The seller's agent said there could be loose asbestos ceiling material affecting the property we are buying in Grantham; what is asbestos, why is it so dangerous, and will the survey look at this?
Asbestos is the general name given to the group of fibrous materials that are now known to be harmful to organisms, when the dust or fibrils are released into the environment.
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 deleterious effects were understood, asbestos was chosen for its resistance to fire and electricity, its tensile strength, and its sound-proofing qualities, coupled with its relative cheapness to produce.
Commonly called asbestosis, the curly or needle-shaped fibres usually caused mesothelioma (attack on the lining of the lungs, causing cancer). However, breathing in a single fibre will not be injurious, nor will it risk death.
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.
Worried about what your survey might reveal? Give our friendly advisers at Surveyor Local a quick call on 0800 038 6667 and let them help you through your concerns.
When buying an abandoned, period, detached home in Grantham, is it necessary to order a full structural survey?
What was formerly known as the Full Structural Survey has been rebranded by the RICS and is now called the Building 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, 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 Surveyor Local quote by filling in the form at the top of this page. Ready to appoint a chartered surveyor? Call our waiting team of advisers on 0800 038 6667.
Are there any issues I would need to check on if I’m buying a house in Grantham in a conservation area?
The first conservation area in the UK was the 17th-century Lincolnshire town of Stamford which is close by to Grantham. 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.
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 review and assess 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.
Try out our instant Grantham home survey quote generator at the top of this page or call our waiting advisers on 0800 038 6667.
We are purchasing a property in Grantham and have found cracks across the render on the outside walls; could this be evidence of subsidence? What subsidence issues does the property surveyor report on?
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.
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 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.
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 causes of ground heave can include:
- trees that have died or have been removed, which no longer take up the soil’s moisture
- soil removal and excavation (e.g. for basements)
- changes in the levels of the water table
- broken drains and conduits
- seasonal changes, such was water freezing and expanding in the subsoil
Because of the severity of these issues, it is imperative 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.
Should we opt for a HomeBuyer Report, Building Survey or Full Structural Survey on a home in Grantham, and which one would be the cheapest?
The Full Structural Survey is now called the Building Survey, although it is essentially the same level of survey.
If the Grantham property is a flat or maisonette, or is 100 or more years old, has been extended, or is of non-standard construction (i.e. not made of bricks), RICS recommend the cheaper HomeBuyer Report.
If you are planning to do any substantial modifications, however, RICS recommends that you book a Building Survey. This option is not as cheap, though, but it does provide you with an in-depth analysis of the Grantham property's state of repair, as well as including more detailed advice on defects, general repairs and maintenance options.
For more details, why not obtain a Grantham survey quote (at the top of this page), or call us 0800 038 6667 to speak to a member of our team and they will help to choose the right survey for your needs?
What do I need to take notice of when purchasing a building in Grantham constructed in 1760? What impact will the timber frame have on repairs?
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.
Time to get your survey under way! Call our waiting team of friendly advisers now on 0800 038 6667 and they will get your survey sorted today!
Will the RICS chartered surveyor report on the state of the gas-heaters in my house in Grantham?
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.
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.
Get your free, instant survey quote now by filling in our form at the top of this page. When you want to assign your chartered surveyor, call Surveyor Local’s team of advisers on 0800 038 6667.
I intend to purchase a terraced house in Grantham, being marketed for £120,000. What will the Grantham surveyor take into account when carrying out a RICS 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 Grantham.
This means the average price of completed transactions for terraced houses in Grantham in November 2018 was £113,971, which is £6,029 less than the asking price for the cited property. With regards to other types of property, the averages for the same month in Grantham were:
Information © 2019 HM Land Registry. Retrieved from HM Land Registry website on 8 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 Grantham 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 038 6667.