I suspect there may be a risk of asbestos insulation in the Cheshire flat I’m buying; what are the issues with it?
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.
Of the other types:
- brown asbestos (amosite) was used in in cement sheets, ceiling tiles and pipe insulation
- blue asbestos (crocidolite) was used in spray-on ceilings, insulation, and plastic and cement products
- green asbestos (anthophyllite), although limited, was used in insulation and general construction, and
- tremolite and actinolite were not used commercially
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.
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.
Looking for a thorough and knowledgeable chartered surveyor to inspect the home you’re planning to buy? Fill in a few details at the top of this page to get your instant online quote, and then call our waiting team of advisers on 0800 038 6667 to set up an appointment with one of our surveyors.
We are buying a Cheshire home built in the late 80s, but it has clay foundations; will the HomeBuyer Report investigate this?
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.
The opposite, but rarer, condition is known as ground heave, where the subsoil surrounding the foundations expands and, because it usually can’t move sideways, it is forced upwards. Note that the symptoms are quite similar to subsidence in terms of cracking or sticking windows and doors, but there will probably be other symptoms such as raising of patio slabs or lifting of decking.
Because of the severity of these issues, it is imperative that an expert chartered surveyor from Surveyor Local assesses the property in order to report on the condition, the diagnosis and recommendations for any immediate action to be taken to resolve the situation. Anxious to get a surveyor in to look over the property and report on any findings? Get your online quote now by filling in a handful of details in the form at the top corner of this page and call our friendly team of advisers on 0800 038 6667 to appoint your chartered surveyor today!
How will we know what effect high levels of rainfall could have on our new home in Cheshire, and does our chartered surveyor mention it? Could damaged downspouts lower the property value?
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 company 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.
Get set with one of the best chartered surveyors available in the country by calling Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 right now.
Should I select a Full Structural Survey, Building Survey or HomeBuyer Report for a home in Cheshire, and which one would be cheaper?
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 the most comprehensive inspection by a chartered surveyor, while the HomeBuyer Report offers a service that is best for a standard home, and the Property Valuation is just that, an assessment of the property’s market worth.
For more information on the differences and provisions of each product, you can go to Surveyor Local’s comparison page.
Get an appointment in one of Surveyor Local’s chartered surveyor’s diary to inspect the property that you’re looking to buy. Call our waiting team on 0800 038 6667 right now.
What kind of problems will the surveyor be looking for on a stucco-rendered home in Cheshire that I wish to buy?
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 Cheshire 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?
In a Cheshire HomeBuyer Report, what might a ‘condition rating 3’ mean for roof-coverings?
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 is intended to be easy to read and understand. As buyers in Cheshire are unlikely to be experts in local building techniques and construction materials used, the report is written with as little jargon as possible. Green, orange and red ratings are an indication of the extent to which each defect requires attention. Serious concerns are marked as ‘condition rating 3’. Such issues can have a significant impact on a residence's value. Some areas may also be marked as 'Not inspected'.
The HomeBuyer Report costs an average of £400, although this is dependent on the size and location of the property. Why not have a look at Surveyor Local’s example HomeBuyer Report? Then you can try out our instant Cheshire survey quote by filling in a few details in the form at the top of this page or call one of our waiting advisers on 0800 038 6667?
I am going to buy a property in Cheshire. What will a surveyor consider during a valuation?
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. Typically, a Property Valuation Report will be required in the following circumstances:
- loans and mortgage applications, to verify the true value of the property to guarantee sufficient equity remains in the building to pay off the mortgage or loan should the buyer default on payments
- probate and wills in order to establish the amount of inheritance tax owing from the legacy
- Help to Buy to establish a loan redemption figure
- buying or selling a property to ensure that the price being asked is a fair one
- shared ownership to confirm the share of equity figures
- matrimonial ownership, which follows the same design as that for shared ownership
- Capital Gains Tax to confirm the tax amounts due to HMRC
- Buy-to-Let rental value confirmation and assessment of loan or mortgage affordability
- dispute resolution to assess the financial share in the property
- immigration for the valuation of any immovable assets
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!