There are some key questions and skills to look for when engaging building consultants to carry out dilapidation reports on your behalf. You need to know what quality and detail you are going to receive in return for your investment.
Several key questions to ask are:-
1. Can you provide sample reports from similar projects?
So why not ask for sample reports. You need to know that the consultancy firm can manage and prepare a report based on the type of project you are working on. The project may require inspections on government infrastructure, residential homes, commercial property, etc. and therefore you want to see a report reflecting the different reporting required for each of these to ensure they provide you the detail and quality you should expect. Without seeing a sample report could put you at risk of engaging a company who is not capable of providing the detail and quality you require to protect yourself from future claims and increases your risk of problems in the future.
2. Can you provide me with referees?
You want to know they have completed past projects to a high standard and have delivered on the outcomes.
If you haven’t used the consultancy company previously, I recommend that you speak with any referees. It is amazing how many times in our business we have spoken with referees and are told some home truths about the sub-standard work carried out.
3. Does the consultancy firm use its staff or contractors?
It is something you want to know. It is common practice for a consultancy firm to put in a low rate to win the job and then try and source local contractors at a low rate. Unfortunately, this generally means the quality of the inspection and report will be of a low standard. The result is putting your construction company at risk of claims. Many of these contractors in the local area would not have carried out dilapidation reports previously and it is a specialist field requiring properly trained teams.
4. Do you carry the correct insurances?
Let’s face it dilapidation reports are all about managing risk. Ensure they have Professional Indemnity, Public Liability, and Workers Compensation insurance and that the coverage is adequate for the work they will be undertaking.
Communication and customer service is always key to a good relationship
You want to know that the consultancy firm are good communicators with both your team and your property owners. Most importantly, they care and have empathy and respect for the property owners, building owners, tenants, government agencies, and business owners when they are carrying out the dilapidation report on their property.
In most cases, the engaged company will be representing your company. You want them to represent you well, attend on time, and be well presented in attire, and be an advocate for your business.
In can sometimes be a tense time for the property owners who are about to experience disruption during the construction process and could be upset and annoyed so you want to know the consultancy firm can handle these tender situations. You don’t need an individual inspector aggravating the occupant or owner you want them to be working to calm situations.
You need the consultant reporting back to you throughout the process and updating you on the progress.
Reducing your risk
Having a good team of dilapidation consultants working with you and doing the right job will reduce the overall involvement, stress on your team and in turn reducing your risk of any significant claim.
When you get your reports do the following:
Ensure you take a good read or review before just filing away.
Make sure they have a sufficient number of photos and detail in the report so you can rely upon them in the event of a situation.
Not getting this aspect of your project right from the start can be costly so taking the time to find and engage a quality consultant, understanding what a report contains and being able to easily find a report at a later date can save you plenty.
The kind of detail you could be looking for in a photo is as shown below. The level of detail and photo quality is significantly important especially if you are expecting to need to rely upon the information provided to protect you from a potential issue or claim. The location will need be clearly detailed either on the photo or within the report, preferably both.