What should I be aware of when buying a maisonette in Newport next to landfill sites or recycling centres?
A ‘landfill site’ is the generic term given for specialist locations licensed by the government (and the Environment Agency) for any material that won’t be recycled or reused to be dumped, buried or collected in one place. Because of the shortage of new locations for landfill, and the reduction in available space at existing ones, this explains the drive for better recycling options.
However, be aware that recycling areas can present as much of a hazard as the familiar dumping sites, with noxious chemicals spilling into the environment, either in the ground, through the water-table, the drains or airborne, especially where waste is burnt.
Specialist licenses are required for those companies operating such sites, and these are inspected to ensure that all legal measures are being correctly enforced and complied with.
Whether it’s a local authority tip, a recycling centre, or a true landfill site, no-one would willingly wish to live in close proximity to one (although the large majority of the British population do). For this reason, it makes complete sense for your surveyor to check out the environmental and structural impact of such necessary waste management sites on the property you are wishing to buy in Newport, not only from the environmental side of things but also from the traffic passing in and out of the site and how the vibrations might be impacting the foundations and the environs.
Where there is cause for concern, or if there appears to contamination that is attributable directly to such sites, your surveyor will note this in the report and highlight the severity for remedial action, often placing it in the section for consideration by your conveyancing solicitor to look into with the appropriate authorities.
Surveyors will examine any structural issues at your property that are directly linked to the landfill. Your conveyancer will conduct environmental searches of the Environmental Agency database and Newport City Council, informing you if the search uncovers a local landfill site in the report on title.
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Are there any problems with buying a converted flat in Newport if it’s near a conservation area, particularly in relation to house prices?
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 reviews and assesses 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 around 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.
Surveyors will report if the property looks to be in such a designated location, and Section I of a Newport RICS Level 2 Survey (Issues for Your Legal Advisers) will recommend further enquiries for your conveyancer to follow up. Out-of-keeping changes that do not have Local Authority approval will be noted, but these will be the concern of your legal representative.
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What sort of issues will the Newport surveyor look for on a stipple-rendered, Victorian house in Newport 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 Regency-period, Georgian and Victorian properties.
However, it can be problematic, and Newport RICS Level 2 Surveys and RICS Level 3 Survey 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. And the damp-proof course may be left inoperative should the render be applied over the top of it and below its level.
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.
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Will a surveyor advise on the safety of the gas flues in our Newport terraced house?
Everyone is aware that the volatility and the highly inflammable nature of natural gas make it a very dangerous substance if not regulated and checked by qualified experts. It is also for this reason that, where there is a gas supply to a property, your chartered surveyor will inspect the system.
All work on gas appliances and connection to the mains must comply with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, while any new heat-producing gas appliance installed (e.g. a cooker hob, or gas fire) requires the Local Authority to be informed so that it will comply with building regulations in order to gain the requisite approval.
A certificate of works will be provided by a qualified Gas Safe engineer, and this will be sought and checked for validity and status by the surveyor during the inspection. Regulations legally require landlords to complete appliance and installation inspections annually. Non-compliance penalties include heavy fines and possible criminal records.
As part of the survey, the chartered surveyor will visually check all the accessible parts of the gas system, such as the meter location and position and any gas-connected fixtures like chimney breasts or flues. However, if there are any fittings, they won't be dislodged for inspection, and neither will they remove covers or piping since they are not qualified to do so.
Where the surveyor identifies any area for potential concern, they will note this in the survey report, with recommendations for any remedial action to be taken, alongside a measure of severity. Where a problem is deemed critical, if only for a qualified engineer to check and assess the situation, any significant cost can be used to open up conversations with the seller about the possibility of offsetting such a cost by reducing the asking price.
Gas is potentially hazardous and, should you have any concerns about it, call a Gas Safe engineer. If you smell gas, call the free national Gas Emergency Services number immediately on 0800 111 999.
Local highly-rated Gas Safe engineers in the area can be identified or located at the official Gas Safe Register site.
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If we are purchasing in Newport, what warnings would the surveyor give us for residences with rat-trap bond walls?
Brick-built houses have been a feature of construction in this country for hundreds of years, leading to a good selection of methods and styles. Newport brick-walled residential properties can show signs of distinct issues, from damp-proof course failure through diagonal cracks to frost damage, which over time will cause bricks and mortar to disintegrate entirely. A reputable local builder should be able to assist and to provide you with a quote for any work, although it would be worth commissioning a number of them for comparison.
Consider the advice of both the surveyor and a builder or other specialist if any potential structural defects arise during the survey. For more advice and to organise one of the best chartered surveyors in the country, call Surveyor Local’s team of waiting advisers on 0800 022 4428. You can obtain an instant survey quote for your planned Newport purchase when you fill in a few simple details in the form at the top of this page.
Is rain an issue in Newport?
It is quite curious that the effect that high levels of rainfall has on your property is not given enough thought, particularly as weather and rain are so common and a prime topic of conversation in Britain as to be verging on the stereotypical.
Many problems can exist if rainwater goods are not well-managed (for instance, damp stains around drainage may indicate that the downspouts are at risk, and blocked rainwater goods can result in lasting damage to the fabric of a home).
Fortunately, problems with drains are quite easy to resolve, if they are caught early. If not cleared out regularly, though, the resulting damage can lower the value of the property, and it will get increasingly difficult to successfully resolve.
Anxious to understand what state and condition your planned purchase is in? Call us at Surveyor Local on 0800 022 4428 and our friendly advisers will take you through the process and assign a great surveyor to look over your property. Secure the services of an experienced chartered surveyor for a competitive price by paying 10% of the quoted amount after filling in the form at the top of this page.
We saw evidence that the kitchen doorframe was skewed when we last viewed the property. What can be done to resolve subsidence if it is identified?
Subsidence is defined as the movement in a building's foundations that is likely to affect its structural integrity. In the majority of cases, though, subsidence can be set right without too much impact.
Cracks to a wall surface are an obvious clue of subsidence, but equally they may also be a harmless symptom of settling. Organic material in the subsoil can also create issues; for example, peat is usually stable if it is kept moist by the water level, but if the soil dries, this organic matter will decompose, causing the soil beneath and around the foundations to collapse.
The root cause of any subsidence must be found before repairs can commence, as the wrong solution may make the problem worse. Repairing leaking drains, water mains or broken downpipes, which are the cause of the subsidence, should be all that is needed to stabilise the home, with no underpinning required. In serious cases, however, underpinning may be necessary.
As an alternative to underpinning, piling, or mini-piling, uses concrete or steel poles that are driven down into more stable soil, to stop further movement. If the load-bearing parts of the property have been damaged, these may be repaired with steel rods, fixed into place with cement to restore the structural integrity of the building. A surveyor will be able to tell you if there is subsidence in your home or not, and what is causing it.
To get more advice as to what the survey can provide for you, contact 0800 022 4428 to talk to one of our team of advisers at Surveyor Local. Get your instant Newport survey quote in a matter of moments by filling in a handful of details in the form at the top of this page.
There is a semi-detached house in the NP18 postcode area priced at £195,000. What things does a surveyor consider when calculating house prices in Newport?
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 Newport.
This means the average price of completed transactions for semi-detached houses in Newport in December 2018 was £190,480, which is £4,520 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Newport were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 8 March 2019
An impartial way to get a formal house valuation is with a RICS Level 2 Survey, 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.
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