The Dutch bond brick on this Cambridge house might need repairs; what should we do?
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.
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.
If you want to talk to someone about your surveying options, call our advisers at Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667, or try our instant Cambridge survey quote generator via the form at the top of this page.
If we are buying a Victorian, Cambridge apartment property in poor condition, is it necessary to upgrade to 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, 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 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.
Surveyor Local offers your most cost-effective options for whichever type of survey you choose. You can obtain your instant, low-cost quote by filling in the form at the top of this page, or, if you’re ready to appoint your chartered surveyor, call our helpful advisers now on 0800 038 6667.
We are buying a loft-conversion on the outskirts of Cambridge, and we are wary of potential roofing issues. What does a surveyor look for?
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. bonnet, gambrel, open gable, cross-hipped, clerestory, skillion, flat, butterfly, 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.
The types of material used in their construction can also be a source of problems, whether it is the familiar shingles or slate, shaped or flat, metals like zinc, aluminium, stainless steel, lead or copper, or other coverings such as bituminous felt, plastic, resin or fibreglass.
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
- ponding or pooling
Most roofing work, unless you are planning a major extension, won’t require planning permission, but may require building regulations certification. Your surveyor will be happy to advise. Since most roofing work, other than simple maintenance tasks, will likely cost a lot of money to resolve, obtaining a number of quotes for any work might be a useful bargaining tool to renegotiate the agreed price with the seller.
Anxious about what to expect from a survey and what it might highlight? Call our friendly advisers at Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 and they will be happy to guide you through.
The agent has mentioned subsidence could be a concern at the Cambridge bungalow we want to buy. What can be done to fix subsidence if it is identified?
One of the principal defects that a chartered surveyor will look for during the inspection of a property is the dreaded 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.
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 looks 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.
Call our waiting advisers on 0800 038 6667 to discuss your specific concerns and to find out what Surveyor Local can do for you and your survey needs.
We are purchasing an older converted barn in Cambridge. Will the property's age be an issue?
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.
Now is a great time to book up your chartered surveyor with Surveyor Local. Our low-cost fees combined with a great quality service and an experienced surveyor make us the best option. Call us now on 0800 038 6667 and one of our advisers will be happy to get you under way.
In the HomeBuyer Report, what will the 'E9 - Other' section include?
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 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.
A fairly common example of issues may be external wooden steps which are in contact with the soil, creating an issue with rotting and eventually safety of use. This category – ‘E9 – Other’ – is used for external elements that require reporting, but which do not fit into the other categories. Your surveyor can provide more details if required.
Your Surveyor Local chartered surveyor will, upon being assigned, contact you and talk you through what to expect from the survey process and be on hand to answer any questions you might have. Get your instant quote by filling in the simple and short form at the top of this page, and, once you’re happy to appoint a surveyor, call Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667.
We are buying in Cambridge, and think we saw signs of an infestation in the lounge; what should we do?
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.
Talk to our waiting team at Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 to discuss your options and to receive your free quote.
There is a detached house in the CB2 postcode area priced at £900,000. What things does a surveyor consider when calculating house prices in Cambridge?
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 Cambridge.
This means the average price of completed transactions for detached houses in Cambridge in December 2018 was £852,897, which is £47,103 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Cambridge were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 12 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 Cambridge 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?