How to prevent false accusations with the help of Dilapidation Reports
It’s probably your worst nightmare, well it is mine. I work in Construction Management. My job is to bring a construction project in on time, to a high standard of quality, and probably most importantly under budget!
So when you get blamed for something you didn’t do, guess what it? It’s probably your fault anyway.
I know I know, you didn’t cause the damage. There is a broken ceramic tile in the bathroom, your workers were in the bathroom last, and you have no proof, it wasn’t them who did it, but you know it wasn’t them. It’s a horrible feeling.
You can protest your innocence all you want, but all the signs point to you being at fault. At least that is the experience I’ve had in the past. In that case you just grin and bear it, and replace the tile at your expense. But couldn’t this have all been avoided? The answer is YES.
What causes a dilapidated building?
Dilapidated buildings are everywhere, 99% of the time they get that way through years of wear and tear from natural elements that batter away at it.
The other 1% of the time, a building is damaged as a direct result of someone intentionally or not breaking something.
Wait a second… What the hell does Dilapidation even mean?
Dilapidation when referring to buildings, is the degrading / wearing / breaking down of a structure, material and / or piece of equipment, so that it no longer serves its original intended purpose. A leaking roof is dilapidated because it should not leak, it should be acting like a cover to a building so that the inside doesn’t get wet. A concrete footpath that has cracked and become uneven, is dilapidated because it no longer serves as a flat surface for someone to walk on.
Dilapidation happens everywhere, look around you right now, where you sit or stand. I guarantee that you will see some peeling paint, or a busted chair, or some torn carpet.
It’s inevitable, it happens, someone has “gotta” pay for it!
Things you build will eventually erode and breakdown, that’s life. The problem is however, could the damage have been avoided?
Your leaking roof, could be the result of a freak storm event, with high winds that batter the roof down eventually tearing a hole in the flashing. Leading to water ingress in to the building, damaging the expensive computers inside. Oh no!
In this instance, the cause of the leak, was pretty much unavoidable, it happened because of a natural weather event. Natural events happen all the time, and cannot be avoided.
Unfortunately we cannot control the weather!
If however the leak in the roof was caused by something, or someone else say for example, a builder, or for example an Air Conditioning installer. Then that person were to accidentally drop a screw on the roof, which then tore at the waterproof membrane. The waterproofing would have then been damaged by a non-natural event that could have been prevented.
In this instance, the installer of the unit would be liable to pay for the roof repairs, because it was their fault the roof became damaged in the first place. There is not much the installer can say if he is caught red handed. The fault is pretty clear cut.
So what happens when the installer denies that this damage was caused by him or her?
Well, in order to prove a damage was caused (or not caused) by someone, the best way to do this is by undertaking a survey (with photos) of an area that is to have work done to it. Essentially you take a bunch of photos of all areas of the building with a time stamp attached to the photos. The photos record the condition of all elements of a building and it’s surrounds. The photos are then compiled in to a document, with comments and noteworthy points identified. This document (known as a Dilapidation Report) is then distributed to all persons concerned. Like the owner of the property, the builder or A/C installer and the neighbours.
So if the installer of the unit on the roof denied having caused the damage, and it was known that no (natural) weather event had taken place, one would only have to check through the report to see if the damage was there at the time of the survey. If the damage was already there, the installer would be absolved of all responsibility. But if the damage was not there when the photos were taken, then it would be quite clear the installer was the one responsible for fixing up the roof leak.
Getting one of these dilapidation reports is important, it save you money and time. Get one done, before you start work on your next project, whether you are the one doing the work, or the owner. It’s important.