One of our future neighbours suggested that there might be asbestos cement sheets at the property in Canterbury. What are the issues with asbestos, are there any health risks, and what are the options?
Asbestos is a carcinogenic, fibrous-structured silicate mineral that was primarily mined in South Africa for many years. There are over sixty types of asbestos, six of which were used in the UK in the construction industry, primarily driven by its ‘miracle’ fire-retardant, soundproofing and high tensile strength properties. As such, it can be found in all manner of construction material in any property built before 1999, when the substance was finally banned in the UK.
All forms (including the most familiar white) are ultimately dangerous and might lead to lung cancer following prolonged exposure. Finding asbestos, however, does not necessarily pose an immediate risk to health.
If asbestos is discovered, you must be careful not to break or disrupt it, and professional advice must be taken as soon as possible. Getting rid of asbestos is costly business, and this can give rise to the temptation to deal with it yourself, but it must be carried out by qualified professionals. Surveyors will not verify the presence of asbestos on a Canterbury home survey, but they will note the risk of asbestos and should offer advice.
Call Surveyor Local’s team on 0800 038 6667 to receive your Canterbury home survey quote and to be assigned to one of the best chartered surveyors available.
Do I need to upgrade to a Building Survey before purchasing a defective fifties home in Canterbury?
The Building Survey 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 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 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.
Get your instant Canterbury home survey quote by filling in the form at the top of this page with a few simple pieces of information about the property you’re planning to buy. Call Surveyor Local’s waiting team of friendly advisers on 0800 038 6667 to be assigned to an experienced and thorough chartered surveyor.
Are there any things we should verify if we are buying a period property in Canterbury in a conservation area?
There are over 10,000 conservation areas across the country, which 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.
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.
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.
RICS surveyors are expected to advise whether the property looks like it may be part of a conservation area and Section I of the Canterbury HomeBuyer Report (Issues for Your Legal Advisers) will recommend suitable questions to be raised by the conveyancing solicitor. Unapproved changes that do not have Local Authority approval should be reported in the Canterbury survey; however, these are firmly the remit of the conveyancing process and should be investigated by the lawyer.
Time to get your survey up and running and firmly in the diary! Fill in the simple form at the top of this page, then call Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 for one of our advisers to sort you out with one of the best chartered surveyors.
A neighbour warned us that access to the loft could be an issue at the house in Canterbury; what does the RICS surveyor investigate during the survey?
This is one of the most often-asked questions to be addressed by chartered surveyors. Homes throughout Canterbury could unfortunately be experiencing significant roof-maintenance problems, although it isn’t solely an issue for that city.
From the sheathing to the tie beams, the status of the whole roof will be reviewed by the surveyor. Factors like badly-installed felting are particularly troublesome for flat-roofed property and this, too, will form part of the assessment.
Given the high cost of major roof repairs like thatching, some homeowners may defer maintenance indefinitely, which makes both the cause and the consequences harder and even more expensive to treat when repairs do take place. A quote (or several) for any necessary work should be acquired as soon as possible, so that this can be used in any renegotiations with the vendor prior to exchange of contracts. Some highly recommended roofers in the Canterbury area are:
- C. L. Baker Building and Roofing, 62 Priest Avenue, Canterbury, CT2 8PL (Tel: 01227 808655)
- Coastal Guttering, 1 Simmonds Road, Canterbury, CT1 3RA (Tel: 07949 029570
- Roof 4 Life, 22 Whitehall Gardens, Canterbury, CT2 8BD (Tel: 01227 788613)
Worried about your survey and what actions you might need to take? Fill in our simple form to get your instant quote by scrolling to the top of this page. Call Surveyor Local’s friendly advisers to get an appointment with one of the most experienced chartered surveyors in the Canterbury area.
We are buying a 1986-built property in Canterbury and noticed that there is a 26mm crack above the windows in the cellar. What can be done to remedy subsidence if it is identified?
Subsidence refers to the movement of a building and its foundations, but it shouldn’t be confused with settlement. Settlement does occur in newer buildings, and is rarely a cause for concern. Their weight can cause the ground beneath the foundations to compact. In general, homes are built with a variety of materials and these will contract at different rates, which is why some symptoms may not be as worrying as first thought.
Subsidence results from a range of factors, such as the roots of trees and bushes, which undermine foundations to cause subsidence, particularly in clay-rich soil, as water is removed from the soil by the plants. Inside the property, keep an eye out for new cracks in the plaster, and 'rippling' in wallpaper that isn't caused by damp, particularly around door- and window-frames.
Finding the cause of any subsidence is absolutely essential to defining the correct remedial action to combat the subsidence. It has been estimated, for example, that around 70% of subsidence cases are caused by tree roots drawing moisture from the soil; however, be aware that removal of trees and other plants may create further problems as the soil may now have too much moisture in. You may need to monitor (and measure) the cracks for as much as a year before the picture becomes entirely clear.
For further information, why not call Surveyor Local on 0800 038 6667 to talk through your concerns with one of our friendly advisers. Get your instant Canterbury home survey quote by filling in the simple form at the top of this page.
Will a RICS chartered surveyor go into detail on the condition or the safety of the gas supply in Canterbury?
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.
I want to buy a terraced house in Canterbury (CT1 postcode area), and the vendor is asking £260,000. What will a Canterbury 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 Canterbury.
This means the average price of completed transactions for terraced houses in Canterbury in December 2018 was £253,677, which is £6,323 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Canterbury were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 25 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 instant 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?
What sort of thing will your Canterbury surveyor be focused on for a stucco-rendered house in Canterbury?
Stucco (sometimes also referred to as pargetting) 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 Canterbury 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. 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 0800 038 6667 to organise a visit to your planned purchase in Canterbury?