dilapidation survey usually involves an inspection prior to the commencement of works, noting the
condition of the property with photographic evidence being taken of any defects identified. At the
conclusion of works a follow-up inspection can be conducted and any defects found will be compared
with the original inspection.

What You Need To Know About Inspections For Dilapidation

Sometimes the worst house on the street can be an appealing buy to a new home owner who has dreams of renovating a shamble into something house dreams are made of. But before a purchase is made, it’s important to consider what building activity has happened on the neighbouring sides of your potential buy.

If there has been building activity, the houses on either side have been renovated extensively, or a neighbouring property has been demolished and rebuilt, it will be recommended to get a dilapidation report. The inspection and report will check for damage that could have been caused from the building activity from the neighbouring properties.

What is a dilapidation report?

A dilapidation report is a document that reports on the condition of the property prior to construction works occurring in the area. The report will make a note of existing structural damage prior to renovation works commencing. Your local council may require a dilapidation report before development consent is given. The report can prevent a legal situation where home owners can claim building works around their property have caused structural damage.

A dilapidation report on an old or damaged home is not only an important document, but it’s a necessary inspection for the owners to know what they are putting on the market should they choose to sell. The report also gives potential buyers an idea of what they are purchasing. This can impact on the purchase price, especially if the property needs to be demolished or have extensive renovations done in order to be inhabitable.

What is a dilapidation report used for?

A dilapidation report is often done prior to works that include demolition, excavation, trench digging, compaction of earth, drilling or boring around an existing property. The report can document the extent of cracks caused by these works.

Old homes or properties that have stood during development works on neighbouring properties should have a dilapidation inspection done.

Any property that has surrounding works in action should have a dilapidation report carried out prior to the commencement of the works.

If the work being done by a commercial contractor is going to affect a number of properties, they may need to have a contract with an inspection firm that can conduct a number of dilapidation inspections. Hundreds or thousands of properties can be affected by new infrastructure works. The dilapidation report can prevent any future litigation should property owners claim their properties were damaged by the construction activity.

What does a dilapidation report record?

The dilapidation report will involve an inspection that records the condition of the existing defects before building works are commenced. A follow up inspection is done after the works are completed to see if there are any changes to the existing defects or if new defects have been created.

The report will identify damage cause by impact, cracks, subsidence, water damage and the presence of dust and debris.

The presence of these defects can determine a course of repair for the damage.

What does an inspector look at on an old or damaged property?

It can be a misconception to think that older homes are always ‘built to last’. A building inspection on any property, no matter it’s age, is important. A building inspector can pick up on faults and hazards that may not be identified by the average buyer.

Importantly, homes that were built pre-1980s will likely contain hazardous building materials including asbestos and lead.

Lead was used in paint and in some plumbing applications before 1978. If the property has never been touched before that time, a potential buyer will need to consider the implications of renovating an older home with lead present.

Asbestos can be another concern as it was used in wallboards, insulation and roofing before the 1970s. Asbestos removal can be a costly exercise. Your building inspector will be able to identify the potential asbestos in the home when they do the inspection. These notes will be written in their building inspection report.

A building inspector will look for significant cracks in walls and determine whether structural aspects of the house are satisfactory. Over time, even the most solid of homes can be affected by surrounding earth movements which can cause cracks and unevenness in the foundations. This unevenness can cause slanting in the house. Doors and windows may jam easily or won’t shut properly. There may also be visible wall cracks and uneven floors caused from this movement.

Is a dilapidation report necessary for every older home?

Generally, inspections for dilapidation are done on properties that are deemed liveable, and for residents who aren’t looking to necessarily sell their home. The inspection is simply done on the home before major works are done around the property. Once the building works have been completed, another inspection will occur to see if any damage has resulted from the external building works.

In most cases, the outside disruption causes little damage to your property. Often many of the cracks and defects identified in the second inspection, are the same ones identified and photographed from the first inspection. Property owners don’t often take notice of defects unless they’re made aware of them at an inspection in the first place.

If damage has been found on the properties, the residents are within their rights to ask for the damage to be rectified. The main reason a dilapidation inspection is done is to avoid any legal action from residents who believe their home has been damaged by the exterior works. A dilapidation inspection gives peace of mind to the owner and the building company who are contracted to do the works.

If you are looking to purchase an old or damaged property, don’t make the mistake of not getting a building inspection done first. Your building inspector may find faults you would not have considered before the purchase, or identify dilapidation issues when new works are carried out.

For all your pre-purchase building inspection needs, including dilapidation reports on old or damaged properties, give Action Property Inspections a call. The team are happy to assist you with your inspection needs.


About Andrew

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.