Residential Building Survey Comparison

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Below is an example of one of our survey's compared to one produced by a mortgage companies valuation survey.

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Modern Purpose Built Flat


Mr and Mrs Modern




0800 298 5424 or visit our website:

















Firstly, may we thank you for your instructions we have now undertaken a Building Survey (formerly known as a Structural Survey) of the aforementioned property.

The Building Survey takes the following format; there is an introductory section (which you are currently reading), which includes a synopsis of the building, and a summary of our findings.

We then go through a detailed examination of the property starting with the external areas working from the top of the property down, followed by the internal areas and the buildings services. We conclude with the section for your Legal Advisor and also attach some general information on the property market.

We are aware that a report of this size is somewhat daunting and almost off-putting to the reader because of this. We would stress that the purchase of a house is usually one of the largest financial outlays made (particularly when you consider the interest you pay as well).

We recommend that you set aside time to read the report in full, consider the comments, make notes of any areas which you wish to discuss further and phone us.

We obviously expect you to read the entire report but we would suggest that you initially look at the summary, which refers to various sections in the report which we recommend you read first so that you get a general feel for the way the report is written.

As part of our service we are more than happy to talk through the survey as many times as you wish until you are completely happy to make a decision. Ultimately, the decision to purchase the house is yours but we will do our best to offer advice to make the decision as easy as possible.


To help you understand our Report we utilise various techniques and different styles and types of text, these are as follows:


This has been given in the survey where it is considered it will aid understanding of the issues, or be of interest. This is shown in “italics” for clarity.


Throughout the Report, we have endeavoured to define any technical terms used. This is shown in “Courier New” typeface for clarity.


We utilise photographs to illustrate issues or features. In some photographs a pencil has been used to highlight a specific area (with this property we have taken approximately one hundred photographs in total and we have enclosed a sample of these within the report).


Any reference to left or right is taken from the front of the property, including observations to the rear, which you may not be able to physically see from the front of the property.


We have used the term ACTION REQUIRED where we believe that there are items that you should carry out action upon or negotiate upon prior to purchasing the property.

Where a problem is identified, we will do our best to offer a solution. However, with most building issues, there are usually many ways to resolve them dependent upon cost, time available and the length of time you wish the repair/replacement to last.



This is a duplex apartment with the access at ground floor level situated in a multi occupied apartment block. We are advised that there are twenty-two apartments in total.

There are shared secured communal areas and an underground car park with a parking space. The property also has its own private balcony and terrace/courtyard area.

We are advised the property was built four years ago by Barclay Homes. We are advised that the property has had a chequered history, which resulted in legal action, by the leaseholders and amendments and modifications to the design.

Putting Life into Perspective!

These are some of the things that were happening around the time this property was built.

1994 Digital Cameras
1994 The first recorded case of SPAM, interestingly sent out by
Arizonian Law Company
Late 1990’s The start of the property-housing boom (although only
history will confirm this)
2000 Broadband available

2004 The end of the housing boom (again only history will confirm this)


Front Elevation and Front of Apartment

Communal Area Your parking space

Side of the property. Although This is where we believe the rear of
not part of the apartment block. the property is although we cannot be


Ground Floor

The ground floor accommodation consists of:

  • Reception Area/Hallway

  • Study

  • Through Lounge (double height)/Dining Area leading into a kitchen

  • Bathroom (internal)

First Floor

The first floor accommodation consists of:

  • Master Bedroom with en suite facilities and access to a balcony

  • Rear Bedroom which overlooks the main reception area

Outside Areas

Please see our comments within the Situation and Description section and we would add that we were advised that there is a communal waste disposal area, although we did not gain access to this. From past experience we are aware of the practicalities of waste disposal and drying clothes in the winter months can become an issue!


The following photos are of the internal of the property to help you recall what the apartment looked like and the general ambience (or lack of). We have not necessarily taken photographs of each and every room.

Ground Floor

Lounge Lounge

Kitchen Study

First Floor

Main Bedroom Master Bedroom looking towards the balcony area

First Floor Bathroom Second Bedroom


What we could see the property was very limited we have therefore had to make many assumptions based upon our knowledge of this style, age and type of construction.


Main Roof: Believed to be asphalt (assumed)

Gutters and Downpipes: Internal (assumed) Walls: Built on a structural frame added with structural

insulation panels (assumed)
External Joinery:
Double-glazed metal windows
Plasterboard (assumed)
A mixture of studwork and dry lining finished in plasterboard (assumed)
Ground Floor: Suspended insitu concrete floor (assumed).

First Floor: Steel joists and floorboard sheets (assumed)


The Estate Agents advise us that the property has a mains water supply, drains, electricity, gas.

The above terms are explained in full in the main body of the Report. We have used the term ‘assumed’ as we have not opened up the structure.


Summaries are dangerous as they try to précis often quite complex subjects into a few paragraphs. This is particularly so in a summary about someone’s future home when we are trying to second-guess what their priorities are, so it is important the Report is read in full.

It is inevitable with a report on a building of this nature that some of the issues we have focussed in on you may dismiss as irrelevant and some of the areas that we have decided are part of the ‘character’ of this property you may think are very important. We have taken in the region of 100 photographs during the course of this survey and many pages of notes, so if a comment has not been discussed that you are interested in/concerned about, please phone and talk to us before you purchase the property (or indeed commit to purchasing the property), as we will more than likely have noted it and be able to comment upon it. If we have not we will happily go back.

Having said all of that, here are our comments:

Generally we found the house overall in average condition, considering the property’s age, type and style. However this is a sweeping statement so we would, in addition, draw your attention to the following and also recommend that you read the report in full. We have divided the Executive Summary into ‘The Good’, ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly’, to help distinguish what in our mind are the main issues.

The Good

Survey reports are often full of only faults so we have started the report with some good points.

The property has its own external areas on the ground floor and first floor.

The property has good natural light (to the front of the property).

The rooms sizes are slightly higher than would normally be expected and therefore give a feel of spaciousness in our opinion.

Considering that there is no natural light to the rear of the property, the design has aided the transfer of natural light to these areas quite successfully. A car parking space (that it always useful anywhere in London!).

We are sure you could add other things to this list.

The Bad

These usually relate to items where the issues/problems are solvable and will require some negotiation or we may just wish to raise points that may be of interest and/or require further investigation.

1)The Roof

We haven’t been able to gain access to the roof, although we have managed to view the roof from adjoining properties. From this we could see that there is what is known as a Mansard construction. These type of roofs incorporate a flat roof to the top as no doubt you are aware flat roofs are renowned for problems (even in this day and age). They also have box gutter details to the rear where they meet the roof, which take the water away, which can also cause problems.

The reason developer’s use these type of roofs is it allows them to gain planning for top apartments/penthouse suites which of course adds considerable value to a development. Also, cynically, they know any future maintenance/repair problems are your liability!

This sketch shows the structural frame of the building with a Mansard roof on top.

ACTION REQUIRED: We have made enquiries with the managements company and we are still waiting for their response at the time of dictating this tape. We were advised however that they have no records of the roof construction from their estates manager, which seems a very unusual situation for a property that is only four years old. They should have, at the very least, have the annual condition report (carried out by themselves). We are still waiting for their response (and this is the third and final check of the report).

This shows a box gutter to a Mansard roof.

This is the best view we got of the Mansard roof from the adjoining property. You can see that the box gutters affectively form the balconies to the properties.

Please see the Roof Section of this Report.

2) Management Company

From the discussions we have with various people throughout the day (which may not be a representation of the cross section of people living in the property). We found that they were generally less than happy with the Management Company. Whilst we are quite use to finding that generally most leaseholders expectations of what they require from a Management Company are quite different to those that the Management Companies actually give. In this instance we found the general opinion to be unfavourable.

Our enquiries and calls have not been returned other than to say that they are unable to help.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your Legal Advisor needs to make full enquiries to the Management Company. How the property is managed is an essential part of buying a leasehold property.

3) Service Charges and Sinking Funds

Service Charge

It should be established what the service charges are and what sinking fund has been built up.

The service charge would be for day-to-day maintenance issues. An example of this would be maintaining the plants, general cleaning of shared access areas, maintenance of lights and security.

We were advised by one of the occupants that he believed that the service charges are in the region of £2,000 (two thousand pounds) per year. From our general experience of these charges this does seem relatively low.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your legal advisor needs to establish what is included in the service charge and what the Lease says in relation to increasing the service charge.

Sinking Fund

The sinking fund – this would be for items of renewal and large items of repair or improvement. Examples of this would be the renewal of the flat roof.

ACTION REQUIRED: You also need to obtain information about the sinking fund built up to date and any proposed work – a good Management Company will have the next 20 years planned and be budgeting for this.

4) History of Maintenance/Repair Work

We would always recommend that your Legal Advisor obtain a copy of work that has been carried out on this property. From our discussions with yourself and various occupants we believe the property has had a chequered history, including the taking of Barclay Homes to court over various issues.

Obviously, we are always concerned when we hear of such problems. Usually, leaseholders only see problems of a superficial nature. In our experience, often the effect is cured rather than the actual cause of the problem. Unfortunately, without having full details, we cannot comment further.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your legal advisor to obtain four years history (including whatever they can about the legal case) of the repair work together with proposed work in the future and forward these on to us for comment.

5) Inverted Roof over underground car park

The general access areas to yours and adjoining apartments are over the garage area. From what we could see this is formed in an insitu concrete floor, which usually has a waterproof membrane (such as asphalt) and then a layer of insulation and the paving slabs that you can see when you access your property.

We have personally had bad experience with this type of roof and it is simply more cost effective to replace the entire roof structure than to try and find the roof leak area. This can be a very costly exercise.

The problem with this type of roof is that if there are any problems they are very difficult to find.

ACTION REQUIRED: We noted on the paved area just outside your door, crosses on some of the slabs. This may be nothing to worry about but we still feel your legal advisor should specifically request if there are any problems with regard to the roof/underground garage in your area.

The paving slabs just outside your area with the crosses on them, although you cannot see these in the photo

6) Structural Insulation Panels

The property has been built, we believe, on a frame using structural insulation panels (known as SIPs) as the outside cladding rendered finish.

We feel in England we still do not fully understand the long-term implications of using this type of construction. We have personally been involved in using it on hotels. Our experience has been that there is a general lack of knowledge of this type of construction within the UK construction industry, although this is quite a wide sweeping statement to say the least!

Bearing in mind the problems that have already risen in this property, we thought we would bring this to your attention. We physically couldn’t see any issues looking at the joints on the property, although obviously much of it was hidden from view.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your legal advisor to establish what sort of workmanship/manufacturers guarantee is available with regard to structural insulation panels.

We would be particularly interested to see the detailing at roof level and also the detailing where it butts the adjoining traditional brickwork constructive properties.

This is the type of structural frame that the structural insulation panels will be hung from.

7) Smoke Alarms/Fire Alarms

Within the property we noted some smoke alarms/fire alarms. Every concern in multi occupied properties is that fire alarms are integrated with each apartment therefore if there is a fire in the adjoining apartment you will be aware of it. We are also concerned with this sort of arrangement that the alarms are regularly tested. We talked to a few of the residence who advised that they had never heard the alarms. However, it may not be unusual as usually the alarms are tested during work hours to disturb as few people as possible.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your Legal Advisor to confirm that the fire alarm system/smoke alarm system is integrated with the entire apartment block and that it is regularly tested. The best way to do this is to ask for a copy of the testing records.

DIY/Handyman Type Work

Normally, in this section we advise of DIY type work. As the property is leased most of these will be carried out by the Management Company and recharged to you in the form of a Service Contract.

Purchase Price

We have not been asked to comment upon the purchase price in this instance, we have however referred you to sources of general information on the housing market within the Information on the Property Market Section, which can be found in the Appendices at the end of the Report.

Every Business Transaction has a Risk

Every business transaction has a risk, only you can assess whether that risk is acceptable to you and your circumstances. You should now read the main body of the Report paying particular attention to any “ACTION REQUIRED” points.

Estimates of Costs

Where we have offered an estimate of building costs please remember we are not experts in this area. We always recommend you obtain quotations for the large jobs before purchasing the property (preferably three quotes). The cost of building work has many variables such as the cost of labour, we are currently using up to £75 per day for unskilled labour up to £200 per day (for an accredited, qualified, skilled tradesman. Other variations include the quality of materials used and how the work is carried out, for example off ladders or from scaffold.

If you obtain builders estimates that vary widely, we would advise the work is probably difficult or open to various interpretations and we would recommend a specification is prepared. It would probably be best to supervise the work if it is complex, both of which we can do if so required.


The Summary Upon Reflection is a second summary so to speak, which is carried out when we are doing the second or third draft a few days after the initial survey when we have had time to reflect upon our thoughts on the property. We would add the following in this instance:

We do feel further investigation is required, we still have not had a response from the Management Company and would specifically like to see a history of what has occurred at the property. This should be available from a good Management Company and just importantly they should have also looked at the future maintenance requirements of the property. This dictates the level of sinking fund.

We would ask that you read the Report and contact us on any issues that you require further clarification on.


Just a few more comments about the Report format before you read the actual main body of the Report.


We have assumed that the property is to be sold long leasehold, with no unusual or onerous clauses and that vacant possession will be available on completion. Your Legal Advisor should confirm that this is the case.


It is important to remember that the estate agents are acting for the seller (usually known as the vendor) and not the purchaser and are therefore eager to sell the property (no sale – no fee!). We as your employed Independent Chartered Surveyor represent your interests only.


To carry out your legal work you can use a solicitor or a legal advisor. We have used both terms within the report.


This report is being carried out under our terms of engagement for Residential Building Surveys, as agreed to and signed by you. If you have not seen and signed a copy of our terms of engagement please phone immediately.


Our aim is for you to be completely happy with the service we provide, and we will try and help you in whatever way possible with your house purchase - just phone us.


Front Elevation







The Roof Coverings and Underlayers section considers the condition of the outer covering of the roof. Such coverings usually endure the extremes of climate and temperatures. They are susceptible to deterioration, which ultimately leads to water penetration.

The underlayer’s function is to minimise wind and water damage. Dependent upon the age of your property this may or may not be present, please read on:


The property has a Mansard roof. From what we could view from the adjoining property there is a box gutter detail around the edge of it with a parapet wall, which effectively forms the edge of the terrace/balcony to the penthouse suites.

In our experience these parapet walls can be a problem depending upon how they are tied into the main structure of the property.

We dealt with a parapet wall problem literally a street away from this property that involved the entirety of the property being scaffolded to amend the parapet wall detail. From memory this property had been refurbished within the last ten years to!

Without accessing the roof we cannot categorically confirm whether this is in good condition or not.

From our viewpoint we were unable to establish what materials have been used but we would take an educated guess that asphalt has been used on the roof and that structurally insulated panels have been used on the walls. The same material that has been used on the main part of your property.

Unfortunately we were not able to see anything on the property on the roof directly above your apartment and approximately 60 percent of the roof to the apartments in front of yours. We have made our best conclusions based upon what we could see; however a closer inspection may reveal other defects.

These walls form the parapet walls An example of efflorescence. Please see to the roof structure although not to the Executive Summary for further your roof structure. From what we comments. could see.

In both cases, if you closely as the brickwork you can see efflorescence. This is normally due to dampness getting into the brick wall one way or another. We would comment, after four years the parapet wall really should have dried out by now and we suspect that there is some dampness getting into the structure.

Efflorescence Defined

This is where salts appear on the surface of the brickwork in a white dust or crystal formation

ACTION REQUIRED: Due to the efflorescence we would recommend that the Management Company is asked to provide details of the parapet walls and forward these to us for our comments together with their general comments about the future work on the parapet walls.

Please see our comments within the Executive Summary.

Roof Lights

The property has purpose made roof lights. We much prefer the dome variety of roof lights, as these do not allow water to sit on the roof light. As you can see our view was limited. We would add that it seems inevitable that the roof lights will sooner or later leak! If this doesn’t occur then they seem prone to condensation.

Apologies for using the same photo again but it shows the roof lights well. We much prefer the dome style of roof light, as this does not allow water to sit upon it. These are generally used on modern properties.

Finally, we have made our best assumptions on the overall condition of the roof coverings, parapet walls and roof lights from the parts we could see (Approximately 40 percent of the adjoining development roof and none of your roof!) The inspection was made from adjoining property’s fire escape using a x16 zoom lens on a digital camera. A closer inspection may reveal latent defects.



The roof structure or framework must be built in a manner which is able to give adequate strength to carry its own weight together with that of the roof covering discussed in the previous section and any superimposed loads such as snow, wind, foot traffic etc.

Main Roof Structure

Unfortunately, we were unable to gain access to this roof despite our best efforts. We did literally ring everyone within the Enclave Court Development and were unable to gain access.

Having said that, from what we can see from the adjoining property this type of roof generally does not have access voids.

Taking an educated guess we would expect to see a steal frame construction. This is a relatively lightweight construction, which sits on top of the main property. Alternatively, there may have even been a timber construction with some of the main members being in steel.


The function of the box gutters and downpipes is to carry rainwater from the roof to the ground keeping the main structure as dry as possible.

Defective box gutters and downpipes are a common cause of dampness that can, in turn, lead to the development and deterioration in the structure. Regular inspection and adequate maintenance are therefore essential if serious problems are to be avoided.

We could see no obvious signs of gutters and downpipes to the front or the rear of the property and therefore assume that the gutters are in the form of box gutters and the downpipes are internal. Generally, internal downpipes are not a good idea as if they leak it is hard to locate where they are leaking and also you have to open up the structure to identify the area that is causing the problem. Often this can be quite some way away from the actual water staining!

We believe the reason why there is no visible guttering to this property is because the structural insulation panels do not allow gutters and downpipes to be fixed to it; therefore they have used a design using internal downpipes.

Finally, we have viewed the drainage from ground level. As it was not raining at the time of the inspection it is not possible to confirm 100 per cent that the rainwater installation is free from blockage, leakage etc. or that it is capable of coping with long periods of heavy rainfall. Our comments have therefore been based on our best assumptions.


External walls need to perform a variety of functions. These include supporting upper floors and the roof structure, resisting dampness, providing adequate thermal and sound insulation, offering resistance to fire and being aesthetically presentable.

Structural Insulation Panels (SIPs)

From the outside of the property it looks to be a rendered property. However, upon closer inspection and tapping of the structure it was found that structural insulations panels have been used which has been coated with a render with a slight texture.

From our experience, this type of finish generally comes with some sort of warranty – usually a twenty-year warranty.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your Legal Advisor to investigate this further.

The reason why structural insulation panels are used is because the insulation board can be installed directly to the frame without any drying time as there is when you build with brickwork or render, it is quick to construct, and therefore the quicker return on any capital invested. Finally, it is cheaper to build with.

Within the Executive Summary we have discussed some of the disadvantages. The main one in our opinion is that this material is not tried and tested in the UK environment and also that the UK workforce has not been satisfactorily or suitably trained to install this product as yet (in our opinion).

The other area of concern we have touched upon within the parapet wall section is what we would term as detailing. Please see the parapet wall section.

Please see the Executive Summary.

This is the undersides of the floor as can been seen in the car park. It is insulation panel where it adjoins a

concrete floor is being utilised typical where there are problems on this type of property.


Another area of detailing is where the panels meet each other or different materials such as adjacent buildings. Here you need watertight mastic seal that does not perish in the heat or the cold weather. In our experience this seal needs to be checked periodically making sure it has not fowled and then allowing the water into the property.

Having said all of that in our experience the problems are normally highlighted relatively early in the life of a property, poor workmanship etc dampness gets in or later on in the property when due to the lack of maintenance (and sometimes lack of understanding of the premises) deterioration occurs.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your Legal Advisor to specifically ask the Management Company who they intend to maintain the structural insulation panel.


You will appreciate that the structural frame of the property is hidden from our view and we therefore cannot comment on its condition or appropriateness.

Finally, the external walls have been inspected visually from ground level and/or randomly via a ladder. Where the structural insulation panels conceal the structural frame, the windows and the door lintels we cannot comment on their construction or condition. Even in buildings this new it is possible that the frame beneath it may be deteriorating unseen, particularly if in contact with dampness.

Our comments have been based upon how the structural insulation panels look and have been finished. We have made various assumptions based upon what we could see and how we think the structural insulation panels would be if it were opened up for this age, style and type of construction. We are however aware that all is not always at it seems in the building industry and often short cuts are taken. Without opening up the structure we have no way of establishing this.


The foundations function is, if suitably designed and constructed, to transfer the weight of the property through the soil. As a general comment, many properties prior to the 19th Century have little or no foundations, as we think of them today, and typically a two-storey property would have one metre deep foundations.

As the property is relatively new, it is reasonable to expect Building Regulations approval to have been gained. Over the past thirty or forty years a duty performed by the Local Authority is to check that the property is built to Building Regulations standards. Bearing in mind these factors, and that there are no visible signs to the walls to indicate any problems, we believe your foundations to be sound.

London Clay and your Environ Search Report

This property stands on London Clay as with the majority of properties in London. It is therefore more susceptible than most should drains leak or trees be allowed to overgrow etc. It is not unusual to have some settlement in London properties. However, from our inspection of the walls we have found nothing unusual. Please refer to our general discussion on Environ Search.

Building Insurance Policy

You should ensure that the Building Insurance Policy contains adequate provision against any possibility of damage arising through subsidence, landslip, heave etc.

Finally, we have not excavated the foundations but we have drawn conclusions from our inspection and our general knowledge of this type, age and style of property.

As no excavation has been carried out we cannot be 100 percent certain as to how the foundation has been constructed and we can only offer our best assumptions and an educated guess, which we have duly done. 0800 298 5424


Trees within influencing distance of a property can affect the foundations by affecting the moisture content of the soil.

None within influencing distance.

Influencing Distance


This is the distance in which a tree may be able to cause damage to the subject property.

Please also refer to the External Areas Section.


The Building Act of 1878 required a damp proof course to be added to all newly built properties within the London area. It also required various other basic standards. These requirements were gradually taken up (or should that be grudgingly taken up) throughout London and then the country as a whole, although this took many for it to become standard practice.

On modern traditional built properties there should be a damp proof course (DPC) and good building practice dictates that a differential of 150mm (6 inches) should be maintained between the damp proof course and ground levels. In this case, the property is built partly underground, where the car park is located and above ground where the apartments are.

As we would expect, there are no obvious signs of damp proof course being visible in this instance due to the form of construction. However, we would only expect building control to only pass drawings with a damp proof course and also to have checked that it has been built in. The need for your attention is drawn to the section of the report specifically dealing with dampness.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your Legal Advisor to confirm that Building Control has signed off this entire property. This will mean that they have approved and inspected the drawing detail.

Underground Car Parking Area

We would however draw your attention to the underground car park where we noted areas of the walls have been rebuilt, may be due to poor drainage as some of them appear to be around drainage outlets. By poor drainage we mean leaking drainage or it may be due to water penetration in this area. In our experience the only way to prevent damp getting in to an underground area is to have a damp proof membrane on the outside of the structure. This means that any water pressure pushes the damp proof membrane against the structure and seals it.

You will appreciate that without literally digging up around the underground car park or seeing details of the original drawing we cannot see if there is a damp proof membrane in there. However, from what we could see the garages are not excessively damp and are suitable for there purpose.

Here you can see some rebuilding has been done to the block work or even repair work.

Finally, sometimes it is difficult for us to identify if there is a damp proof course in a property. We have made our best assumptions based upon our general knowledge of the age, type and style of this property.


The external joinery part of this section covers the windows and doors. It is not strictly speaking external joinery in that it is not timber.

Windows and Doors

The property has tall double-glazed windows. The double-glazing that has been installed is fairly wide i.e. the gap between the front glass and the rear glass and therefore indicating that the glazing will give not only thermal properties but also sound insulation. We also noted a trickle vent to the outside, which again indicated that it is of a good quality. We would expect this type of double-glazing to last in the region of ten to twenty years, the main defect being the seal of the double-glazing unit.

Trickle Vents Defined

Small vents to the windows to allow air movement inside the property to stop a build up of fumes or humidity.

Solar Gain

You have particularly large areas of glazing to this property. With regard to solar gain it is very difficult to comment. We discussed that with yourself and neighbouring properties the aspect that this building faces and does enjoy the benefits of a lot of sun. This may in turn mean that there is considerable heat gain. The way around this is by adding full blinds. We did note a fan to the ceiling roof.

Finally, we have carried out a general and random inspection of the external joinery. With the windows and doors we have usually opened a random selection of these during the course of the survey. In this section we are aiming to give a general overview of the condition of the external joinery. Please also see the Internal Joinery section.


The external decorations act as a protective coat for the building from the elements. Where this protective covering has failed, such as with flaking paintwork, the elements will infiltrate the structure. This is of particular concern as water is one of the major factors in damage to any structure.

This will be a matter for organisation by the Management Agency and recharged to your self.

ACTION REQUIRED: Your Legal Advisor to confirm when they anticipate external re-decoration and if an appropriate sinking fund is being built up to pay for this. If we get the information from the Management Company with regard to future works it should include for works to the external of the property, the costs associated to this should have been built up within the sinking fund.

Whilst we have referred to your Legal Advisor many times in gathering information, we are more than happy obtaining the information ourselves, it is just from our personal experience it seems that a formal enquiry from a Solicitor seems to be more appropriate in this case.

Finally, ideally external redecoration is recommended every four to five years dependent upon the original age of the paint, its exposure to the elements and the materials properties. Where painting takes place outside this maintenance cycle repairs should be expected. Ideally redecoration should be carried out during the better weather between mid-April and mid-September.

Please see our comments in the External Joinery section.



In this section we look at the finish applied to the structural elements such as the plasterwork applied to the ceiling joists, walls or partitions, together with the construction of the internal walls and partitions.


From our visual inspection of the ceilings and our general knowledge of this age and type of construction we believe that the ceilings are plasterboard. These looked in average condition.

Plasterboard Defined

The usual name for Gypsum plasterboard which is building board with a core of aerated gypsum, usually enclosed between two sheets of heavy paper, used as a dry lining.

Internal Walls and Partitions

We have carried out a tap test to the internal walls (this is not rocket science, it is literally tapping the walls and listening for the sound made) and found them to be studwork walls and fairly lightweight, which is common in modern construction (or where there has been an alteration). You may find some noise transfer between rooms.

Perimeter Walls

The type of construction that has been used in this property is dry lining used internally on many of the walls. It is likely that there will be insulation behind this for both thermal and noise properties.

The dividing walls between the properties, we noted have more of a solid sound, we would therefore take an educated guess that these are built of some type of thermal block, which again not only has thermal properties but also has insulation properties.

Dry Lining Defined (Modern Properties)

Within modern properties, dry lining is a technique used on what are known as non-traditional housing such as timber frame and proprietary systems. This will consist of timber battens, which are lined with a plasterboard.

Finally, ceilings, walls and partitions have been inspected from floor level and no opening up has been undertaken (unless permission has been obtained by yourselves). In some cases the materials employed cannot be ascertained without samples being taken and damage being caused.

We cannot comment upon the condition of the structure hidden behind plaster, dry lining, other applied finishes, heavy furniture, fittings and kitchen units with fitted back panels.


Functionally floors should be capable of withstanding appropriate loading, preventing dampness, have thermal properties and durability. In addition to this upper floors should offer support for ceilings, resistance to fire and resistance to sound transfer.

Ground Floor

We believe the ground floor is a concrete floor. It may well be a suspended concrete floor. The floors felt solid and firm underfoot so we have assumed they are formed in concrete, we have not accessed the floor.

First Floor

We believe the first floor is a joist and floorboard but they are steal joists. There is a slight amount of give to the first floor, particularly to the rear bedroom. You need to be certain that you are happy to live with this and there may be some noise transfer from the bedrooms to the ground floor.

Noise Transfer

We spoke with various owners about noise transfer and they advised that it was minimal in their properties. During the course of the survey we did not hear any noise coming from adjoining properties but then again the majority of the property was empty. It would be first thing in the morning or last thing at night and at weekends when the issues arise.

Finally, we have not been able to view the actual floors themselves due to them being covered with fitted laminated flooring or tiles etc. The comments we have made are based upon our experience and knowledge of this type of construction. We would emphasise that we have not opened up the floors in any way or lifted any floorboards. 0800 298 5424


In this section we look at any problems that are being caused by dampness. It is therefore essential to diagnose the source of the dampness and to treat the actual cause and not the effect of the dampness.

Rising Damp

Rising damp depends upon various components including the porosity of the structure, the supply of water and the rate of evaporation of the material, amongst other things. Rising damp can come from the ground, drawn by capillary action, to varying degrees of intensity and height into the materials above.

The property is predominantly dry lined and means that we cannot take the usual electronic damp meter readings. However, we have carried out a visual inspection with no obvious signs of dampness.

Lateral or Penetrating Dampness

This is where water ingress occurs through the walls. This can be for various reasons such as poor pointing or wall materials or inadequate gutters and downpipes, such as poorly jointed gutters.

Due to the property having dry lined walls it was not possible to take any readings. We therefore carried out a visual inspection and there was no visual evidence of any dampness.

The only areas we would highlight is the light well at the rear of the property.

This area, is, we feel susceptible to Sorry to use the same photo again but we dampness. We could not actually believe that this photo shows the glass find where this is on the rear of the blocks. Not the ones to your apartment, we property. believe these are beneath the grey wall,

although it is very hard to be certain as to

their location.


This is where the humidity held within the air meets a cold surface causing condensation.

We could see no obvious signs of condensation, however, it depends upon how you utilise the building. If you do your washing and then dry it in a room without opening a window you will, of course, get condensation. Common sense is needed and a balance between heating and ventilation of properties. Normally opening windows first thing in the morning resolves most condensation issues. You do have both an internal family bathroom and an internal en-suite bathroom both of which can be susceptible to condensation if the fans are not kept in good operational condition.

Finally, effective testing was prevented in areas concealed by heavy furniture, fixtures such as kitchen fittings with backboards, wall tiles and wall panelling. We have not carried out tests to BRE Digest 245, but only carried out a visual inspection. In this instance the walls were also dry lined, which stopped us taking tests with our electronic damp meter, therefore we carried out a random, visual inspection.


This section looks at the doors, the stairway, the skirting boards and the kitchen to give a general overview of the internal joinery’s condition.


majority of the doors had door closures indicating they are fire doors. The usual requirement is for half hour fire doors. The reason there are fire doors is because this is a multi occupied property and also it has the wall light ceiling in the lounge which means that fire can spread in theory from one floor to the next therefore the door closures are there to help try and retain the fire within certain rooms.


The staircase is on a metal frame. It has slightly more movement that we would normally expect on a staircase but nothing we feel that most people could not live with.


These are smaller than the standard size skirting but other than that they are timber painted with a bull nose finish.


From our cursory visual inspection the kitchen looked in an as new condition, we did not even note any day-to-day general marks. We have not tested any of the kitchen appliances.

Finally, it should be noted that not all joinery has been inspected. We have viewed a random sample and visually inspected these to give a general overview of the condition. Please also see the External Joinery/Detailing section. 0800 298 5424


This section considers dry rot, wet rot and woodworm. Wet and Dry rot are species of fungi, both need moisture to develop and both can be very expensive to correct. We would also add that in our experience they are also often wrongly diagnosed.

Dry Rot

Dry rot is also sometimes known by its Latin name Serpula lacrymans. Dry rot requires constant dampness together with a warmish atmosphere and can lead to extensive decay in timber.

In the areas inspected no evidence was found of any dry rot and we feel it is unlikely that it is occurring, given the conditions found.

Wet Rot

Wet rot, also known by its Latin name Contiophora puteana, is far more common than dry rot. Wet rot darkens and softens the wood and is most commonly seen in window and doorframes, where it can relatively easily be remedied. Where wet rot affects the structural timbers in a property, which are those in the roof and the floor areas, it is more serious.

In the areas inspected no evidence was found of any wet rot.


Active woodworm can cause significant damage to timber. There are a variety of woodworm that cause different levels of damage with probably the worst of the most well known being the Death Watch Beetle

In the areas inspected no evidence was found of any woodworm.


The property is magnolia throughout, which is a typical developers finish. You may wish to redecorate to your own personal taste. It is very difficult to advise on how frequently redecoration should take place. This very much depends upon the use and abuse the decoration gets, for example, within hallways this tends to be greater than for example within a spare bedroom.

Finally, we would draw your attention to the fact that removal of existing decorative finishes may cause damage to the underlying plasterwork necessitating repairs and making good prior to redecoration.


We believe this is the area where there have been problems with dampness coming through the main floor terrace, which gives the access to your properties into the car park. We cannot be certain of this, but from our discussions we believe that the original terrace had fountains etc that is not ideal on a terrace such as this as was discovered.

Please see our comments within the Executive Summary. Also within the outside section of this report.

Finally, we have made a visual inspection of the underground car park only and have no way of knowing what the construction is without opening up the structure.


Up until the mid 1940s we did not really consider insulation in properties, for example it was only in the 1960s that we started putting insulation in the roof and then it was about 50mm, in the 1970s this was upgraded to 100mm. Then we started to think about double glazing and cavity wall insulation. Since then insulation standards have increased considerably and today we are looking at typically using insulation not only in the roof but also in the walls, floors and windows and more recently considerable work has been carried out on how efficient boilers are within properties. Care has to be taken that properties are not insulted disproportionately to the ventilation as this can cause condensation and you should be aware that you need to ventilate any property that is insulated.

As this property has been built very recently is should meet modern values. Values is the term given to the thermal efficiency of a property. In years to come there is likely to be known as a “SAP” rating (what the initials stand for escape us at this moment in time!). We would advise that during our discussions we were told that originally this property only had electric heating which is fairly common in cheaper developments as electric heating is far easier for a developer to install. However, it is quite surprising in this development but may be does give an indication of the general standard that the property was built at and the lack of understanding of the future market in the area.


Service records should be obtained. It is essential for the services to be regularly maintained to run efficiently.


Assuming the above is correct, this property is average compared with what we typically see.

Further information can be obtained with regard to energy saving via the Internet on the following pages:

HTTP//, which is by the Energy Saving Trust and includes a section on grant aid. or alternatively or for an alternative technological view.

Finally, we would advise that an energy rating is likely to be required for future house sales. 0800 298 5424


In this section we put any other matters that do not fit under our usual headings.


A security system has been installed. A good alarm system should not only help reduce break-ins but also reduce your insurance! We are not experts in this field and therefore cannot comment further. Further information should be obtained from the vendor and the installer at a later date.

There are se




Inspected on:

Report Ref:

Inspected by: A N Other Surveyors

LIMITATIONS OF Comment cannot be given on areas that are covered, concealed or not

INSPECTION: otherwise readily visible. There may be detectable signs of concealed defects, in which case recommendations are made in the report. In the absence of any such evidence it must be assumed in producing this report that such areas are free from defect. If greater assurance is required on these matters, it will be necessary to carry out exposure works. Unless these are carried out prior to exchange of contracts, there is a risk that additional defects and consequent repairs costs will be discovered at a later date.

The weather was dry at the time of inspection, and therefore it is not possible to state that gutter joints, roof junctions and flashing, etc are totally watertight.

Each room has been inspected. Damp meter readings have been taken where possible without moving heavy furniture. Fitted carpets have not been raised.

No inspection of the services was made and no comment can be made as to the soundness of any services.

No beams, lintels or other supporting components were exposed to allow examination. Consequently, we are unable to comment fully upon the condition of these concealed areas and therefore you must accept the risk of unseen defects should you wish to proceed without further investigation.

It should be appreciated that parts of the property are some 90 years old. Accordingly, such parts of the structure and fabric should not be expected to be ‘as new’ and due regard has to be given to natural deterioration due to the elements and usage. Restoration to a condition ‘as new’ particularly of brickwork, stonework, ironwork, joinery and roofing materials can prove uneconomic. The report has been prepared having due regard to the age and type of the building.

This report reflects the condition of the various parts of the property at the time of our inspection. It is possible that defects could arise between the date of the survey and the date upon which you receive this report.


WEATHER: Overcast and cold.

INSTRUCTIONS: We are acting on your written instruction of 9th September 2004 to prepare a Structural Appraisal on the above property. (A copy of the signed Terms and Conditions is listed as appendix I to the end of this report).

We have not at this stage arranged for any specialist reports but have made advises where these may be required.

LIMITATIONS AS This Report reflects the condition of the various parts of the property on the

TO THE CONDITION date of our survey. It must be accepted that defects can arise between the date AT THE TIME OF OUR of our inspection and your receipt of this document. INSPECTION:

EMPTY/OCCUPIED: The property was fully occupied.

FURNITURE AND The property was fully furnished with a substantial amount stored goods

HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS: boxes, debris, general furniture and the like and this significantly prejudiced our inspection. In addition, a large number of the rooms were inaccessible due to amount of stored goods.

Should you wish to be assured that no defects exist in the areas we were unable to inspected then we would be pleased to make a further survey once the property has been cleared and access can be arranged.

FLOORS: Throughout our inspection there were fitted carpets and furnishings but a substantial amount of debris which severely prejudiced any inspection of the floors.











Advised Freehold.

None to our knowledge.

A Detached, Three Storey dwelling house with cellarage.

Entrance hallway with access to cellar off, two main reception rooms, kitchen, two pantries, breakfast room, utility room with guest shower room off and rear lobby.

Staircase and landing, five bedrooms, box room, lobby, w.c. and family bathroom.

Staircase, landing and three bedrooms.

There is solely parking on the forecourt whilst there is a dilapidated ‘L’ shaped outbuilding within the rear garden.

The original dwelling we have been advised was erected in 1911 (to be checked by your solicitor).

The front of the property faces South West.


FOUNDATIONS In the absence of instructions to expose the foundations you must accept

TO WALLS: the risk of unseen defects. Structural fracturing is affecting the superstructure of the building and it is our opinion that subsidence damage is occurring.

We have been advised by the vendor that she did notify the Coal Board that there has been subsidence problems but this appears to have been ignored.

We do have concerns that there is ongoing structural movement within the foundations and unfortunately the present stability of the house cannot be confirmed and further investigations are required. In this respect an independent mining report will be required and a site clearing exercise will be necessary and this will then require trial holes and drainage testing to fully confirm the integrity of the substratum and the stability of the house foundation.

At present the structural integrity of the property cannot be confirmed.

DRAINAGE The property has a single manhole within the rear left hand corner of the

INSTALLATION: property by the outbuilding. This is a new manhole being of a plastic layout and the installation runs parallel to the rear of the property. There is a further manhole which has a cast iron cover and this was found to be full of debris and we can only assume that this serves the storm water system.

There is no other access to the underground drainage installation but the paviors within the rear courtyard, following the assumed run of the drainage have compacted significantly.

It is our opinion that there are significant drainage defects at the property whilst it is also likely that the dwelling drains to a septic tank rather than mains sewage. Accordingly, prior to any consideration to purchase an independent Close Circuit TV Inspection of the storm and foul systems is required.




The main walls serving the property are of a nine inch solid brickwork construction which are rendered externally with areas of timber panelling and they are plastered and decorated internally.

The external walls can only be described as being in deplorable condition. Although some minor patch repairs to the render have been executed, it is our opinion that the vast majority have reached the end of its designed life with extensive render delamination occurring whilst in addition, the areas of timber panelling to the projecting gables have completely rotted away and overall extensive structural fracturing is apparent which is indicative of subsidence damage exacerbated by beam failure over windows and the like.

In places the damp proof course has been bridged and the render touches ground level and therefore this is allowing rising damp internally whilst as advised, our inspection was significantly prejudiced by extensive foliage growth which precluded a detailed inspection down both side elevations.

It is likely that it is a significant repair exercise to the external facades and costs in excess of £20,000.00 must be anticipated.

The inner faces of the external walls are plastered and decorated. Rising damp problems, rot and the like is causing extensive plaster delamination and irrespective, it is likely that the vast majority of the internal plaster finishes will also require replacement.

We recommend you budget in the region of £30,000.00 to upgrade the external walls, both internally and externally.

Within the limits of our inspection there is evidence of current settlement and subsidence movement which requires further investigations.

There is major deflection over a large number of the ground floor bay window openings and the first floor window heads due to lintol failure.

This will require substantial repair work.






The property is known to be situated in an area of past mining activity and it is our opinion that there is progressive mining subsidence apparent. This will require further investigation.

This has completely failed and an injected damp proof course will be required throughout.

Very limited and as we will discuss later in this property there is potential dry rot within the cellar and therefore the subfloor ventilation requires substantially improving.

The main roof is of a multi pitched construction covered with clay tiling and incorporates various internal valleys which are leaded.

The roofs appear to have had a degree of overhauling undertaken but irrespective they are in poor structural order and our internal survey of the roofs reveals that valleys, flashings and the like have all failed. Wet rot is apparent in the various locations and overall the roofs have reached the end of their designed life and in this respect you must budget approximately £30,000.00 to recover these roofs.

There are flat roofs to the two main bay windows at the front which have reached the end of their designed life with water ingress occurring and accordingly they will require replacement. We recommend that you budget £3,000.00 for this exercise.




There are three main hatches to gain entry to the unused roof space. These are within the first floor middle right hand bedroom, the first floor rear box room and the second floor rear right hand bedroom. All ceiling hatches are un-insulated and require lagging whilst there is, within the roof void above the first floor box room. There is also a wall hatch at second floor level.

Within this area over the box room two water storage tanks are installed and these are lagged.

Our survey has revealed that in the un-used loft space areas the roofs are of a traditional softwood construction comprising of rafters which run from the ridge plate passing through the location of one purlin per elevation down to the wall plate and/or ceiling joists connections. The underside of the clay tiling is ‘torched’ which is a cement mortar fillet between each of the clay tiled joints. This has largely fallen away to approximately 30% of the roof void areas and this has rendered the roof void susceptible to driving rain and snow along with insect ingress.

The flashings have failed in numerous locations resulting in wet rot to timbers whilst signs of rodent movement around the roof void is apparent and insect nests are also visible.

All the roof voids are very dirty but overall the framework appears largely acceptable.

However, as we will discuss later in this report there is potential dry rot within the cellar and therefore the whole of the timber roof framework will require treatment and sterilisation to prevent further movement.

The property is provided with four brick chimney stacks, all of which have been rendered and the stacks incorporate between one and three flues. All are in poor condition with the rendering starting to fail, foliage growth out of the top of the stacks and general delamination of the render. All the flues will require sweeping and all need maintenance work.

These are in painted softwood and are rotten and will require complete replacement.




These are in cast iron. They have failed throughout the whole of the property with the downpipes corroded, missing and loose.

A full replacement of all rainwater goods will be required.

Due to the age of the property it is unlikely that there is asbestos from the construction exercise but irrespective of this, we have noted that there will be asbestos in other locations and this is particularly noticeable with vinyl tiles within the kitchen and there is likely to be asbestos in other locations. An independent asbestos report would be beneficial.

There is no garaging whilst there is an ‘L’ shaped range of dilapidated outbuildings which need a substantial refurbishment. The garden w.c. incorporates a rising water main which has burst and the whole of this area was saturated. You must anticipate expenditure in the region of £15,000 to reinstate the outbuilding.


INTERNAL WALLS: The internal walls are a mixture of nine inch solid brickwork which are plastered and decorated and lathe and plaster stud partitioning. The internal layout of the building does not appear to have been altered significantly but irrespective of this, there is extensive structural fracturing occurring throughout the whole of the interior of the building linked to subsidence of the site.

The wall surfaces, particularly within the attic bedrooms are particularly poor whilst lathe and plaster partitioning has collapsed in places.

Poor quality glazed wall tiling are provided throughout and overall a significant upgrading exercise within the internal wall structures will be necessary.

CEILINGS: These are plasterboard throughout. They are in poor condition with ceilings collapsing and substantial repairs required. In numerous locations polystyrene ceiling tiles are affixed which are a fire hazard and these will need to be replaced.

Overall, it is our opinion that during the refurbishment exercise it is likely that the vast majority of the ceilings will require replacement.

FLOORS: Large areas of the ground level are suspended joist and boarded and can be inspected via the cellar. Extensive rot is affecting the ground floors particularly beneath the front right hand reception room whilst the hall floor is ‘springy’ indicating extensive rot. This is quite significant and an independent specialist timber surveyor will need to be appointed to fully identify the type of the rot and to make recommendations regarding remedial measures.

Throughout the remaining ground floor area the floors are the original quarry tile which are uneven, damp and as advised within the kitchen they have been overlain with vinyl tiles.

These floors exhibit extensive levels of rising moisture indicating that they are laid directly onto earth. They will require replacement.

The staircase and landing area are provided with Oak strip flooring but this is poorly affixed and significant deflection is occurring whilst the remaining upper floors are joist and boarded. Loose floor boards are encountered whilst signs of potential worm damage was visible and therefore this will require further investigation.

CELLAR: Access to the cellar is underneath the staircase to first floor level. The cellar is split between three main rooms and a mixture of the suspended ground level floors is visible or alternative there is vaulted brickwork. A timber beam at the base of the stairs was noted to have wet rot apparent whilst as advised, the floor to the front reception room right hand side is extensively rotten on the division wall with the hallway and this floor will require stripping out. An extensive sterilisation exercise will be required. The cellar is noted to be damp with paint falling off the walls and there is a lack of ventilation.

We have significant concerns regarding this area.


A Traditionally Erected, Three Storey Farm House which is partly underdrawn by cellarage. The property is in deplorable condition whilst the whole of the site is overgrown. It is our opinion that expenditure possibly running into £100,000.00 will be required in order to return this property back to a suitable structural condition.

We are presently not able to recommend that you proceed towards purchase until such time as significant investigations are adopted and these are summarised as follows:-

  1. A subsidence investigation exercise.

  2. A full drainage survey.

  3. An independent timber and damp survey.

  4. A report from a builder with regard to the extent of render and plaster repairs.

  5. A roofing contractors report.

  6. A general quotation for the refurbishment of the building.

Where further investigations have been recommended in this report, it is very important that you pursue these matters before proceeding with the purchase, since they may reveal the need for substantial expenditure. If you are appraised of these costs before exchange of contracts, then at least you will have the opportunity to renegotiate the purchase price.

The repairs required are typically found in properties of this age and design. This of course does not mean that they can be ignored, since more serious problems could otherwise develop.

It is important that the report should be considered in its entirety before proceeding. If there are points in the report which require clarification or on which you require further advice, please do not hesitate to contact the writer.

The property was constructed many years ago and therefore will not comply with modern regulations and standard in numerous respects. This does not, however, mean that the building is not fit for habitable purposes.

The further investigations recommended above should be concluded and quotations for repairs obtained before exchange of contracts in order that all potential liabilities may be known before a legal commitment is made to purchase the property.



Where work has been carried out at the property, it is recommended that the guarantees are obtained. These should ideally be indemnified against eventualities such as the contractors going out of business, and should cover workmanship as well as materials. Guarantees are worth little if not backed by insurance. Confirmation should also be obtained that the residue of the guarantees will transfer with the ownership of the property.

Where any work is carried out now or in the future it is recommended that only reputable and indemnified contractors, installers, or specialist are used. At lease two competing firms should be asked to quote for the works. Before deciding, you should also see examples of recent work and reference should be sought. Companies should be affiliated to recognised trade associations. Examples include Chartered Building Companies, British Wood Preserving and Damp-Proofing Association, Arboricultural Association, International Institute of Arboriculturists, National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation and Contractors, Confederation of Registered Gas Installers, etc. Whilst these affiliations do not necessarily guarantee good workmanship, the do provide a greater likelihood of satisfactory work.

You are made aware in the report of certain risk areas relevant to the property which have not been fully inspected at this stage. We await instructions to carry out further investigations. You proceed to purchase in full knowledge of these risks. You are made aware that in circumstances where essential repairs or works by specialists are not carried out further deterioration and damage may occur with subsequent increased risk and increased costs.

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