We are purchasing in Cannock. What will we need to pay attention to when purchasing an old building? Will the residence's age be a concern?
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.
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What should I be aware of when buying a flat in the region of a waste management site, and landfill sites generally?
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.
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 Cannock, 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.
Your Surveyor Local surveyor will have a deep knowledge of the local area and will therefore be aware of where landfill sites have been closed and built over. In some instances, movement in what has been buried may be a cause or start of subsidence, and they will be able to advise accordingly.
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Will there be any problems we need to be wary of if we are intending to buy a converted flat in Cannock near a conservation area?
Conservation areas are generally designated as such by the local council, although the governmental public body Historic England has the power to make designations in consultation with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Historic England 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.
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.
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What sort of issues will a chartered surveyor focus on with a smooth-stucco, Victorian-period home in Cannock that I am thinking of purchasing?
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 Cannock RICS Level 3 Survey and RICS Level 2 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. 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.
Our chartered surveyors are familiar with all types of structures and building methods, so why not give us a quick call now on 08000327649 to organise a visit to your planned purchase in Cannock?
Does a RICS surveyor report on the condition of the gas supply for a bungalow in Cannock?
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.
If you’re at all worried about the survey process, why not give Surveyor Local a call on 08000327649 and one of our friendly advisers will talk you through it and the best choice of survey for you. You can get an instant Cannock survey quote by filling in the simple form at the top of this page.
I've put in an offer on a flat in Cannock. What suggestions can a Cannock property surveyor make? Is brick more susceptible to the weather and pollution?
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.
What the bricks and the way that they are laid all have in common is that they all have their susceptibilities, which your Surveyor Local chartered surveyor will analyse and inspect as part of your survey. Some of the more typical issues are frost attack, spalling, efflorescence or staining, sulphate attack, and wall-tie failure, among several others.
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. Local builders include:
- Nolan Build, 106 Hatherton Road, Cannock, WS11 1HH (Tel: 01543 323170)
- Haines Building & Maintenance, 71 Stafford Lane, Hednesford, Cannock, WS12 1LL (Tel: 01543 422471)
For your Cannock home survey quote, use Surveyor Local’s online generator (scroll to the top of this page and fill in the form in moments), or call us on 08000327649 to talk to one of our team of advisers.
I want to buy a flat in Cannock (WS11 postcode area), and the vendor is asking £100,000. What will a Cannock surveyor consider when carrying out a professional valuation?
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 Cannock (in the Cannock Chase local authority area).
This means the average price of completed transactions for flats in Cannock in December 2018 was £92,571, which is £7,429 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Cannock were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 27 February 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.
If you need further guidance, why not try our online instant quote generator (scroll to the top of the page and fill in a few pieces of information) or call Surveyor Local’s team of friendly advisers on 08000327649?
The seller suggested subsidence could be a problem impacting the flat in Cannock. What subsidence information does the RICS Level 2 Survey include?
Movement of a home on a structural level is what is known as subsidence. Cracks that appear quickly could indicate subsidence, and organic material in the subsoil can also create issues. Organic material such as peat is usually stable if it is kept moist by the water level, but if the soil dries, this organic matter will rot, causing the soil beneath and around the foundations to collapse.
Finding the cause of any subsidence is key to identifying the appropriate remedial action. Sorting out the roots of trees may make the problem worse, however, so professional advice should be sought from an arborist or structural engineer before attempting to cut them back or removing them. Underpinning could be the only option in some cases, unfortunately, or structural brickwork may need to be dismantled and rebuilt, while more cosmetic areas can effectively be repaired with resin-filling in the cracks.
This work can be very time-consuming, expensive and inconvenient. A surveyor will be able to recommend who to speak to about the best course of action, in order to remedy both the causes of the subsidence and the resulting damage to the property itself.
For more advice regarding fixing subsidence problems, you could try contacting a local reputable builder, or contact Surveyor Local’s advisers on 08000327649 to find out what your Cannock home survey can provide for you; we’re open 7 days a week. You can also get an instant quote by completing the form at the top of this page.