Can we get brick-upkeep guidance for the Durham property we are buying? Is age of the building likely to be a factor?
By far the most popular building material, and the most durable, in the UK across the centuries, 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.
For buyers interested in less common uses of brick, consider alternating courses of brick and stone, e.g. flint.
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 and damage, spalling, efflorescence or staining, sulphate attack, wall-tie failure, weathering and disintegration, and mortar deterioration.
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:
- J & C’s Roofing & Building Services, Glenburn House, Sherburn Road, Durham, DH1 2JW (Tel: 0191 384 2364)
- ADH Building Services, 1 Leslie Villas, Coxhoe, DH6 4AE (Tel: 0191 377 3294)
For advice on the survey process to assist in defining these issues, call our waiting team of advisers on 0800 022 4428.
I am acquiring a converted, period, terraced home in Durham; is it necessary to spend a bit more on a RICS Level 3 Survey?
The RICS Level 3 Survey is a comprehensive inspection by a chartered surveyor, and it is intended for any property that you 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 chartered surveyor 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 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.
If you want to understand the differences between the types of product provided by Surveyor Local, click on compare the surveys to get more detail.
Get your instant Surveyor Local quote by filling in the form at the top of this age with a few simple details or call our friendly team of advisers on 0800 022 4428 and they will get you assigned to a thorough and experienced chartered surveyor.
When I went to see the home I want to lease in Durham, I noticed that there are doubts as to the safety of the electrical system; does the surveyor report any faults with the electrics?
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.
For the residential properties, it covers all wiring, the circuit-breakers, residual current devices (RCDs), sockets, and so on, while special areas, such as bathrooms (e.g. heating or shaving sockets), swimming pools (internal or external), ponds, or portable outdoor equipment, which are susceptible to moisture, will be reviewed thoroughly.
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 Durham RICS Level 3 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.
Local highly-rated electricians in the area include:
- Wilpo Electrical Ltd., 1a Thorpe Road, Easington, Durham, SR8 3UA (Tel: 07598 537841/07831 903442)
- Powaplus Electrical, Old Mill View, 3 Cambridge Drive, Great Lumley, Chester-Le-Street, DH3 4QR (Tel: 07791 950942)
Call our waiting team of helpful advisers to get your appointment for a chartered surveyor to look over your chosen property; we’re open 7 days a week for your convenience.
I am going to put in an offer on a structure in Durham. What problems with the roof should we look into during the survey?
If the roof at a property you are buying has a major issue that needs to be resolved, your Surveyor Local chartered surveyor will easily identify it and its cause, providing recommendations for remedial courses of actions.
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 structure of the roof (especially if it’s not flat), the walls of the property need to be able to take the load of what will be a heavy structure, and the surveyor will look for signs of either the roof bowing (indicating that the material covering the roof is too heavy for the supports) or the walls billowing (showing that the roof is too heavy for the wall to support it).
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), including soffits, downspouts, chimneys, flashing, guttering, cladding, fascias, barge boards, purlins, trusses, rafters, collar beams, and ridgeboards.
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)
- weathered materials
- timber pests and rot
- blocked drainage
- roof sag
- ponding or pooling
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.
Use Surveyor Local’s instant Durham home survey quote generator (scroll to the top of this page to fill in a few simple details) or call us on 0800 022 4428 to discuss your survey needs and to receive your free quote.
We are buying a 1960-built apartment in Durham and spotted that there is a 19mm gap between the garage wall and the doorframe. What subsidence-related matters will the Surveyor consider?
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.
The primary causes of subsidence are both natural and man-made:
- clay soil is particularly susceptible as it dries out
- dissolution or wearing of underground layers, such as rocks, permafrost or vegetative substances such as peat
- removal of subsoil fluid
- oxidation of soils where they comprise a significant organic construction
- mining and other extractions
- washing away of soils
- location of trees and other vegetation sucking up the moisture from the soil causing shrinkage
- damaged drains washing soil away from the foundations
- vibration from nearby heavy traffic
- nearby construction works
Because of the severity of these issues, it is crucial that an expert chartered surveyor from Surveyor Local checks over the property in order to report on the condition, the diagnosis and recommendations for any immediate action to be taken to resolve the situation.
Worried about your planned purchase and want a thorough inspection without spending a lot of money? Call Surveyor Local on 0800 022 4428 and we’ll get you under way.
Does an RICS surveyor advise on the state of repair of the gas supply in Durham?
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.
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.
The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations Act 1998 stipulates that all landlords have to carry out gas-related appliance and installation inspections every year, and punishments for failure to comply are severe.
For a thorough inspection by an experienced and highly-recommended chartered surveyor, call our team of friendly advisers on 0800 022 4428; we’re open 7 days a week.
I want to purchase a detached property in Durham (DH1). The asking price is £177,000. What considerations will a surveyor evaluate when conducting a property valuation report?
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 Durham.
This means the average price of completed transactions for detached houses in Durham in December 2018 was £170,231, which is £6,769 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Durham were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 15 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 Durham home survey quote generator (scroll to the top of the page and fill in a few pieces of information) or call our team on 0800 022 4428?
What should we be fearful of if buying a flat near to Joint Stocks Quarry on Quarrington Hill Road, and landfill sites generally?
A ‘landfill site’ (like the one on Quarrington Hill Road) 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, 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.
RICS Level 3 Survey in Durham will flag up any structural problems with the property that are connected with the landfill, so that your conveyancer can conduct environmental searches of specialist data (such as the Landmark datasets) in addition to contacting the County Durham Local Authority, and they will address any concerns you may have in this area.
For the most cost-effective survey option with one of the best chartered surveyors available, try our online quote generator (fill in a few details in the form at the top of this page) and call Surveyor Local’s team of advisers on 0800 022 4428.