The vendor of the property we’re buying in Chelmsford has mentioned there may be white asbestos sprayed on ceilings; is this a major concern, and can it be easily dealt with?
Asbestos is the name given to the fibrous materials that are now known to be harmful to organisms, when the dust or fibrils are released into the environment (by any number of processes including abrasion). 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.
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.
Often considered to be a ‘miracle’ material before its harmful effects were understood, asbestos was chosen for its resistance to fire and electricity, tensile strength, and 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.
Get your instant, low-cost quote from Surveyor Local by filling a few short details in the form at the top of this page or call our friendly advisers on 08000327649 to get your survey under way.
We are acquiring a shabby, Victorian bungalow in Chelmsford; do I need to go for a full structural survey?
What was formerly known as the Full Structural Survey has been rebranded by the RICS and is now called the RICS Level 3 Survey. This product 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, a property valuation (if specifically requested and carries an additional cost, if so).
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 price of the RICS Level 3 Survey is dependent on the location, size and construction of the property, but the cost usually comes in between £500 and £1,300.
Try our instant Chelmsford survey quote generator (scroll to the top of this page to fill the form in) or call us at Surveyor Local on 08000327649 to discuss which survey would be best suited to your needs.
There is a detached house in the CM2 postcode area priced at £590,000. What things does a surveyor consider when calculating house prices in Chelmsford?
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 Chelmsford.
This means the average price of completed transactions for detached houses in Chelmsford in December 2018 was £583,284, which is £6,716 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Chelmsford were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 13 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 home survey quote generator (scroll to the top of the page and fill in a few pieces of information) or call our team on 08000327649?
I am going to put in an offer in on a building on the outskirts of Chelmsford, and we are sensitive to the cost of roof repairs. What is the surveyor concerned about during the survey work?
If the roof has a major issue that needs to be resolved, your Surveyor Local chartered surveyor will easily identify it and its cause, since they are trained to look for a wide variety of such issues. They will also make recommendations for any remedial courses of actions.
In addition to the structure and design of the roof itself, the types of material used in their construction can be a source of problems, whether it is the familiar shingles or slate, shaped or flat, metals like zinc, aluminium, stainless steel, lead or copper, or other coverings such as bituminous felt, plastic, resin or fibreglass.
Because of the importance of the roof to the long life of the property, the surveyor will thoroughly inspect all aspects of the construction (assuming they are readily and safely accessible): from soffits to guttering, from rafters to flashing, from chimneys to purlins.
The surveyor may find, during the inspection, a number of relatively minor issues that, without remedial work, may become a more serious – and expensive – problem to resolve. These include missing, loose or cracked tiles, worn felting, blocked gullies and gutters, worn or cracked flashing, leaking skylights, mould and rot (internally and externally), timber pests and rot, and roof sag, among other issues.
Most roofing work, unless you are planning a major extension, won’t require planning permission, but may require building regulations certification. Your surveyor will be happy to advise. Since most roofing work, other than simple maintenance tasks, will likely cost a lot of money to resolve, obtaining a number of quotes for any work might be a useful bargaining tool to renegotiate the agreed price with the seller.
Anxious about what the survey might reveal and how to deal with it? Surveyor Local’s chartered surveyors will talk you through the process and keep you apprised of findings, so you are always in control. Call our advisers now on 08000327649 to get your survey sorted out today.
We are planning to buy a 1988-built apartment in Chelmsford and saw evidence of cracked wall in the living-room. What are the risks, and what subsidence-related defects will my RICS Level 2 Survey look into?
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 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.
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 you are still concerned, why not give Surveyor Local’s team of advisers a call on 08000327649 to discuss the issues and obtain their advice along with your free quote?
Does a house surveyor consider signs of flooding damage in Chelmsford?
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 firm 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.
Surveyor Local assigns you a highly experienced chartered surveyor with great local knowledge and a proactive attitude. This coupled with our competitive prices means you need look no further than us. Call our friendly advisers now on 08000327649 to get your survey started.
In a Chelmsford RICS Level 2 Survey, what are the common defects that receive a ‘condition rating 2’ that impacts the E4 - Main Walls section of the report?
The RICS Level 2 Survey replaced the original HomeBuyer Survey and Valuation in 2010, and, since 2016, the option of choosing the RICS Level 2 Survey without the valuation has also been on offer, making the service a little cheaper.
The RICS Level 2 Survey 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 RICS Level 3 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
Foundations and possible defects within the walls themselves will not be investigated by the surveyor, because they will not be digging or drilling. However, they will look for evidence of problems from other sources: for instance, the state of the damp-proof course, or a rusted lintel the types of issues that will be covered under Section E4 of the report.
Issues requiring some attention are labelled as ‘condition rating 2’, although this may not be urgent. The RICS Level 2 Survey is intended to be easy to read and understand, unlike some more complex survey reports. Your property surveyor will mark each aspect of the property included in Section E with either a green, orange or red rating, to indicate the seriousness of any issues included in the survey.
The RICS Level 2 Survey 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 08000327649.
Time to get your surveyor signed up with Surveyor Local! Give us a quick call now on 08000327649 and our advisers will get you on your way.
We are concerned about bugs at the property we want to buy in Chelmsford; do we need a chartered surveyor?
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 – gnawing through electric cables (causing fire risk), timber, pipes and brickwork, coupled with their ability to produce many offspring very quickly and the risk of transporting harmful bacteria around the home makes mice and rats a significant pest to remove
- cockroaches – multiplying very quickly and spreading disease through food (primarily) and their ability to hide in crevices and difficult to find places makes cockroaches a major source of concern and difficult to remove
- death-watch beetle – their characteristic tapping to attract a mate leads to sleepless nights (the vigil for dying people being the origin of the name), while their propensity for boring through wood threatens to destroy the supporting beams in ceilings, roofs and floors
- woodworm – another woodboring pest that turns wood into dust and can seriously and quickly undermine the structure of a property
- carpet beetle larvae – textile-destroying pests
- woodlice – although not a major pest themselves, they are a potential indication of damp within the property
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 and remedies to eradicate pests 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.
Try Surveyor Local’s online instant Chelmsford survey quote generator (scroll to the top of this page to fill in the simple form) or call our waiting advisers on 08000327649.
What impact does clay soil have on a property's foundations? What should we expect a RICS Level 3 Survey to include, and will the Surveyor advise on upkeep?
Clay soil is related to a handful of potentially severe defects. Subsidence is a major concern, but there are others, including uneven soil compaction. There are two terms used to describe clay soils likely to be problematic, 'expansive' and 'reactive'. If a home owner is aware that the surrounding soil has a high clay content, they should monitor for possible signs, such as a difficult-to-open kitchen window. Fortunately, there are steps a home owner can take. Your surveyor should refer to maintenance options in their report, like removal of any blockages in the guttering and drains, to prevent water leaking into the soil. Patches of wet soil can just as easily warp foundations, so care must be taken to ensure the overall moisture level of the clay soil around the foundations stays consistent.
What problems will the Surveyor be looking for on a stipple rendered (stucco) Victorian detached house in Chelmsford.
Stucco (aka pargetting) is in fact just a sort of flat finish render. Typically stucco is applied to underlying brick that dries to an even finish. The coating is highly attractive and is/was was often applied to Victorian and Georgian homes. It is made from an aggregate, a binder and water and hardens to a dense solid. it can be prone to defect and Surveyors frequently discover any number of problems like trapped water leading to damp problems
Another example of problems might include sulphate attack from sulphates or salts absorbed from bricks. Re-coating problems may be dear as the skills are getting more difficult to find.
For a local expert try Galleywood Plastering, 19, Keene Way, Chelmsford, CM2 8NT Tel. 01245 601659