The brick chimney on this property in Corby looks in bad shape. What are the possible consequences? Is brick more susceptible to the weather?
Brick-built Corby residential properties have several advantages over timber-built homes; correspondingly, unfortunately, they also experience considerable issues. Any such problems ought to be assessed and reported, with solutions or likely results provided if they are not resolved. One frequently reported defect is damp and water damage resulting from gaps in uneven brickwork.
Styles of brickwork can range from the relatively familiar, like common bond, which is made up of stretchers (long faced bricks) with headers (the short face of the brick) every six courses or rows, to the rare, such as shiner bond (the bricks are laid horizontally as with more common bonds, but the with the wider face parallel to the wall). The apparent simplicity of brick repairs compared to plumbing or rewiring can lead to a DIY effort making a situation worse. Seek advice before undertaking such work, and do not disregard your surveyor’s advice.
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I am acquiring a ‘doer-upper’, Victorian bungalow in Corby; should I commission 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, who will investigate and inspect all accessible parts of the structure, as well as those areas visible by other means (e.g. through binoculars). This includes:
- Roofs, walls and floors
- Chimneys (inside and outside)
- Cellars and attic spaces
- Garages and other outbuildings and permanent structures
- Retaining walls
- Fixed or in-built cupboards and manholes
- Services coming into the property (but without removing covers, etc. for safety reasons)
- But not any concealed or enclosed areas that cannot be accessed safely or without the permission of the owner
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.
Try Surveyor Local’s neat little instant Corby survey quote generator or talk to one of our advisers on 0800 038 6667, to discuss your requirements further.
When I viewed the building I am hoping to acquire in Corby, we think we saw that there is an old fuse-board; does a surveyor advise on the wiring and fuse-box?
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.
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 Corby 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.
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I am intending to put an offer in on a Corby property constructed from Portland stone. Are there any problems that need to be investigated? Does the surveyor give advice on this?
There are many defects and issues associated with stone-built property. Stone quarried in the area is common to local homes, but some do also feature cut stone brought in from outside the county.
The choice of stone will impact the lifespan of a structure (for example, exposure to the elements (especially in areas of higher pollution) will cause many limestones to rapidly degrade). These walls will need frequent upkeep. Ask you surveyor for details, but the report may specify clearing of ivy-like plant-life and weeds.
Talk to our team of advisers to talk through your survey needs on 0800 038 6667.
I have been told that subsidence in Corby might be a problem. What subsidence-related matters will the RICS Surveyor examine?
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.
If the surveyor cannot give you a conclusive diagnosis, they will recommend that you engage the services of a structural engineer. For more advice on upkeep and repairs, you could speak to a reputable local builder.
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We're buying in Corby. Is there a flood-risk, and will the chartered surveyor check for signs of flooding damage, or if neighbour's houses have been affected?
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.
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.
Why not use our instant Corby survey quote generator (fill in the simple form at the top of this page), or call our advisers on 0800 038 6667 to find out how Surveyor Local can help you?
In a Corby HomeBuyer Report, what are the usual red-rated defects affecting rainwater pipes and gutters?
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 condition rating of three is used to emphasise the most crucial repairs. They can include defects which compromise the structural integrity of a house. In some cases, an element covered under Section E (‘Outside the property’) may be marked as ‘NI’, or 'Not inspected'. The HomeBuyer Report has a standard format, which the surveyor will complete according to the nuances of the particular Corby house, omitting sections as necessary.
An example of a red rating is rusted guttering. The drainage system is inspected visually with the aid of binoculars where appropriate. Other related matters are found elsewhere in the HomeBuyer Report with possible defects such as blockages in sewer pipes.
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A resident warned us about pests in the Corby area. How do we investigate further?
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, cockroaches, death-watch beetle and woodworm.
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.
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The seller mentioned subsidence may be a concern affecting the property. What can be done to resolve subsidence if it is identified?
Subsidence is defined as movement of the foundations of a house, but some degree of movement will always occur. Recently built homes, for example, will need to settle under the weight of the building. Heave is less common, and is caused by the death or removal of a large shrub or tree and its roots cease absorbing moisture from the ground.
Soil on ground on an incline is not as stable as that flat ground and may become unstable and begin to slide downward. Organic material in the sub-soil can also create issues. Organic material such as peat is usually stable if kept moist by the water level, but if the water level falls and the soil dries out, this organic matter will decompose. This causes the volume of soil to reduce so that foundations can crush the subsoil.
Learning the cause of any subsidence should be the first priority.This is not always as costly as some buyers fear.Removing or even pruning any tree(s) causing subsidence may be enough to halt any further movement. You may need to monitor (and measure) the cracks for as much as a year before the picture becomes entirely clear.