What is a dilapidation survey report?

A dilapidation survey report is usually undertaken immediately before a contractor commences their site work.  The purpose of the survey is to record the pre-construction condition of properties adjoining the contractor’s site and/or which may be influenced by the contractor’s work.  The survey encompasses the external elements of these properties and may extend to the internal condition if deemed appropriate.  The condition of street furniture, kerb and channel, roadways, pavements, and utilities are usually included in the survey record. 

The requirement for a dilapidation survey to be undertaken may be stipulated in the contract or be at the request of local authorities or developer/s.  Many contractors require a dilapidation survey be undertaken purely to protect their own interests. 


Do we really need a dilapidation survey report?

Unfortunately, in an increasingly litigious society, contractors are often blamed for damage to third party properties which pre-existed the contractor’s construction activities.  This is equally the case where an adjoining property owner has failed to notice pre-existing damage until it is brought into focus by the contractor’s work.  Armed with a dilapidation survey report, a contractor can successfully defeat spurious or erroneous demands of third parties for damage to their properties.  A pre-construction condition report effectively constitutes a “snapshot in time” and as a factual record of third party property, cannot be refuted. 

A thorough and comprehensive dilapidation survey is vital for the protection of a contractor’s reputation, financial position and insurance claims history.  In fact, the existence of a dilapidation survey report can assist a contractor in its negotiation for insurance policy terms, cost effective premiums and the defence of insurance claims.

Talk to us about how a dilapidation survey report can dovetail with your insurance arrangements.


Does the size of our project justify the expense of a dilapidation survey report?

There is no doubt that the cost of a dilapidation survey is another cost which many contractors consider is unnecessary.  Unless the cost of the survey can be recovered in Preliminaries, the survey expense is often a dead cost to the contractor.  However, the absence of a pre-construction condition report exposes the contractor to unjustified claims for damage due to their construction activities.  This is particularly the case where the contractor’s work involves demolition, sheet piling, vibration and/or excavation. 


A dilapidation survey not only allows the contractor to quickly deflect third party damage claims but also saves the contractor:

  1. Potential legal fees incurred to address the third party demand;
  2. A policy excess per claim in the event the contractor’s insurance company becomes involved;
  3. Internal staff time and cost to address demands and/or claims;
  4. Compensation payments made to third parties where liability cannot be disputed.


Dilapidation surveys can be undertaken on any type of property including, but not limited to:

    • Single dwellings
    • Multi-tenanted residential buildings
    • Commercial buildings
    • Industrial complexes
    • High-rise structures
    • Public utilities
    • Educational facilities
    • Historicand heritage listed properties
    • Infrastructure
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