building valuations

EXTRACT FROM 'RICS Business', the magazine of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

June 2005 Issue

Unprofessional service-for a fast buck

Unless you have bought or sold a house or flat recently you will have no idea of the scam that is being perpetrated by mass-market, cheap priced and unprofessional environmental surveying companies.

I recently almost lost a flat sale due to the environmental search produced by lawyers using

Leader Board

Name: Roger Sotham
Position: Chairman and chief executive, Chainbow Group of Companies

their online search facility for residential package, incorporating local search, water and drainage, and environmental.
The lawyers receive the totally automated search back in two minutes without any professional care. Perhaps they just don't care because they are getting Pound 50 a time for each house search; or perhaps the companies are after the follow-up fees for doing the job properly.

The flat in question was described as being within 25m of a subsidence area and also within 250m of a flood plain, along with the hundreds of other flats in the area.

 I am told that frequently, as a result of these worthless searches, purchasers are incurring extra costs to get further clearance form local authorities or developers on ground clearance. With the range of 25m it is entirely possible that it will not affect the property.

I was luckily able to call on a friend at a reputable environmental company who confirmed that there was no problem. Indeed, his assessment of the reports was that the conclusions were simply unhelpful, and he could not understand how the comments were made without reference to specific plans or problems.

Something has to be done to remove these cowboys, who have designed a low-price, no-value product, from the marketplace.

Unfortunately, in a free market, where you rely on the integrity of the professionals providing a service, there will always be those who want to make the fast buck and ruin the reputation of all Caveat emptor indeed!

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