Home Buyers Survey County Durham
Your questions answered by a RICS Surveyor in County Durham
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My partner and I are purchasing an older converted barn in County Durham. What effect will the structure's box frame structure have on maintenance?
Older construction methods and materials can create difficulties for an owner, and County Durham property built with traditional methods can be a chore to maintain. It is often the case that specialist expertise is necessary. Construction materials, such as original bricks, may also need to be sourced.
What is subsidence? What can be done to resolve subsidence if it is identified?
Subsidence refers to the movement of a building and its foundations. Subsidence and settlement are often confused. Settlement will often occur in recently built buildings, and is rarely a cause for concern. The structure's weight can cause the ground beneath the foundations to compact, this should quickly settle. In the case of new builds, the builder should return to a new building after six monthsin order to repair settlement damage.
New cracks wider than 3mm to the bricks or render outside the property, or cracks which were stable, but are showing signs of fresh movement,may indicate subsidence. Signs of potential subsidence include fresh cracks in brick or plaster.
Identifying what has caused the subsidence is a necessary first step. The removal of trees may make the problem worse, however, so professional advice should be sought. Existing trees must be well managed, and new trees should be planted at a safe distance from the exterior walls of the property. Beech and sycamore trees, for example, should be planted at least 15m from a property. In some more serious situations, underpinning may be necessary. Underpinning involves holes being dug 1 metre long and around 1.5 metres deep, along all affected sections of wall, and just beneath the present foundations. Reinforcement bars and concrete are then inserted into these pits to support the structure, as the rest of the foundations are dug out and similarly filled in with concrete. Damaged but non-structural elements should be filled and re-weatherproofed. A surveyor will be able to recommend who to speak to about the best course of action, to remedy both the causes of the subsidence and the resulting damage to the property itself.
For more details or to arrange repairs, speak to a County Durham builder or specialist, such as Col-Myr Builders (26 Valley View, Sacriston, Durham, DH7 6NX) or Dunn T Ltd (20 Quebec St, Langley Park, Durham, DH7 9XA).
Damp in the attic has created issues for us in the past. I am particularly concerned about the state of the roof. What does a home surveyor investigate during the survey?
This is frequently addressed by RICS surveyors. Houses across County Durham can still be subject to roof maintenance problems, such as incorrectly applied waterproofing. All aspects of the roof should be reviewed, from the trusses to the parapet walls. The RICS surveyors could suggest that some of the faults must be dealt with immediately.
The prospect of large bills for roofing jobs (such as loft insulation) may have scared off some homeowners from carrying out necessary work. In extreme cases, this may be the reason for the sale, so buyers must be vigilant and employ the services of a qualified surveyor before the exchange of contracts. It may be advisable to source an estimate for any work prior to exchange.
However, buyers should endeavour to compare a number of quotes to find the best deal. Contact Breward Roofing of 1 St Philips Close, Auckland Park, Bishop Auckland, DL14 8BD on 01388 661308 for details.