A recent inspection of a semi detached property in London revealed inadequate insulation.
As part of a standard Building Survey or Homebuyer Report, we surveyors will always try to enter a loft space where there is suitable access. Sometimes property vendors will remove the ladder or even seal up the access, perhaps with a view to concealing defects visible from within the roof space.
What do surveyors look for in loft inspections?
Where access is available, it should be noted by home buyers (or anyone commissioning a survey) that any inspection of the roof space construction will be confined to details of design and basic construction.
Individual timbers are not specifically examined for defects including worm and rot although where defects have been observed as part of the general examination.
Woodworm or common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum) is a prolific pest, indigenous to the British Isles and therefore likely to be present in timbers of a house of any age and type.
If no woodworm treatment guarantee documents are discovered by your solicitor, then it is recommended that precautionary treatment is carried out as a matter of course. This would be a simple and cost effective chemical treatment.
Timbers inspected will be confined to areas that can safely accessed from boarded areas of the loft.
On this occasion we were able to gain access to the roof and the timbers (one of the key things we would examine) were in good condition and free from woodworm.
However the loft was only partially boarded revealing an inadequate insulation layer below.
Insulation can make bigger savings than ever before
Loft insulation should be at least 270mm in depth as recommended by the http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Insulation/Roof-and-loft-insulation who estimate savings of around £180 per year. They suggest that the cost of insulating a roof is usually reclaimed within 2 years.
In our view however, this estimate is now out of date as the cost of utilities has increased enormously whilst the cost of loft insulation has remained more or less static. As a result it may be you could recoup the cost of insulating your roof within 12 months or so.