A builder friend is concerned that there is white asbestos cement at the property we are buying in Bridgend; what does this mean for the survey?
Asbestos is the general name given to the group of six fibrous materials that are now known to be harmful to organisms, when the dust or fibrils are released into the environment (by any number of processes including abrasion).
Asbestos has been mined for hundreds of years, but it was only in the last century that it was found to be so detrimental to health, although it still took until 1999 for there to be an outright ban in the UK, as part of an EU-wide directive, even though restrictions were placed from 1985.
The most common type found in the UK is white asbestos (chrysotile), which was often used in roofs, floors, ceilings, walls and insulation, thereby appearing in all manner of construction materials. The other types used in construction are brown (amosite), blue (crocidolite), and green (anthophyllite).
Often considered to be a ‘miracle’ material before its deleterious effects were understood, asbestos was chosen for its resistance to fire and electricity, its tensile strength, and its sound-proofing qualities, coupled with its relative cheapness to produce.
Commonly called asbestosis, the curly or needle-shaped fibres usually caused mesothelioma (attack on the lining of the lungs, causing cancer). However, breathing in a single fibre will not be injurious, nor will it risk death.
During a survey, your chartered surveyor will not be able to confirm the existence of asbestos, since they will not investigate further than visual inspection because of the dangers highlighted above. However, they will be experienced in looking for it and will report their suspicions in the survey, recommending that it be checked out thoroughly.
Although you are legally allowed to removed asbestos yourself, this practice is thoroughly resisted by experts because of the danger that amateur removals may incur on yourself and your neighbours. Therefore, it is recommended that you appoint an expert to confirm its presence and to safely remove it. The register of expert contractors can be found here: the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association.
Our chartered surveyors at Surveyor Local are trained to look for such problems and evidence of the existence of hazardous building methods and materials, so why not give us a call on 0800 038 6667 today to get your survey booked in?
We are investing in a Victorian bungalow in poor condition in Bridgend; is it best to opt for a full structural survey?
What was formerly known as the Full Structural Survey has been rebranded by the RICS and is now called the Building Survey. This product is a comprehensive inspection by a chartered surveyor, which can include a property valuation (if specifically requested and carries an additional cost.
The customer can choose this type of survey for any property that they are buying, but the RICS recommends that it is most suitable for:
- Listed buildings and some properties in conservation areas
- Properties that were built more than 50 years ago
- Properties that you want to extend, change significantly, or update in an integral way
- Buildings that have been recently subjected to such change
- Properties of an unusual construction, or built with unusual materials, irrespective of their age
The duration of the assessment of the property depends entirely on the type of construction, its location and its size, but generally, it will take about a day to carry out the inspection and up to two weeks to receive the report, although Surveyor Local works hard to minimise this time where possible without impacting the quality of the service provided.
The Building Survey report itself covers the following details:
- Any defects, their criticality and what they mean (structurally and financially)
- The results of the tests for the presence of radon gas
- Evidence of subsidence or heave
- Proximity of any large trees that might impact the foundations
- Evidence of the presence of any hazardous materials (such as asbestos)
- The impact of any changes to supporting walls
- Specific damage to any masonry (inside and out)
- The results of the tests carried out for damp
- Any renovations, extensions and changes without the requisite planning consents
- Specific damage to the roof and chimney stacks
- Condition of the damp-proof course (DPC) and state of the insulation
- Damage to timbers (particularly in the roof-space)
- Evidence of woodworm, dry or wet rot in timber
- Advice on drainage that hasn’t been tested
- Details of materials and construction methods used at the property
- Recommendations and advice for any further investigations that might be required, in addition recommendations for immediate remedial action
- specific matters in relation to planning and control for the attention of your conveyancing solicitor
The price of the Building Survey is dependent on the location, size and construction of the property, but the cost usually comes in between £500 and £1,300.
Why not try out our online instant survey quote? Or you could, if you prefer, give our team of advisers a call on 0800 038 6667 to get your quote and to discuss your surveying needs.
What effect does clay soil have on a house's foundations? Can a HomeBuyer Report investigate this for a property we are hoping to buy in Bridgend?
One of the principal defects that a chartered surveyor will look for during the inspection of a property is subsidence, which conjures up images of sagging walls, large cracks along the property and even collapse.
Subsidence is defined as sudden or gradual shrinkage in the soil that surrounds foundations of a building, forcing a downward settling of the building as the weight becomes too much for the subsoil to support as it once did, and it usually occurs with little or no movement along the horizontal.
The primary causes of subsidence are both natural and man-made: clay soil is particularly susceptible as it dries out, dissolution or wearing of underground layers, removal of subsoil fluid, oxidation of soils comprising a significant organic construction, mining and other extractions, washing away of soils, location of trees and other vegetation, damaged drains, vibration from nearby heavy traffic, and nearby construction works.
Familiar symptoms of subsidence are:
- the appearance of new cracks more than 3mm wide in the walls; however, not all cracks are an indication of subsidence and may be natural settlement. This is why it’s so important to get a chartered surveyor, like those available from Surveyor Local, involved to check it out and give you their expert opinion and advice
- cracks forming in obvious weak spots, such as the corners of window- and door-frames
- windows and doors beginning to stick where they haven’t before
- new extension parting company with the rest of the property
- sinking of patios and other hard structures in the garden
The Institution of Structural Engineers don’t recommend underpinning for the large majority of subsidence issues; rather this is treated as a last resort, where piles are dug and filled with concrete to support the existing foundations. Since the biggest percentage of subsidence issues are caused by trees and other plants in the vicinity draining the soil, judicious pruning or evening removal may be enough to rectify the problem (but note that such activity may also create other issues, so an expert’s advice should be sought). And, of course, if the drains are broken, then these should be repaired as soon as possible.
Because of the severity of these issues, it is imperative that an expert chartered surveyor from Surveyor Local look at the property in order to report on the condition, the diagnosis and recommendations for any immediate action to be taken to resolve the situation. Give our friendly team a call on 0800 038 6667 to discuss your concerns and plans for a survey in more detail.
We are buying a loft-conversion near Bridgend. What advice would the building surveyor give in the report?
If the roof at a property you are buying has a major issue that needs to be resolved, your Surveyor Local chartered surveyor will easily identify it and its cause, providing recommendations for remedial courses of actions.
The problem with roofs is that they are most likely to have problems because they are hit harder by the elements and weathering than other parts of the home’s structure. In addition, there are so many different types of roof design (e.g. gambrel, open gable, cross-hipped, clerestory, flat, dormer, mansard, etc.), each with their particular foibles and points of weakness, that, even if the structure looks sound, they could well be harbouring a hidden issue. Our surveyors are experts and thorough during their inspection.
Because of the importance of the roof to the long life of the property, the surveyor will thoroughly inspect all aspects of the construction (assuming they are readily and safely accessible): from soffits to flashings, from fascias to checking the gradient of flat roofs.
The surveyor may find, during the inspection, a number of relatively minor issues that, without remedial work, may become a more serious – and expensive – problem to resolve. These include missing, loose or cracked tiles, worn felting, blocked gullies and gutters, worn or cracked flashing, leaking skylights, mould and rot (internally and externally), weathered materials, timber pests and rot, blocked drainage, roof sag, and ponding or pooling.
Time to get your survey appointment in Surveyor Local’s diary! Get your instant survey quote by filling in a handful of details in the form at the top of this page. When you’re ready to appoint your surveyor, call us on 0800 038 6667.
What kind of problems will the RICS surveyor look for on a spar-dash-rendered (stucco), Regency, detached house in Bridgend that I am thinking of purchasing?
Stucco is simply a kind of smooth plaster render that is applied to brick or masonry, where it hardens to form a smooth, flat finish, or it might be used in making decorative mouldings to complement the rendered finish.
Comprising aggregates and binder to harden the mixture and water, stucco is durable, weather-resistant and is applied in thin layers, and is common on some Georgian and Victorian properties.
However, it can be problematic, and Bridgend Building Surveys focus on issues such as lateral hairline cracking revealing the underlying mortar joints, or where dampness below flashings or where the render has been applied to ground level has resulted in detachment or delamination from the brick or underlying substrate. Problems need to be sorted out as soon as they are identified because they will worsen quickly the longer they are left. Wire mesh is often used, but this is not advised since it can hasten deterioration should the metal rust.
Remedying significant problems with stucco may be expensive as the skills are becoming harder to find, but it is not recommended for the homeowner to attempt repairs themselves. Hairline cracks or other minor issues may be solved by applying another layer of stucco, or even simply a coat of paint.
Our chartered surveyors are familiar with all types of structures and building methods, so why not give us a quick call now on 0800 038 6667 to organise a visit to your planned purchase?
Which Bridgend surveys include a valuation and reinstatement cost estimate (including costs for professional fees) and how is it worked out?
HomeBuyer Reports include an impartial valuation at an extra cost (so please request it at the time you call Surveyor Local to book up your survey) and will also contain a reinstatement cost as part of the report. When calculating an accurate estimate of the value of the building, your surveyor will use extensive local property-market knowledge as well as other factors about the property (for instance, the desirability of the location). The RICS surveyor will also consider certain fixtures and fittings and use other assumptions, like whether any damaging building techniques have been employed in the building’s construction. Surveyors disregard things like furnishings, e.g. carpets or curtains.
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 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!
Is there a risk of flooding in Bridgend, and does the chartered surveyor consider flooding damage?
The Environment Agency has estimated that around 1 in every 6 homes around the country is at risk from some sort of flooding, with more than half of those susceptible from surface water alone. The risk of floods needs to be taken seriously, since ingress of water to a property can threaten safety as well as causing major damage and disruption in the aftermath. It also has an impact on the property’s value and its insurability and the premiums that will be required to be paid. So, it makes sense to get your survey carried out by an experienced firm like Surveyor Local.
There are many causes of flooding, and, even if your home is not anywhere near a body of water, this is no reason for complacency. The sources of flooding include:
- surface water from prolonged and heavy downpours, exacerbated in areas where the water can’t drain away such as tarmac and paving slabs
- groundwater from heavy and prolonged rain and the water levels rise
- rivers which can’t contain higher levels of water flow
- coastal areas where high tides meet with low pressure storms
- burst water main where the run-off water enters your property
- burst water tank, radiators and other plumbing issues
Because of the increasing likelihood of flooding in the UK and the problems it causes, it becomes an essential part of looking for a new home to establish its history with flooding and the risk to the local area. There are several steps that can be taken:
- use the Environment Agency’s flood information service for the current situation
- search for your location on the Environment Agency’s flood map for planning service to establish the level of risk of flooding (based on historical and geographical information)
- appoint a specialist search provider to identify the position in more detail (you can talk to your conveyancing solicitor about this option and costs)
- check with the sellers to confirm anecdotal evidence of prior flooding issues
The chartered surveyor will check the likely impact of any flooding on the property and its contents, providing recommendations to reduce or even eliminate the effects should it occur. So, for one of the best surveyors to inspect the property you are planning to buy with a depth of local knowledge, call our waiting team of advisers on 0800 038 6667.
For the Bridgend HomeBuyer Report, what does an amber light rating mean for joinery and finishes?
The RICS HomeBuyer Report replaced the original HomeBuyer Survey and Valuation in 2010, and, since 2016, the option of choosing the HomeBuyer Report without the valuation has also been on offer, making the service a little cheaper.
The HomeBuyer Report is specifically designed and laid out so that clients can find what they want easily and, more importantly, understand what the report is saying. In summary, the product provides:
- a clearer layout, so that the information within it is obvious and can be found easily and swiftly
- an energy performance rating, bringing it in line with current legislation
- modern design broken down into the clear areas of the inspection (e.g. about the property, inside, outside, services, etc.)
- colour-coded condition ratings using a traffic-light system for instant visual understanding (1 (green) – no repairs required; 2 (amber) – needs repair or replacement but not immediately urgent; 3 (red) – needs urgent repair, replacement or financial investment)
- performed by a skilled chartered surveyor, such as the thorough and focused surveyors we have available at Surveyor Local
- less comprehensive and detailed (and therefore cheaper) than the Building Survey, but significantly more detailed than the Condition Report
- written in plain English with no technical or jargon terminology for easy understanding of the condition of the building
The colour-coded ratings give an understanding of the impact on the property that individual defects may have. Defects which need some attention are rated 'amber' or condition rating 2, but they are not considered to be urgent or serious. They may also require frequent observation or upkeep.
The section mentioned in the question includes visual aspects of the roof, checked with the aid of binoculars where appropriate. Both bargeboards, and general verge details, are also reported on.
The HomeBuyer Report costs an average of £400, although this is dependent on the size and location of the property. Surveyor Local offers a quality survey product for a very competitive price, so it makes sense to try our online quote calculator (simply fill in a few details in the form at the top of this page) or call us on 0800 038 6667.