The estate agent has mentioned there may be white asbestos ceilings at the house in Bromley. Why would there be asbestos, are there any health risks, and will the building survey report on it?
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. From 1986, it was only white asbestos that remained in use in the UK for construction purposes.
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.
To find out what a survey can do to help you with asbestos at your proposed purchase, talk to Surveyor Local’s waiting advisers on 0800 038 6667.
We are buying a derelict Edwardian apartment in Bromley; is it necessary to go for a Building Survey or can we go for something cheaper?
The Building Survey is a comprehensive inspection by a chartered surveyor, and it provides:
- An inspection of the building(s) at the property
- A full survey report of the findings, both good and bad
- 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 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.
Want to get a competitive quote for one of the best chartered surveyors in the country? Fill in a few details in the form at the top of this page, then contact Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 today to appoint your surveyor.
Are there any issues I need to be wary of if purchasing a building in Bromley inside a conservation area?
According to the Historic England website (retrieved on 30 January 2019), conservation areas are typically so designated for these types of locations (not an exhaustive list):
- centres of historic villages, towns and cities
- fishing and mining villages
- 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century suburbs
- model housing estates up to the late 20th century
- country houses set in their historic parks
- historic transport links (sections of canals, railways, and airfields)
- industrial heritage sites
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 over 10,000) 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.
Try out our instant Bromley survey quote generator at the top of this page or call the Surveyor Local team of advisers on 0800 038 6667 to get advice and your free quote.
There is a detached house in the BR1 postcode area priced at £895,000. What things does a surveyor consider when calculating house prices in Bromley?
A qualified RICS surveyor will go to the property as well as considering the wealth of area knowledge and factors that have a bearing on the value of property. There are a huge number of issues that could affect house prices (for example, the quality of nearby schools, or whether the garden is overlooked). It can help to benchmark selling-prices recorded for similar properties in Bromley.
This means the average price of completed transactions for detached houses in Bromley in December 2018 was £889,199, which is £5,801 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Bromley were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 14 February 2019
An impartial way to get a formal house valuation is with a HomeBuyer Report, which includes a Property Valuation Report (PVR) as a core component. A qualified RICS surveyor will be part of the Valuer Registration Scheme, which reinforces professional standards.
If you need further guidance, why not try our online Bromley survey quote generator (scroll to the top of the page and fill in a few pieces of information) or call our team on 0800 038 6667?.
What sort of issues will the surveyor look for on a stucco-rendered home in Bromley that I intend to purchase?
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 Bromley 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?
Concerned about what the survey might reveal ad how to deal with the issues? Why not call the friendly advisers at Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 for advice and help?
I am buying a dovecote on the southern outskirts of Bromley. Will maintenance costs be higher than for other properties?
There are many buyers who would really love to own an old, characterful home purely because of that character and the romanticism of its charm and appeal, particularly if it’s coupled with a great location.
With such a dream, though, comes the consideration of the construction and what it means in terms of ongoing maintenance and remedying any existing problems as part of its purchase. This is because such properties are likely to have been built employing the older construction methods and materials, and this might occasionally give buyers second thoughts as a result of the stress and worry about its upkeep.
The obvious traditional (or ‘vernacular’) techniques in the construction include cob (a mixture of clay soil, straw, and sand), wattle and daub (limestone and horse-hair), straw bales, timber beams for wall construction, thatched roofs, adobe, and hemp, all of which can be very challenging to maintain.
You should be aware that expert knowledge may also be needed before buying so that the condition of the materials and structure can be fully checked out and estimates provided for any remedial work. In addition, certain materials suitable for the work may be required to be sourced, particularly if the building is listed or is in a conservation area, which might be expensive.
For more advice, talk to our friendly team of advisers at Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667, and receive your free quote.
Will our Bromley chartered surveyor investigate possible flooding damage in the area?
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
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.
Anxious to get your survey under way? Call Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 and our advisers will be happy to help.
On a HomeBuyer Report carried out in Bromley, what could a ‘condition rating 3’ mean for the 'E1 – Chimney-stacks' section of the report?
The RICS 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
Each HomeBuyer Report will provide the client with detailed information on:
- the current market valuation of the property (this is optional, so be sure to ask for it in your quote if required)
- background information and issues on the general property and its location
- structural problems (such as evidence of subsidence or heave)
- estimate of the cost for rebuilding (for insurance purposes)
- suspicion of the presence of hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos, although this will not be investigated in any detail)
- assessment of the damp-proof course (DPC), the drainage and the home’s insulation (but note that drains themselves are not tested)
- condition of the timbers throughout the property (where accessible), specifically identifying existence of woodworm or rot
- test results for damp in all walls
- details of any urgent defects that will need specialist inspection prior to signing the contract
- details of any major defects that will have an impact on the property’s value
- planning and control issues for the attention of your conveyancing solicitor
A condition rating of three (or red) is used to emphasise the most crucial repairs and include defects which compromise the structural integrity of a house or flat. In some cases, an element covered under Section E may be marked as ‘NI’ (or 'Not inspected'). Irrespective of the standardised basic format of the report, your surveyor will provide a bespoke report, tailored to your particular concerns.
If you are unsure about which survey is the best for you, you could check out the comparisons of the offered products on Surveyor Local’s site by clicking compare surveys.
Once you are ready to be assigned an experienced chartered surveyor with Surveyor Local, give us a quick call on 0800 038 6667.
When I saw the mid-century home I am hoping to lease it looked like there was evidence of an overload of the fuses, does a the surveyor report on electrical defects?
When conducting a Building Survey in Bromley a surveyor will usually mention the overall electrical system if it is apparent that the electrics are in an unsafe state of repair. A professional surveyor is trained to give detail on issues like examining the nature of electrical fittings in bathrooms or checking the condition of any visible wiring a sample of switch gear. Looking at any documentation from a test on the condition of the electrical connections carried out by an electrician on the building will usually form part of the Homebuyer report in Bromley.
The IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers) advocate that a check to confirm whether an electrical installation is in a satisfactory condition need be completed every 10 years (or every 5 if renting out).