This week I was engaged for dilapidation inspection and report on a older dwelling that was next to major domestic development. Owners wisely decided that the condition of their home should be properly recorded so that if any damage occurs from adjoining developmentthey had evidence for compensation.
Dilapidation reports are straightforward and uneventful. It’s an inspection with lots of high resolution photos and a good mental picture in case I have to appear in dispute and give expert evidence. Report simply highlights any significant defects and the remainder of photos are stored on file for reference if required in the future. I have done many dilapidation reports for owners and developers alike, owners for their protection from damage caused by developer’s builders and developers from claims for pre existing damage they did not cause. Usually it is a walk in the park for me but here it turned out to be opening act of a drama.
Development site was cleared and fenced off (but without identification as required by regulation) Then I spotted lots of broken asbestos cement sheets on the ground. Even though I did not test the product I knew it originated prior to 1985 when use of Asbestos was banned in building products. To make the matters worse there was a fencing contractor with his two young sons working on site walking among broken Asbestos oblivious to the danger it posed. Owners too had no idea.
It seems that developer engaged cowboy demolition contractor to do the job ( the lowest price you see) and with no one checking (developer is too busy planning his profit to care) my clients, workers on site and neighbours were all exposed to dangers of airborne Asbestos dust.
I advised my clients to call the councila and WorkSAFE Victoria and report the matter as the site needed to be shut down and properly decontaminated.
There was another matter. My clients told me that a three metre deep excavation was to occur for car basement only a metre away from their boundary fence. I asked them if they were served with works protection notices. They weren’t. Ultimately it is relevant building surveyor that decides whether works protection notices are required but I would not necessarily trust their judgment because they can get too close to the builder.
I explained to the owners that there had been excavation collapses and that in my opinion the matter deserved a closer look and if building works were to start without notices to contact me for further advice.
So there you are, two significant issues have arisen, risk to health and a risk to property. My client is in good hands!