We are buying in East Sussex and are looking for residences built with Sussex bond brick; what recommendations will your surveyors make?
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, Sussex 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 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.
Ready to get an appointment set up with one of the best chartered surveyors available? Call Surveyor Local now on 0800 022 4428 and chat to one of our friendly advisers.
Are there any issues I would need to check on when buying an East Sussex period property located in a conservation area?
Conservation areas were first conceived by Act of Parliament in 1967, and they are designed to designate areas deemed to be worth preservation for historical or architectural interest reasons. This ensures that they are managed and protected from inappropriate or unsympathetic change.
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.
According to the Historic England website (retrieved on 30 January 2019), the role of the local council (or themselves as designator) is as follows:
- Designation: the formal process of setting up a location to become a conservation area
- Appraisal: an assessment of written and photographic evidence supporting the designation
- Management Plan: the tool that defines how the local council is going to fulfil their duties to manage and protect the conservation area
- Alert and involve the community: All properties in the conservation area will require recording this as a Local Land Charge, while residents will need to be apprised of their responsibilities with respect to change at their properties (buildings and land), including tree-pruning, installation of solar panels or satellite dishes, building of walls or laying of slabs, demolition in part or whole of any structure
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 9,300) 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.
All of the chartered surveyors working for Surveyor Local have an in-depth knowledge of conservation areas and what to look for during their inspection. Why not appoint one of them to look over your property by calling our team of advisers today on 0800 022 4428?
When I visited a property I want to acquire in East Sussex, it looked like there could be corrosion of the wiring; does the survey advise on the state of 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.
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 an East Sussex 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.
Time to get the survey on your planned purchase up and running today. Get your instant online survey quote with Surveyor Local by filling in a few details in the form at the top of this page or call our friendly team of advisers on 0800 022 4428.
I am going to put in an offer on a structure in St. Leonards-on-Sea, and we expect to budget something for roof maintenance; what aspects of the loft will be investigated?
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 problem with roofs is that they are most likely to have problems because they are hit harder by the elements and weathering than other parts of the home’s structure. Even if the construction looks sound, they could well be harbouring a hidden issue. Our surveyors are experts and will be thorough during their inspection.
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):
- soffits: the visible underside of the eaves
- downspout: any vertical drainpipe down the side of the property, there to transport rainwater away from the guttering
- chimney: ventilating hot air and gases from within the home
- flashing: protection from rainwater and often seen where there is a perpendicular joint, such as chimney to roof
- guttering: channels rainwater from the roof surface to the downspout
- cladding: the material used to cover and protect the roof structure
- fascias: the vertical boards under the eaves along the roofline onto which the soffits are attached
- barge boards: a type of fascia found on the gable end of a roof
- purlins: horizontal beams on the trusses to support the roof structure and give it rigidity
- trusses: the (usually A-shape) support beams that form the basic shape of the roof
- rafters: the beams that form the support for roofs
- collar beams: the horizontal beam in the trusses to provide rigidity and strength
- ridgeboard: the horizontal board the runs along the apex of the trusses
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.
Get your instant survey quote within a few seconds by filling in a few pieces of information in the form at the top of this page. Surveyor Local’s team of friendly advisers are waiting for your call on 0800 022 4428 to get your chartered surveyor lined up today.
A neighbour has suggested that subsidence might be worth checking; what subsidence information does the Hastings RICS Level 2 Survey include?
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
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 crucial that an expert chartered surveyor from Surveyor Local checks the East Sussex property in order to report on the condition, the diagnosis and recommendations for any immediate action to be taken to resolve the situation.
Call our waiting team of advisers at Surveyor Local on 0800 022 4428 and they will be happy to talk you through the survey process and assign you to one of the best chartered surveyors available.
We are buying a 16th-Century farmstead in Battle; are the repair costs likely to be higher?
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.
Get your instant Surveyor Local survey quote by filling in the short form at the top of this page. To be assigned a thorough and expert chartered surveyor, call our waiting team on 0800 022 4428.
In an East Sussex RICS Level 2 Survey, what impact can a ‘condition rating 3’ have on 'E9 - Other'?
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
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 0800 022 4428.
Section E of the RICS Level 2 Survey refers to the assessment of the external parts of the property under review. For an East Sussex building, one issue is a stair-run that is too short or steep, creating a potential trip hazard. Miscellaneous external elements such as these are included in section ‘E9 – Other’ that do not fit elsewhere in Section E. Contact your surveyor if you require more information.
RICS Level 2 Survey are transparent, detailed surveys of residential property. Since buyers in East Sussex are unlikely to be experts in local building techniques and materials themselves, the report is written with as little jargon as possible. The surveyor uses a scale between 1 and 3 to show to what extent any problems or notable points may negatively impact the property. Matters which require urgent action are highlighted with a 'red' or condition rating of 3. Defects marked in red may also need further inspection by an expert.
Talk to our advisers at Surveyor Local on 0800 022 4428 for your free surveying quote and to appoint your chartered surveyor.
What should I be aware of when buying a flat in the region of a rubbish tip in East Sussex?
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, 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.
An interactive map of the location of UK’s current operational landfill sites can be found online, such as this one by Anyjunk.
East Sussex surveyors will examine any structural issues resulting from proximity to the site, while your conveyancer lawyer will commission conveyancing and environmental searches of the Landmark (or other specialist firm’s) datasets as well as contacting the responsible local authority and will advise you accordingly.
Time to get your chartered surveyor lined up to look over the property you want to buy. Get an instant survey quote by filling in the few details in the form at the top of this page. And call Surveyor Local’s friendly advisers on 0800 022 4428 to set up an appointment.