We are often asked by appointing owners as to whether a Schedule of Condition is a compulsory part of a Party Wall Award. The simple answer is that a Schedule of Condition is not a compulsory part of a Party Wall Award and the Party Wall Award can be served without an appending schedule of condition. In this way, the Schedule of Condition is recommended and instructive, but a Schedule of Condition is not compulsory.
This question generally arises where an adjoining owner does not respond to either the original Party Wall Notices or a Ten Day Notice. Obviously, in these circumstances, getting access to undertake a schedule of condition, certainly internally, will generally not be possible and, of course, having been given valid Notices and the opportunity to engage in the Party Wall process, there can be little complaint from an adjoining owner in the future if a Party Wall Award is undertaken on a Section 10(4)(b) basis without an appended schedule of condition.
In these circumstances, it is often prudent to attempt to get access externally and, obviously, this is usually not an issue as access or a visual can often be gained from the rear elevation of the building owner’s property.
A Schedule of Condition is a very informative and important part of a Party Wall Award and it is a document that will be potentially referred back to if any damage is caused or claims of damage during or after the Party Wall works are made. The fact that in most cases the Schedule of Condition will have been signed by both surveyors gives it an extra layer of credibility. It is a record of a point in time, pre works, which will allow any litigation or the Party Wall surveyors in the future to refer back to and gives them the first point of reference in terms of establishing whether any damage was pre-existing.
Therefore, although not compulsory, the role of the Schedule of Condition should not be underplayed in a Party Wall context.
Please do read our blog in respect of the contents of a Schedule of Condition and what makes a good schedule of condition.