At 1st Associated we have two types of surveyors. One being a Production Line Surveyor - they carry out valuations and homebuyers reports. The Independent Chartered Surveyor carries out more traditional surveys, these being residential building surveys, commercial building surveys and property courses.
My day out with a surveyor
I went along to help survey a property with one of our surveyors. I was given the task of checking for dampness throughout the property. The house was a Duke of Bedford build 1847 regency – I learnt this from the crest on the front - the style of architecture was particularly impressive. Bedford is a clay area and therefore the soil expands a lot when wet and causes problems with damp in buildings of this era. Nearby is the famous Hampton House.
We noted the property was on a sloping site and sits within a row of terraced houses. We noted a green bolt higher up on the wall to the outside (a structural tie). When there is a sloping site property the surveyor uses a tripod and laser level to see if there is a problem.
Interestingly the occupiers use the back of their properties for entry and exit. This particular property had a large tree in the front garden which could cause further damage to the foundations due to the sheer root size.
The vendor was at home and surveyor asked him about any existing guarantees for the property and gave him one of our question and answer sheets. After checking the downstairs for signs of damp (there was minimal) we checked upstairs. The surveyor pointed out a crack where the wall joins in the nursery room and explained to me that lightweight and heavyweight materials together will cause cracking of this nature.
Progressive cracking shows movement within the property and in this case there were none. We checked the outside and looked at the other properties to confirm this was ok.
Looking at the roof covering we noted a square hole to the front and back of the property – this is where water can run off the valley gutters and into the downpipes.
The front of the house was checked for signs of mushrooms in the grass – I have to say the garden was very damp indeed.