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08 Sep, 2023/ by Surveyor Local /News

We are probably all very aware that the burning of fossil fuels - coal, oil and natural gas being the most common in the United Kingdom - is adding to the major problem that is climate change. This is underlined by increasingly frequent reports of sometimes catastrophic weather events around the country and across the world.

The UK Government passed their legislation, the Clean Air Strategy 2019, which set out their plans and proposals for achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. What it stated was a set of strategies and policies to tackle existing pollution as well as determining alternative solutions to the fuel we all need in our homes.

From this the Heat and Buildings Strategy was published, which looks at ways to replace and eventually phase out the use of gas boilers. This generated a number of headlines, some of them pouncing on the ban on gas boilers by 2025. But this only told half the story, because it referred to installation of gas boilers in new-builds from that date. Existing homes with gas boilers would not be affected, although homeowners would be encouraged to replace their gas boilers (and, if you're eligible, to apply for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme).

Clean water is classified as a human right, and there have been many stories in recent months of water companies releasing raw sewage into rivers, lakes and the sea around the coast. This is in part because of lack of infrastructure investment in the last few decades, partly because the existing infrastructure is ancient and was never designed to take the volume that it now has to cope with, and partly to avoid the sewage backing up into properties in certain locations. The Rivers Trust operates a sewage map, which details the problem areas.

All of which news makes the idea of moving into a new home, particularly if the structure is an old one, particularly daunting. How up-to-date is the electrical system? If there is gas or oil coming into the building, does the piping and the facilities conform to the latest safety requirements? And will the water piping, stopcocks and taps be a problem with leaks now or in the future?

It s always advisable to appoint a qualified, RICS-certified chartered surveyor to review the property you are thinking of buying. In particular, a standard construction after 1900 will probably only need Homebuyer Report (RICS Level 2 Survey), although a more detailed report is available with the Building Survey (RICS Level 3 Survey)

Natural gas

Your RICS surveyor will locate and visually examine all the accessible parts of the gas system. Because gas leaks produce a huge risk of fire or even explosion, your surveyor will only observe, since they are not qualified to examine appliances and the system in depth. So gas fittings will not be removed, and the system will not be tested at all.

The examination will include any gas heaters and the boiler in addition to gas-related fittings such as chimney maintenance, the piping and ducting, and the flue outlet for the boiler. 

The Health Safety Executive provides gas safety help and guidance for landlords, governing their responsibilities for all buildings and for their tenants. Gas regulations require that all landlords must complete appliance and installation inspections every year. This will be reviewed by your appointed surveyor to confirm all is in order.

If you are in any doubt about a gas system, you should contact a Gas Safe-registered engineer for advice and guidance.


A chartered surveyor will look at the condition of the electrics throughout the property, including an overview of the circuit board, its age and condition, any visible wiring, plus static electrical equipment such as showers and light fittings. 

If the electrics are clearly in an unsatisfactory or dangerous state of repair or in immediate need of modernisation, the surveyor will highlight this in their subsequent report. 

The surveyor will also examine any certification of compliance and other electrical wiring tests that have been performed and signed off by an qualified electrician.

As with gas, the chartered surveyor will not dismantle any equipment or wiring in their assessment, as they are not in a qualified position to do so. They will highlight any shortcomings they have observed and may recommend employing an electrical professional to check any perceived issues in more detail. You can check any number of trade comparison sites to find a suitable qualified electrician to perform the task.


Problems with the water system are probably more obvious within the house than with the other utilities, because the evidence of any problems will show up immediately visually and by the smell.

The surveyor will look for evidence of leaking, the quality of the piping, the age of a water tank (where it's not directly coming from the mains), the location and accessibility of the stopcock, the state of the shower facilities, as well as trying to ascertain the source of any proof of leaking, such as stained or peeling wallpaper, damp patches and mould on carpets and tiles, rotting wood in the vicinity and so on.

With all of these utilities, the surveyor will highlight their assessment and analysis on the report they are preparing, which is presented in a traffic light system, so that you can easily see where the major problems are that need to be addressed immediately. With this information, you can make an informed decision as to what your next steps are.

But what you'll really be interested in is how you can employ a quality chartered surveyor for as low a price as possible.

And that's where it really is worth contacting Surveyor Local

Surveyor Local will provide a quote that will not change - what you are quoted is what you pay. 

You'll get one of over 100 fully-qualified RICS surveyors, who is local to the property you are buying so they will know the area and bring that knowledge to their assessment and their analysis of the issues with the new home.

Next-day bookings are usually available, and your appointed surveyor will look after arranging access to the property with the estate agent and the seller. Once the survey is complete, they will send you a PDF copy of the report by email.

Call  now to get your survey quote started, or to discuss your concerns with the acquisition of your planned property.

Or you can get a quick quote, using Surveyor Local's easy-to-use quote generator. Simply input your name, postcode, email address, phone number and an approximate value of the property (usually the agreed price), and we'll give you an instant quote for the work (with an email copy). 

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