What input does a surveyor in Brentwood provide for a residence built with a brick chimney?
Of all the building materials used across the centuries in the UK, by far the most popular, and the most durable, has been the use of brick. Brick is made of a variety of ingredients, come in different shapes and sizes and colours, and are made for specific purposes from being resistant to acid or chemicals to simple building projects, as well as being either solid or having a variety of hollows deliberately built into their structure, depending on the purpose to which they’ll be put, the budget for the construction and a number of other factors which will come into play.
Because brick has been used for constructing homes and other buildings for so many centuries, bricklayers and designers have devised a wide variety of designs for how the bricks are placed together, from the common and simple stretcher, Flemish and English bonds to the more complex Della Robbia Weave bond.
What the bricks and the way that they are laid all have in common is that they all have their susceptibilities, which your Surveyor Local chartered surveyor will analyse and inspect as part of your survey. Some of the more typical issues are frost attack and damage, spalling, efflorescence or staining, sulphate attack, wall-tie failure, weathering and disintegration, and mortar deterioration.
In all cases, your Surveyor Local chartered surveyor will inspect the condition of the walls (where the brick is visible) and check for issues, highlighting the state in the report, and making recommendations for remedial action (long-term or immediate) depending on what has been found. It is always worth getting a selection of quotes from accredited and recommended builders for any of the work that has been identified. Local builders include:
- Three Elms Construction may be able to give a quote for any maintenance work. Located at 7 Chelmer Drive, Brentwood, CM13 1NR, you can contact them at 01277 228519.
Call Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 to discuss your needs further with one of our waiting advisers and to obtain your free surveying quote.
Will there be any potential pitfalls we would be advised to consider when planning to buy a property in Brentwood in a conservation area?
Conservation areas are generally designated as such by the local council, although the governmental public body Historic England has the power to make designations in consultation with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
According to the Historic England website (retrieved on 30 January 2019), the role of the local council (or themselves as designator) is as follows:
- Designation: the formal process of setting up a location to become a conservation area
- Appraisal: an assessment of written and photographic evidence supporting the designation
- Management Plan: the tool that defines how the local council is going to fulfil their duties to manage and protect the conservation area
- Alert and involve the community: All properties in the conservation area will require recording this as a Local Land Charge, while residents will need to be apprised of their responsibilities with respect to change at their properties (buildings and land), including tree-pruning, installation of solar panels or satellite dishes, building of walls or laying of slabs, demolition in part or whole of any structure
Historic England also review and assess the state of the conservation areas on an annual basis, creating the Heritage at Risk register, which can be viewed online to assess whether the council’s management plan is effective, and what is happening to remove the conservation area if it appears on the register. In 2018, 502 conservation areas (of around 9,300) were added to the list.
Conservation areas, by their nature of being protected from significant change and managing conformity, are an attractive location in which to buy a house, but the owner should be aware of their responsibilities and, before buying a house, being aware of any changes that don’t have planning consent since this may require expense to reverse them. This information is highlighted in the survey and will also be directed to your legal representative for further investigation and analysis with the local council. The responsibilities incumbent upon any owner underlines the importance of appointing a focused and thorough surveyor like those we have at Surveyor Local.
This also means that houses in designated conservation areas naturally come at a premium, so potential buyers should be aware that properties will likely be more expensive than similar homes located outside the boundary of the conservation area.
All of our chartered surveyors at Surveyor Local are well-versed in all aspects of the surveying process, including what to look for when it comes to conservation areas. Want to set up an appointment today? Call our friendly advisers on 0800 038 6667 and they’ll be happy to help.
When I was shown a property I am intending to purchase in Brentwood, I noticed that there was no residual current device (RCD); does a surveyor report on electrical defects?
One of the areas that your chartered surveyor will look into when they’re inspecting the property you are considering buying is the electrics, reporting on any findings where they suspect any part of the system to be in hazardous condition.
All new electrical work needs to be covered under the British standard regulations (BS 7671), which are properly called the Electrical Installation and Wiring Safety regulations and cover domestic, commercial and industrial properties, as well as marinas, fairgrounds, external public swimming pools, caravan parks, and other areas where electricity may create a potential hazard for any occupants.
For the residential properties, it covers all wiring, the circuit-breakers, residual current devices (RCDs), sockets, and so on, while also looking at special areas in detail such as bathrooms (e.g. heating or shaving sockets), swimming pools (internal or external), ponds, or portable outdoor equipment.
As part of the building regulations approval in an extension or new-build, or where the electrical circuits have been updated, an electrical certificate, signed off by a qualified electrician, needs to be supplied to comply with the requirements. This document will be sought and checked by your Surveyor Local surveyor.
In addition, the IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers) recommends that a periodic inspection be completed every 10 years on private residential property, or every 5 years if you are renting out the property to tenants, or you own a commercial building. Again, your Surveyor Local chartered surveyor will identify the Periodic Inspection Review document’s existence and confirm its validity and status.
When preparing a Brentwood Building Survey, an RICS surveyor will inspect all accessible parts of the electrical system, noting the location and likely age of the fuse-board, and includes a visual assessment of the superficial parts of the wiring, without taking anything apart for safety reasons. In addition to verifying areas connected to the mains (e.g. the whereabouts of the meter or consumer unit), the surveyor will also choose a selection of sockets and light-switches to ensure they are operating normally.
In the survey report, the surveyor will highlight all of the findings, including identifying those areas that they are unable to access, which might need further investigation by a qualified electrician. Where there are areas of concern, particularly where the electrical circuits and wiring don’t conform to the British standard, the surveyor will recommend that immediate action be taken. It is wise to obtain a couple of quotes for any major rewiring activities, as this can be used to enter into renegotiations over the asking price with the seller.
Try our instant Brentwood survey quote generator by filling in the form at the top of this page or call us on 0800 038 6667 to find out more about what Surveyor Local can do for you.
Can Brentwood stone-built houses be hard to maintain and are there specific defects to consider?
Purchasers in Brentwood should be aware that stone walls can be much weaker than they appear. Defects such as staining affect many stone-walled properties. Irregular stone walls are not uncommon in the building of Brentwood houses, but dressed (cut) stone may also be used.
Buyers should understand that stone can have a great effect on the long-term viability of a property or extension, resulting in higher repair costs in the future. For example, limestones such as Bath stone or Kentish Rag will deteriorate when exposed to the elements. Stone walls require regular maintenance, such as careful removal of nearby trees and plants. Be cautious not to pull these up by the roots, as they could already be intertwined with the wall's foundations, which will cause more damage.
The sheer breadth of varying stone materials can make it difficult for purchasers to correctly identify the particular stone used in the building of a home. Quarries and stone suppliers near to Brentwood should be able to supply local stone.
Our chartered surveyors are very thorough in their inspection and have a breadth of knowledge and experience in all areas of the surveying process. Want to see how cheap that service can be? Fill in Surveyor Local’s form at the top of this page and call us on 0800 038 6667 so one of our friendly advisers can set up an appointment with a great surveyor.
Should I get a separate valuation and reinstatement cost-estimate and how is it calculated?
A Property Valuation Report is not a survey per se, although it is an associated product that chartered surveyors can offer, on the proviso that they are also a registered valuer. This is something that Surveyor Local can add to your choice of survey, and, if required, you only need to pick up the phone to us on 0800 038 6667 to discuss your particular needs and we’ll get the right service set up for you with the minimum of fuss.
A Property Valuation Report is requested when a definitive answer on the value of a property is required. Note that it’s not the same as a market appraisal, which is a guide or estimate to the property price that has absolutely no legal standing.
The report looks at the location of the property, its features, size and age, while it considers the identified problems and issues within its boundaries. The approach that the registered valuer will adopt is:
- Research: market research to identify similar properties of age, condition and size in the near environs and check how much they were sold for most recently
- Inspection: an assessment of the actual property across its boundaries, inside and out, where accessible and safe to do so
- Analysis: a translation of all the findings into a meaningful report, always written in plain English, for the client with the headline valuation
The price of a Property Valuation Report starts from £249, which includes VAT and is fixed), dependent on the size of the property being valued. If you would like a Property Valuation Report added to either your Building Survey or HomeBuyer Report, please contact one of our team of friendly advisers on 0800 038 6667 and they will be happy to get things set up for you so that you are ready to get going today!
Does an RICS surveyor go into detail on the serviceability of the gas mains supply in Brentwood?
Everyone is aware that the volatility and the highly inflammable nature of natural gas make it a very dangerous substance if not regulated and checked by qualified experts. It is also for this reason that, where there is a gas supply to a property, your chartered surveyor will inspect the system.
All work on gas appliances and connection to the mains must comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, while any new heat-producing gas appliance installed (e.g. a cooker hob, or gas fire) requires the Local Authority to be informed so that it will comply with building regulations in order to gain the requisite approval.
A certificate of works will be provided by a qualified Gas Safe engineer, and this will be sought and checked for validity and status by the surveyor during the inspection. Regulations legally require landlords to complete appliance and installation inspections annually. Non-compliance penalties include heavy fines.
As part of the survey, the chartered surveyor will visually check all the accessible parts of the gas system, such as the meter location and position and any gas-connected fixtures like chimney breasts or flues. However, if there are any fittings, they won't be dislodged for inspection, and neither will they remove covers or piping since they are not qualified to do so.
Where the surveyor identifies any area for potential concern, they will note this in the survey report, with recommendations for any remedial action to be taken, alongside a measure of severity. Where a problem is deemed critical, if only for a qualified engineer to check and assess the situation, any significant cost can be used to open up conversations with the seller about the possibility of offsetting such a cost by reducing the asking price.
Gas is potentially hazardous and, should you have any concerns about it, call a Gas Safe engineer. If you smell gas, call the free national Gas Emergency Services number immediately on 0800 111 999.
Local highly-rated Gas Safe engineers in the area can be identified or located at the official Gas Safe Register site.
To appoint one of the best chartered surveyors available to inspect the property you want to buy, call our team of advisers on 0800 038 6667 today.
Will pests affect the purchase price of a property in Brentwood, and do we need a surveyor if there is a pest problem?
The issue of pests in and around the home is often seen as a small or minor, even irrelevant, inconvenience or annoyance that simply needs to be accepted and managed. However, the threat of many pests is very real and, with certain examples, will have a risk to the occupants’ health or destroy the fabric and structure of a building.
In addition, evidence of an infestation of pests is not always easy to find. Some obvious examples of common pests include:
- rodents – gnawing through electric cables (causing fire risk), timber, pipes and brickwork, coupled with their ability to produce many offspring very quickly and the risk of transporting harmful bacteria around the home makes mice and rats a significant pest to remove
- cockroaches – multiplying very quickly and spreading disease through food (primarily) and their ability to hide in crevices and difficult to find places makes cockroaches a major source of concern and difficult to remove
- death-watch beetle – their characteristic tapping to attract a mate leads to sleepless nights (the vigil for dying people being the origin of the name), while their propensity for boring through wood threatens to destroy the supporting beams in ceilings, roofs and floors
- woodworm – another woodboring pest that turns wood into dust and can seriously and quickly undermine the structure of a property
- carpet beetle larvae – textile-destroying pests
- woodlice – although not a major pest themselves, they are a potential indication of damp within the property
Your chartered surveyor will look out for evidence of the common problems, such as droppings or holes in wood, and make recommendations based on the severity of the problem and how recent the infestation appears to be. Solutions may include the use of poisons, insecticides and traps, but more humane ways of removing pests are available. It’s always worth obtaining a number of quotes from companies qualified to handle such issues so that you can request a reduction in the asking price from the seller.
Because there are so many different pests, the chartered surveyor will not be able to test and check for every single type other than the common instances. If you suspect that a specific issue with pests exists, then you should bring it to your surveyor’s attention and they will be able to focus on finding the particular evidence, should it exist.
Worried about what steps to take if you are concerned about pest control in your house? Try calling our waiting team of advisers at Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 to discuss your needs and obtain your free surveying quote.
What should we be aware of if we are buying a building close to a rubbish dump in Brentwood?
A ‘landfill site’ is the generic term given for specialist locations licensed by the government (and the Environment Agency) for any material that won’t be recycled or reused to be dumped, buried or collected in one place. Because of the shortage of new locations for landfill, and the reduction in available space at existing ones, this explains the drive for better recycling options.
However, be aware that recycling areas can present as much of a hazard as the familiar dumping sites, with noxious chemicals spilling into the environment, either in the ground, through the water-table, the drains or airborne, especially where waste is burnt.
Specialist licenses are required for those companies operating such sites, and these are inspected to ensure that all legal measures are being correctly enforced and complied with.
Whether it’s a local authority tip, a recycling centre, or a true landfill site, no-one would willingly wish to live in close proximity to one (although the large majority of the British population do). For this reason, it makes complete sense for your surveyor to check out the environmental and structural impact of such necessary waste management sites on the property you are wishing to buy, not only from the environmental side of things but also from the traffic passing in and out of the site and how the vibrations might be impacting the foundations and the environs.
Where there is cause for concern, or if there appears to contamination that is attributable directly to such sites, your surveyor will note this in the report and highlight the severity for remedial action, often placing it in the section for consideration by your conveyancing solicitor to look into with the appropriate authorities.
Your Surveyor Local surveyor will have a deep knowledge of the local area and will therefore be aware of where landfill sites have been closed and built over. In some instances, movement in what has been buried may be a cause or start of subsidence, and they will be able to advise accordingly. Your conveyancer will commission environmental searches of the Landmark databases and the Brentwood Local Authority and inform you of any issues, letting you know if the searches fail.
An interactive map of the location of UK’s current operational landfill sites can be found online, such as this one by Anyjunk.
Time to get your survey under way! Fill in a few simple details in the form at the top of this page to receive your instant quote, then, once you’re happy with it, call our waiting team of advisers on 0800 038 6667 and they’ll be happy to sort you out.