COMMERCIAL BUILDING SURVEY
A Public House in Hertfordshire
Mr A Client
GEM Associates Limited
INDEPENDENT CHARTERED SURVEYORS
FOR ANY HELP OR ASSISTANCE CALL FREE PHONE:
0800 298 5424
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SUMMARY UPON REFLECTION
CHIMNEY STACKS AND PARAPET WALLS
ROOF COVERINGS AND UNDERLAYERS
GUTTERS AND DOWNPIPES
EXTERNAL JOINERY AND BRICK DETAILING
CEILINGS, WALLS, PARTITIONS AND FINISHES
CHIMNEY BREASTS, FLUES AND FIREPLACES
PLUMBING AND HEATING
POINTS FOR LEGAL ADVISOR
GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE PROPERTY MARKET
Firstly, may we thank you for your instructions of
???????; we have now undertaken a Commercial Building Survey (formerly
known as a Structural Survey) of the aforementioned property. This Survey
was carried out on ???????and ????????.
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
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 business has many risks, the property
being one of the biggest. Often when a business is purchased our clients
can only see the opportunities that it offers, the aim of this report
is to give a balanced view on the future risk.
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 business
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.
TECHNICAL TERMS DEFINED
Throughout the Report, we have endeavoured to define
any technical terms used. This is shown in “Courier New”
type face for clarity.
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.
ACTION REQUIRED AND RECOMMENDATIONS
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.
SITUATION AND DESCRIPTION
This is a reasonable sized public house, in a terrace
position, situated on the ???????????of ?????????. It is two storey,
with the main building having pitched roofs and there being newer rear
single storey extensions, these having flat roofs. There is a beer garden
to the rear, which shares its space with parking for the manager and
also an out building that is used for storage.
We are advised that the public house is wet trade driven
with a pool team and darts, although no team and popular for watching
sporting events on Sky TV. There are also AWP machines and a touch-tone
amusement machine. We are advised that there are 12 competing public
houses in the surrounding vicinity.
If the age of the property interests you your Legal
Advisor may be able to find
out more information from the Deeds.
ACCOMMODATION AND FACILITIES
Ground Floor - Trading Area
Front of House
The ground floor area consists of:
- An open plan 'L' shaped bar
- An 'L' shaped servery with a pool table to the left
hand end and large screen to the right hand side
- Female toilets to the left hand side with two w.c.s
- Male toilets to the right hand side with one w.c. and
one panel urinal
Back of House
- Catering kitchen (there is no private kitchen)
- Access area to first floor (no separate entrance to
the private living accommodation)
Cellar - Access from the Stairway
- The cellar is divided into a cold area and a spirits/bottle
store. The cellar drop is situated to the front left hand
side of the property
First Floor - Private Living Accommodation
- Office (internal - no windows)
- Four bedrooms
The following photos are of the internal of the property
to help you recall what it looked like and the general ambience (or
lack of). We have not necessarily taken photographs of each and every
SUMMARY OF CONSTRUCTION
||Four brick chimneys
||A hipped roof, clad with slates
||There are three flat rear roofs, one finished with lead
and two in felt
|Gutters and Downpipes:
||Predominantly painted render finish to the front and
Flemish brick bond to the rear
||Predominantly painted timber sliding sash windows with
some metal and aluminium windows to the rear
Lath and plaster – possibly
some plasterboard in the newer sections
||Likely to be wet plastered (assumed)
Ground Floor: A mixture of suspended
timber floor over the cellar area with a concrete floor generally
to the right hand side and to the toilets (assumed)
First Floor: Joist and floorboards (assumed)
The front of the property sits directly onto the pavement.
To the rear there is a small tarmac beer garden, which also doubles
as the manager’s car park. There is a good size outbuilding and
access to the rear.
We are advised that the property is Listed;
therefore permission will need to be sought. We always recommend that
general advice be obtained from the local authority.
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 business, when we are trying
to second-guess what the priorities are, so it is important the Report
is read in full. Having said all of that, here are our comments:-
The issues we found mainly relate to maintenance issues
or poor repairs. However, there are a few design issues as well. There
has been some movement in the structure, which is not unusual for a
property of this age but there are some future potential structural
issues that need addressing. We would draw your attention specifically
to the following areas:
||Rear Flat Roofs
There are various
areas of concern to the rear roofs of the property. The felted
areas we feel are best re-roofed due to their general poor condition
– in some areas you can literally see the timber decking
through the felt.
There is also a lead section of roof over the pool table area.
This has had various leaks over the years, which have been repaired
and there is also a poorly designed box gutter detail. We feel
this is best designed out as a long-term solution.
ACTION REQUIRED: We recommend the felt roofs
are completely re-roofed, possibly requiring new timber decking
as well, insulation is added and that they are vented to bring
up to current Building Regulation requirements.
The lead roof also needs re-roofing and the box detail needs amending
as this is a poor detail on a flat roof and is prone to leaking.
We are advised that it presently leaks and discharges into the
pool area of the bar.
The parapet walls also require attention around the left hand
ANTICIPATED COST: Quotes should be obtained prior
to commitment to purchase.
Please see the Roofs Section and the Parapet Walls Section of
|General view of the right
hand flat roofs.
|The pencil end indicates
where the boarding can be seen through the felt. The felt
has completely come away to the edge and can be seen to have
been previously repaired.
|The pencil in this instance
can be seen to have been pushed through an opening in the
felt and through an opening in the timber decking as well!
|Left Hand Roof: Here the
lead work can be seen to have had bitumen repairs and the
parapet wall has been repaired with Flashband.
|The leaking box gutter to
the lead roof.
|To the far left is a felt
|The pencil indicates where
the felt has completely deteriorated.
||External Re-decoration and
Presently the windows are in
what we would term a repairable state. However, they are very
close to being beyond economical repair. Most windows have flaking
paintwork and some have visible timber beneath. There are also
several windows with broken panes of glass and various areas of
We would also add that the fascias and soffits are also in need
of re-decoration and probable repair, although these are not in
as bad condition as the windows.
The external render to the property would benefit from re-decoration
ACTION REQUIRED: We recommend that all painted areas are redecorated
ideally in the summer of 2004.
ANTICIPATED COST: Quotation required – difficult to estimate
due to the amount of repair work required and the type of specialist
repair work required to the sliding sash windows.
Please see the External Joinery Section of this report.
|Flaking paint to sill.
|Broken pane of glass.
||Condensation and Rising Damp
There is condensation within
the bathroom on the first floor. This would appear to be due to
the lack of ventilation because the window cannot be opened. This
window is in a very poor state of repair and not only needs easing
and adjusting it will probably need some sections replacing. It
is not ideally located as it is so close to the shower. A more
permanent solution in this area may be the addition of an extract
fan. Re-painting is required throughout.
|This photo shows the walls
(white and blue) and the ceiling, which was white and is now
covered with mould.
Gents Toilets and Entrance
Condensation is occurring within the toilet block. This we feel
is a mixture of rising damp, dampness coming in through the roof
and general coldness in the area because it is not heated. You
would appear to have enough vents, but this is difficult to estimate
as we noted that some of the original vents have been blocked
|Note the discolouring to
the ceiling, we are advised that this is cleaned regularly.
Bathroom: Ease and adjust window, add extract fan, which is
activated by light/use of the shower and redecorate area.
Toilets: Add heater. We recommend an electric heater if the
plumbing is not sufficient in that area. Re-roof as mentioned
within this report. Open up block vents.
A re-inspection will be required after a year to establish if
there is rising damp.
Please see the Dampness Section of this Report.
||Damage by Tree to the Rear
of the Property
There is a tree in very close
proximity to the rear pub extension and also the stable block.
The roots can be seen to be distorting the surrounding tarmac.
Whilst we found no evidence of the roots in the drains, we are
advised by the present managers that close circuit TV reports
have been carried out by yourselves or the previous owners that
showed the roots had got into the drainage system.
|This is looking down from
the roof; you can see how close the tree is to the building.
If you look closely at the tarmac you can see that it has
ACTION REQUIRED: Please forward
a copy of this report on to us immediately and/or if it was
not carried out by yourselves we recommend that a report be
carried out prior to legal commitment to purchase this property.
We would also recommend that an arboriculturist is called to
advise whether the tree can be cut down.
ANTICIPATED COSTS: The best
case scenario, i.e. that the tree is not under a Tree Preservation
Order and it can be simply cut down, we would suggest around
£500. As always we would recommend that quotations be
Please see the Trees Section and Drainage Section of this Report.
||Opening up of the Right Hand
Side of the Roof
We recommend that
before you purchase this property the right hand side of the roof
is opened to allow us to inspect the timbers in this area.
||Issues Verbally Advised by
We were verbally
advised of various issues by the manager, which we have no way
of checking but we feel we should bring to your attention:
We were advised that the sump pump in the cellar sometimes has
sewerage coming up through it. This was not present at the time
of our survey. Whilst we run the taps in the property we did not
see any back-flow. This is not a substitute for proper drainage
tests. We are advised that this has occurred two times within
the past eight months.
Drains to the Property
We are also advised that the drains block fairly regularly and
this was put down to tree roots.
We were advised that the boiler is a constant problem, and indeed
during the course of our inspection it was not working properly
and gas was smelt. We would add that it is more usual in a pub
of this size to have a split boiler system, one for the trading
area and one for the private living accommodation. We would therefore
suggest that an additional boiler is added.
We were advised that the electrics occasionally go out and that
they have been tested in the past following the closure by the
Environmental Health Officer. We recommend having a full IEE electrical
test by an NICEIC approved electrician and have the boiler system
checked by a CORGI registered plumber – we are advised that
the boiler is still under warranty.
Deflection to Floor above Cellar Area
In addition to the above the managers also advised that the floor
above the cellar area moved and deflected when the bar was full.
This could relate to an overloading of the joists and with the
additional contribution of rotting joist ends, which is not unusual
in a property of this age.
We have not used any ACTION REQUIRED comments in this section,
as we physically have not seen any of the issues identified with
the exception of the difficulties with the boiler, where we would
recommend an additional boiler is added to split the system.
There are numerous other items that we would class
as DIY or handyman type repairs such as clearing the rainwater gutters.
These problems are fairly typical for this age, style and type of property.
We have detailed these and other issues within the main body of the
We have not been asked to comment upon the purchase
price in this instance, we have not seen trading accounts, internal
records or a copy of the lease.
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.
SUMMARY UPON REFLECTION
The Summary Upon Reflection is a second summary so
to speak, which is carried out with our thoughts a few days after the
initial survey. We would add the following:-
We would comment that we feel quotations are definitely required for
all the work; however if the work was carried out as a bulk project
costs would most likely be reduced.
We would also add upon reflection that work is required to the chimneys
and draw your attention to the Chimneys Section of this report.
Without knowing the type of trade that this business is carrying out
and the costs and overheads we cannot comment further upon whether it
is a good purchase.
As a general comment for any work required we would always recommend
that you obtain at least three quotations for any work from a qualified,
time served tradesperson or a competent registered building contractor
prior to legal completion.
If you wish we can prepare specifications, obtain quotations for the
work and manage it and ensure it is carried out to the correct standard.
We would ask that you read the Report and contact us on any issues that
you require further clarification on.
MORE ABOUT THE REPORT FORMAT
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 Freehold
or 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.
COMMERCIAL AGENTS – FRIEND OR FOE?
It is important to remember that the commercial agents
are acting for the seller (usually known as the vendor) and not the
purchaser and therefore are eager to sell the property (no sale –
no fee!). We as your employed Independent Chartered Surveyor represent
your interests only.
TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT/LIMITATIONS
This report is being carried out under our terms of
engagement for Commercial Building Surveys, as agreed to and signed
by yourselves. If you have not seen and signed a copy of our terms of
engagement please phone immediately.
OUR AIM IS ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SATISFACTION
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 business purchase. If you require any further information
please telephone us.
CHIMNEY STACKS AND PARAPET WALLS
Chimneys developed originally
from open fires placed within buildings. From this, the chimney
has developed to its present day format where it is used as an aesthetic
feature and focal point rather than purely just to heat the room.
There are four chimneys to this property. Considering each in turn:
|Chimney One –Left hand side of the
This chimney is brick built with
a lead flashing. We noted that it looked to need some minor re-pointing
and also that there is a crack to the top of it that needs further
examination. Unfortunately we were unable to see the flaunchings,
but these can be checked at the same time as the crack is.
|If you look to the middle of
the chimney you can just about see the crack. Also this chimney
needs some re-pointing.
|Chimney Two – To the middle of the
property and at the front
This chimney is brick built with
a lead flashing. There are four clay chimney pots on it. We were
unable to see the flaunchings and therefore cannot comment on those.
We did however note that the lead work looks to have been repaired
in the past, indicating that possible leaks had occurred. We also
noted that ad hoc re-pointing is required generally on the chimney
where the pointing has weathered.
|Chimney Three – To the middle of the
property at the rear
This has an exposed chimneybreast
that is visible to the rear of the property. It is all built in
brickwork with a lead flashing. Re-pointing looks to have been carried
out in the past in what looks to be a very sandy mix (sharp sand),
we also noted that repair work has been carried out to the lead.
The pointing now needs further repair works, particularly to the
top of the chimney.
|Note the messy pointing around
the base of the lead flashing.
|Chimney Four – To the rear on lead
This again is brick built and generally needs re-pointing. We
also note that the pointing around the flashing is completely
worn away and the flashing therefore needs re-bedding correctly.
ACTION REQUIRED: All the chimneys
generally need work carrying out on them in the form of re-pointing
or further investigation. The sooner the work is carried out the
better, as further deterioration will occur if it is not.
ANTICIPATED COST: We would anticipate,
due to the difficulty of accessing some of the chimneys that scaffolding
will be required under Health and Safety Regulations and would
therefore cost the work in the region of £2,500 - £3,000.
A low, wide cement mortar fillet
surrounding the flue terminal on top of the chimneystack to throw
Flashings prevent dampness from
entering the property, usually at junctions where materials change.
Such a junction is the one between the chimney and the roof.
Parapet walls are usually walls
that are above roof level and often sit on the boundary of the property.
There is a parapet wall next to the lead roof.
We have dealt with this within the Roof Coverings Section of this
Finally, we have made our best assumptions on the
overall condition of the chimney stacks and parapet wall from the
parts we could see. The inspection was made from ground level within
the boundaries of the property (unless otherwise stated) using a
x16 zoom lens on a digital camera. A closer inspection may reveal
Please also see Chimney Breasts, Flues and Fireplaces
Section of this Report.
ROOF COVERINGS AND UNDERLAYERS
The roof coverings and underfelts 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 underfelts function is to prevent wind and
minimise water damage. Dependent upon the age of your property this
may or may not be present, please read on:
We will consider the roofs as five different areas,
the Main Roof, the Rear Lead Roof, the Rear Left Hand Felt Roof, the
Rear Right Hand Felt Roof and the Front Bay Roof.
This is at a fairly shallow pitch and is clad with
slates. It is generally in reasonable condition with the exception of
a small area to the rear right hand corner around the chimneys where
they have been displaced and need re-fixing.
This photo shows the centre of the main roof
with the slates all lying reasonably flat. It also shows the middle
chimney (chimney 2).
A close up of the slates to the rear of the
property where they have lifted on the edge. They need re-fixing
and clipping in place, as with this exposed edge the wind will
lift them. Also note the cement fillet flashing that needs replacing
with a lead flashing.
Protective Underlayer (Often known as the sarking felt or
From the 1940s
onwards felts were used underneath tiles/slates to stop wind damage
and water penetration, these in more recent years have been replaced
with plastic equivalents. These are commonly known as underfelts
but now the name is not really appropriate, as felt is not the
only material used.
When we were in the roof space we noted a hessian based sarking felt,
which had been used over the past 30 or so years, indicating the roof
has been fairly recently re-roofed (recent in surveying terms being
the past 50 or so years).
Whilst this property is ‘terraced’, i.e.
it sits in a terrace of properties, it is not terraced in the sense
that it directly adjoins the other properties; therefore the roofs are
at different levels. To the left hand side the White Hart pub’s
roof is higher at the front and lower at the rear, which is fairly unusual.
|Left Hand Side
To the rear there is a render and a cement fillet flashing
that is cracking and coming away. This needs to be replaced
Right Hand Side
There is a step down in the roof here and the section is rendered.
The flashing on this side, we believe, will be the responsibility
of the adjoining owner.
fillet flashing that needs replacing.
Cement Fillets/Cement Flashings
ACTION REQUIRED: New lead flashing to the left hand
This is where cement has been used to cover up or fill
the junctions between two areas, for example between a roof and a wall
to help prevent dampness. Cement is a brittle material and prone to
cracking which in turn allows dampness into the structure. We would
always recommend they be replaced with lead.
Rear Lead Roof – over poolroom area
This lead roof generally shows
signs that it is leaking. From discussions with the present managers
they confirmed this. There have been various attempts to repair
both the lead roof and the surrounding parapet wall over the years
from what we could see. These included the painting of bitumen
and the use of Flashband, which is a temporary repair product,
which do not appear to have been successful.
From a visual inspection it
is difficult to spot any pin holes within the lead, but we can
only conclude from the way the bitumen has been brushed all over
the roof, that it must have leaks.
To drain the water away in this area there is a box gutter; this
is directly above the area where we were advised the main leaks
are. Unfortunately we were unable to establish exactly where the
leaks are and can only recommend that the entire roof be re-roofed
and suggest that the box gutter detail is designed out.
indicates where the lead has been repaired, in this case
by a bitumen coat.
The parapet wall also needs to be completely re-bedded.
ACTION REQUIRED: Re-roof, re-point
and re-bed the parapet wall.
ANTICIPATED COST: This work may
have to be carried out in lead, due to the Listed status of the property
and we would expect costs to be in the region of £5,000 - £10,000
for the lead work and parapet wall work, but this is specialist work
that is difficult to estimate on and therefore needs quotes.
Left Hand Felt Roof
This is a felt covered roof
with chippings and parapet walls surrounding it. It has a part
lead and part felt flashing. The roof is vented, indicating that
it is fairly new (the past 50 or so years). We noted that the
felt to the flashing had deteriorated, it is therefore not beyond
the possibilities that this roof could also be leaking, however,
due to the shingle we were unable to conclude either way. There
were no visible signs of leaks noted within the ladies toilets
directly below it, although we would stress that the condition
of the felt to the flashing is poor.
indicates another area where the lead work has deteriorated.
The drainage outlet is small by modern day standards and the roof does
not appear to fall towards it. The only way to check this is to carry
out a water test on the roof, literally running a hosepipe on to the
roof to check how the water runs away. We are happy to return and carry
this out for an agreed fee.
Rear Right Hand Felt Roof
Whilst these roofs are called "flat",
present building regulations and good building practice presently requires
a minimum fall of 12 degrees.
Flat roofs are formed in a variety of materials.
Difficulties can arise when the water is not discharged from the roof
but sits upon it, as this can soon lead to deterioration which flat
roofs are renowned for.
This consists of two flat roofs at slightly different
levels. The roof is in a very poor condition, in areas we could see
the timber decking below. We recommend this roof is completely re-roofed
ACTION REQUIRED: Strip existing
roofing, check the decking beneath and replace as necessary. We recommend
that a lead flashing be used.
ANTICIPATED COST: In the region
of £12,000, assuming that the decking is in reasonable condition.
We also note that this area is used to hang washing
out on and would therefore suggest that when the re-roofing work is
carried out that consideration is given to strengthening the roof and
putting a walkway on it.
Should any of the flat roofs be re-roofed we recommend
that an insulation board be added to increase the general thermal efficiency
of the property and bring the thermal efficiency of the property closer
to current Building Regulation requirements.
In addition to this current Building Regulations also
require a roof to be vented, which we would highly recommend as this
roof sits over both the kitchen and the toilet areas.
The latest Building Regulations require flat roofs
to be ventilated. Building Regulations are not retrospective but the
reason for the requirement is to make sure that any moisture that enters
the roof construction is dispelled by way of ventilation. We would suggest
that if the opportunity arises ventilation should be provided. This
will stop the possibility of fungal growth above the ceiling in the
flat roof area.
Also it could not be established if there is insulation
within the roof or a vapour barrier, without the vapour barrier and
combined with inadequate ventilation there will be an increase in the
risk of wet or dry rot.
Front Bay Roof
Unfortunately this roof is not visible.
Finally, all the roofs were inspected from ground level with the aid
of a x16 zoom lens on a digital camera. Flat roofs have been inspected
from upper floor windows and/or ground level.
For further comments with regard to ventilation please
see the Roof Structure and Loft Section.
Unfortunately we were only able to see approximately
75 percent of the roof from ground level via our ladder or via any other
vantage point that we managed to gain. We have made our best conclusions
based upon what we could see, however a closer inspection may reveal
ROOF STRUCTURE AND LOFT
(ALSO KNOWN AS ROOF SPACE OR ATTIC SPACE)
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.
The main roof is accessed via the loft hatch located
in the hallway. There is no loft ladder, roof light or secured floor
boarding. We recommend that these be added, as it will make the roof
space safer and easier to use.
The roof space has been viewed by torch light, which
has limited our viewing slightly.
Right Hand Side of the Roof
Unfortunately we were only able to see half the roof
space to the left hand side and there did not seem to be an access to
the right hand side, other than a very small panel that has been painted
over within the far right hand bedroom. We pushed this panel and it
appeared to be a ventilation grill, rather than an access panel.
Left Hand Side of the Roof
The roof structure looks fairly
modern (within the past 50 or 60 years) and is what is known as
a cut timber double roof. This roof was literally built on site
and has additional support from a purlin mid-way through the length
of the pitch, which in turn takes support from the internal walls
(so do not remove any further internal walls without structural
advice). The purlin ends were checked and these looked in reasonable
condition. We did note that around the chimney breast there was
marking and staining, indicating that water is getting into the
structure around these areas, although we would stress that this
is not that unusual in this age of property.
view of the roof structure with the purlin on the right
We also noted some staining to the roof and believe this is likely to
be from condensation. The best way to resolve this is to vent the roof.
ACTION REQUIRED: Ideally the roof
should be vented to avoid condensation occurring within the roof.
The purlin is the horizontal timber member usually
running from gable end to gable end and parallel with the walls which
supports the jack or common rafters (the angled rafters forming the
slope to the roof).
We have inspected the roof for serious active woodworm
and for structurally significant defects to the timber together with
dry rot and wet rot. Whilst our examination is usually impeded by the
general configuration of the roof, the insulation and stored items,
from what we could see generally we found the roof to be in average
It is however feasible that there are problems in the
roof, which are hidden. The only way to be 100 per cent sure is to have
the roof cleared and checked.
Firewalls help prevent the spread of fire through roofs
and are a relatively recent Building Regulation requirement. In this
instance the firewall is built in brickwork.
The water tanks are formed in plastic, we therefore
assume they are relatively new. The old cast iron water tank is still
within the roof space.
We would always recommend that water tanks be drained
down and cleared of any debris etc. (we have seen dead birds and other
unmentionable things in these tanks). As you are cleaning your teeth
with this water it is best that it is as clean as possible!
The roof has what is known as loose-fill insulation.
There also looked to be a pile of wood chippings in one area, which
could constitute a fire hazard, we assume these have been left over
from when the alterations were carried out to the water tanks, and sheer
laziness has meant that they have not been taken out of the roof.
ACTION REQUIRED: Remove all obsolete
items from the roof space.
Where there is an underlayer and insulation to a roof,
cross ventilation is now recommended and required under the current
Building Regulations. This is to stop condensation occurring within
the roof, which can affect the timbers and also cause dampness.
Finally, we would ask you to note that this is a general
inspection of the roof, i.e. we have not examined every single piece
of timber. We have offered a general overview of the condition and structural
integrity of the area.
GUTTERS AND DOWNPIPES
The function of the gutters and downpipes is to
carry rainwater from the roof to the ground keeping the main structure
as dry as possible.
Defective gutters and downpipes are a common cause of dampness that
can, in turn, lead to the development of rot in timbers. Regular inspection
and adequate maintenance are therefore essential if serious problems
are to be avoided.
The gutters and downpipes are plastic, as far as we
could see, although there may be some of the original cast iron still
remaining. To many areas they were full of grit and mulch and need cleaning
out and general re-alignment.
Finally, gutters and downpipes have been inspected
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.
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.
Render is often used externally on solid walls
to prevent moisture penetrating through. It is also popular as a decorative
The walls are finished predominately
with a painted render to the front, although there are also areas
of brickwork to the rear of the property.
As Surveyor’s we are always concerned when we see render-finished
properties, as the render can hide a multitude of sins. We carried
out a tap test on the render (literally hitting the render with
the back of a hammer to try to establish if there are any hollow
areas to it) and we were pleasantly surprised as we expected to
find more hollow areas than we did. Therefore we would comment
that the render is fairly typical for its age.
brickwork to the front of the property is starting to flake.
Note also that the downpipe discharges directly on to the
There are hairline cracks to the render, which tend
to be around window openings etc, and we do not consider these anything
unusual for this age of property. We do however feel that they should
be filled and that re-decoration should take place, we would recommend,
in the summer of 2004.
You can normally establish the quality of the render
work by the drip detailing. In this instance there are a few over some
of the front windows, but these looked to have been formed in metal
rather than in the render itself. Nevertheless these will help to stop
deterioration from occurring to the windows beneath, as they will throw
the rainwater away from the window.
There is decorative timberwork to the upper levels;
this is decorative at the very least and generally looked to be deteriorating.
This needs re-decorating and we are also sure there will be some associated
The property to the rear is
built with red and yellow stock bricks. It is bedded in the original
lime mortar and has more recently been re-pointed in cement mortar.
The brickwork bond is Flemish.
The term Flemish Bond brickwork relates to the way
the bricks are bonded together. We are only able to see the outside
of the brickwork. In some instances, tradesmen would imitate this pattern
with a single skin of brickwork, bonding a cheaper brick on the inside,
thereby saving money/increasing profits and reducing structural integrity.
This is rare, however the only way to be 100% certain is to open up
Generally Flemish Bond brickwork is liable to penetrating
dampness internally, dependent upon the condition of the brickwork and
the exposure to the weather. In this case the re-pointing looks in good
condition. It is essential that external faces be kept in good condition.
The bedding mortar around the windows has
come away in most places. Also in this photo you can see where
a cement mortar has been put over the original lime mortar.
Lime Every Time
Unfortunately the re-pointing, whilst well meaning,
is not appropriate for this type of construction. A cement mortar has
been used rather than a lime based mortar. We recommend you use lime
mortar in any future repairs regardless of what the builders say! Using
lime mortar will limit further damage to the brickwork, which is almost
impossible to repair successfully.
Lime Mortar Defined
A mix used to bed bricks upon; its characteristics
being that it flexes and moves with the structure. It was used up to
the War years.
Cement Mortar Defined
A sand cement mix used commonly in brick houses from
about the First World War onwards (first invented about 150 years ago).
It is relatively strong and brittle and therefore does not allow much
|Movement in the Structure
As is fairly typical with a property of this age, there has been
movement in the structure, particularly where it has been extended
many times over many years and different building techniques have
been used. We have mentioned elsewhere within this report that
the tree, which we feel may be an issue, has resulted in some
movement in the structure and also there is general differential
movement. In the photo to the right the pencil indicates differential
movement between the main property and the toilet block that was
obviously added at a later date.
There is also movement that we believe has been caused by water
damage. Some of the keystones above the window have moved (see
photo to the right). This may be due to the close by tree, but
we think it is more likely to be due to the leaking flat roof
ACTION REQUIRED: General re-pointing is
needed throughout the property, for example to the parapet
walls where, for some reason rather than to re-point, Flashband
has been added.
Ad hoc re-pointing required. Flashband has been used here.
This shows probably what the parapet walls are like below
the Flashband in the other picture, which is why they need
Flashband is a sticky backed felt which is best used
for temporary repairs only.
Where the window and door lintels are concealed by
render, brickwork and plaster, we cannot comment on their construction
Finally, the external walls have been inspected visually
from ground level and/or randomly via a ladder. Where the window and
door lintels are concealed by brickwork, render and plasterwork we cannot
comment on their construction or condition. In buildings of this age
timber lintels, concrete lintels and metal lintels are common, which
can be susceptible to deterioration that is unseen, particularly if
in contact with dampness.
Our comments have been based upon how the brickwork, render and plasterwork
have been finished. We have made various assumptions based upon what
we could see and how we think the brickwork, render and plasterwork
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.
It is very difficult to know the depth of the foundations of this property,
as it is very difficult to establish the period that it was built in.
We have inspected the walls for any signs of moment and found that although
there is some hairline cracking there is nothing that we would term
unusual for this age of property.
We would however draw your attention to our comments with regard to
the tree location and future problems. Please see the Trees Section
of this report.
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.
Trees within influencing distance of a property
can affect the foundations by affecting the moisture content of the
To the rear of the property there is a tree practically
next to the single storey extension and also the cellar below. This
is not ideal, particularly because the gutters and downpipes in that
area are discharged onto the ground, giving a good supply of water to
the tree. We suggest that you seek permission to cut the tree down and
obtain advice from an arboriculturist.
We know we have already used this photo,
but it really does show how close the tree is to the structure.
ACTION REQUIRED: Obtain
advice from an arboriculturist.
This is the distance in which a tree may be able to cause damage
to the subject property.
Please also refer to the Walls Section and the External Areas Section
of this Report.
DAMP PROOF COURSE
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.
All modern properties should incorporate 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, there is a render plinth around the base of the original
property and also to the newer sections at the rear. We were unable
to take readings for dampness to this property due to the dado railing
throughout, where there was not any dado railing, for example in the
toilet areas, there was excessive condensation that made it difficult
to establish if it was rising damp or not.
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
fascias, soffits and bargeboards, windows and doors, and any detailing
such as brick corbelling etc.
Fascias and soffits offer protection to the rafter feet and also allow
the securing of the guttering. Windows primary functions are to admit
light and air, but they also have thermal and sound properties. The
doors allow access and egress within the property.
Fascias and Soffits
The fascia is hidden behind the guttering in this instance
and therefore in this we could not see most of it. What we could see
looked to be in fairly poor condition and in need of repair and re-decoration.
ACTION REQUIRED: Repair
and re-decorate in the summer of 2004.
Note the end of the fascia and soffit with
the flaking paintwork.
The fascia to the far right hand side of
the property. Re-decoration required and also a change in the
roof detail to stop this happening again.
The property has predominantly sliding sash windows,
although there are a few metal windows and aluminium windows to the
rear. As a general comment we would say that all of these need some
sort of maintenance, whether it be painting and re-decoration, easing
and adjusting or new window panes, as some of them are broken.
We tried to open a random sample of windows and found that approximately
a third of them had been painted shut, several of them had broken sash
cords and one has been left with a broken window.
ACTION REQUIRED: We suggest a good quality carpentry
firm would take the best part of a week to sort out these windows.
The aluminium window to the rear of the property was smashed to
gain access and needs repair (see photo to the right).
The metal windows within the kitchen area were fairly stiff. Commonly
they rust and corrode and warp.
We are advised that the doors occasionally need easing
and adjusting due to seasonal movements within the property. We believe
this is also aggravated by the fact that the roofs leak and allow water
into the structure of the building. We discuss earlier in this report
how to reduce this issue.
Finally, we have carried out a general and random inspection of the
external joinery. In the case of the fascias and soffits it is typically
a visual inspection from ground level. 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
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.
In this case, we believe that
an external re-decoration is overdue and deterioration to the
structure is being caused by not carrying out an external decoration.
ACTION REQUIRED: Re-decorate
in the summer of 2004.
|General view of the external
render. Repairs have been carried out to it.
Generally the signage was in reasonable condition with the exception
of the swing sign, which is rusting and faded and in poor condition.
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.
CELINGS, WALLS, PARTITIONS AND FINISHES
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. The concept of internal finishes is relatively
modern. Partitioning developed originally to separate the livestock
from the human occupants. Finishes have developed from this very functional
beginning to their decorative nature of today.
From the look of the ceilings and from what we were able to inspect
within the roof space, we believe that you have got a mixture of the
original lath and plaster, some replacement fibreboard and some replacement
Lath and Plaster Defined
Laths are thin strips of timbers which are fixed to the structure.
Wet plaster is applied to the laths, usually in several layers.
The plaster forms a key as it is forced between the laths. This
plaster, once dry, is given further coats and often a decorative
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.
Condensation staining is visible to the bathroom ceiling and also to
the toilet ceiling, this may have affected the plaster as well and may
Staining to the Landing Corridor
Near the access hatch to the roof there is staining to the ceiling.
When we were in the roof we noted that the water tanks were above this
and there looks to have been a leak in the past to this area, this may
be from the water tanks or it may be condensation coming off the existing
tanks, it is very difficult to tell without further investigation.
ACTION REQUIRED: We have earlier
given remedies for the condensation within the bathroom and the toilet
areas, with regard to the possible dampness and condensation from
the tank we suggest that the cheapest option would be to paint the
ceiling directly below, to see if it is an old stain or whether it
re-stains. If it does re-stain then you will need to look at heightening
the water tanks within the roof to allow air to circulate better underneath
them to stop the condensation.
Dampness in the Poolroom Bar
We have earlier given a remedy to the leak to the roof, which should
resolve this issue. Once the roof work has been carried out new plaster
should be added and the area should be re-decorated.
Private Living Accommodation
As a general comment there is hairline cracking to some of the ceilings
in the private living accommodation particularly on the far left hand
side where we found the lath and plaster.
Ground Floor Trading Area
Most of the ground floor trading area accommodation has embossed paper
and therefore it is not possible to see the ceiling or any undulations
to it in these areas.
Internal Walls and Partitions
As is fairly common with trading areas most of the walls have been removed
and support has been added, we assume, in their place. Without opening
up the structure we have no way of checking what support has been added.
Interestingly our verbal checks with the Planning Department showed
that there had been nothing on their computerised records dating back
to 1979. However, the internal alterations could just have been classed
as Building Regulation requirements only.
ACTION REQUIRED: We recommend that
your Legal Advisor check that Building Regulations have been obtained.
Much of the wall finishes is covered with timber dado
panels to the base of the structure, and the upper parts are covered
in areas with embossed paper, therefore much of the walls are hidden
and we were unable to see any undulations.
There is a mixture of studwork walls and solid walls. Some of the studwork
walls are what we would term as ‘structural’, as they carry
some transferred weight from the roof above.
The majority of the walls have a woodchip finish; this is typically
used to hide undulations in the walls. It is highly likely that in this
area there is some lime based plaster, which is likely, when re-decoration
is carried out, to come away from the walls.
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.
CHIMNEY BREASTS, FLUES AND FIREPLACES
With the advent of central heating fireplaces tend
to be more a feature than an essential function in most properties.
At the time of the survey no chimneys were in use.
Any chimneys that you do not propose to use should be capped and ventilated
to prevent dampness.
There are four chimneys to this property. The left hand chimney was
found to follow through the bedrooms and down into the trading area,
although the front chimney was further forward than we would expect.
The middle chimney followed through the first floor level only and the
middle rear chimney has similarly been altered, we believe at one time
it provided a vent for the boiler. The rear chimney can be seen to go
through the rear bedroom and into the poolroom.
During our question and answer session the manager advised that they
had not used the fire during the eight months that they had been at
Finally, it is strongly recommended that flues be cleaned and checked
for obstruction prior to use to minimise the risk of hazardous fumes
entering the building.
Please also see the Chimney Stacks and Parapet Walls section of this
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.
The floor construction is mixed, due to the coverings upon most of it
we have to give a best guess. As it is firm and solid under foot we
believe that most of it is concrete. We did not expose any of the floor.
There are areas where there is timber boarding, again we believe there
is concrete beneath this.
We have been advised by the manager that there is a fair amount of movement
in the floor over the cellar area. This area has what is known as a
suspended timber floor and it is this area that may be a cause for concern.
We tried to check this during the course of our survey but we were unable
to as the floor structure was not exposed – we are happy to go
back and expose it at an agreed fee.
Our best assumption, based upon what we have seen, is that from the
way the floorboards lie, the joists underneath should run from the front
to the back of the property. This would indicate a fairly long span
in the poolroom area, which may be the reason for the deflection. In
addition to this possible rotting of the joist feet may be occurring
due to the roof leaks in this area and the way the downpipes discharge
onto the ground.
Suspended Timber Floor Construction Defined
A suspended timber floor usually consists of timbers spanning the ground
floor, supported on piers (usually brickwork), vented via airbricks
within the walls.
ACTION REQUIRED: Expose the floor structure and
check the joist ends.
Generally the floorboards are
slightly worn, possibly termed having character, but around the
bar the wearing is more severe. This, in our opinion, is a poor
detail and we generally find things such as quarry tiles or altro-style
vinyl are more heavy wearing in these areas.
A typical first floor floor construction for this property is what is
known as a joist and floorboard construction, although we would add
that no floorboards were lifted and the floor was not accessed.
The floor deflects more than would normally be expected in modern properties
and generally creaks.
Joist and Floorboard Construction
These are usually at first floor level consisting of a joist supported
from the external walls, either built in or, in more modern times,
sitting upon joist hangers, sometimes taking additional support
from internal walls, with floorboards fixed down upon it.
Finally, we have not been able to view the actual floors
themselves due to them being covered with fitted carpets, floor coverings,
laminated flooring 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.
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 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.
Unfortunately we were unable
to take damp meter readings in most areas due to the dado panelling.
We did however carry out a visual inspection and did not find
anything untoward within the ground floor areas. However, within
the cellar, as one would expect, we did note areas of rising damp,
which we do not believe would meet current Environmental Health
photo was taken within the cellar area, which we normally
recommend are painted with a mould retardant paint.
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
This was acceptable for the property type.
This is where the humidity held within the air
meets a cold surface causing condensation.
We have discussed the condensation in this area elsewhere
within this report. To summarise, heating is required, the leak to the
roof needs to be resolved and additional ventilation is required.
ACTION REQUIRED: Provide background
heating in the area and ventilate.
Again, we have already covered this area. Additional
ventilation is required, in our opinion, in the form of an extract fan,
and the windows need to be eased and adjusted.
ACTION REQUIRED: Add extract fan
and ease and adjust windows.
We noticed some blackening of the ceiling in the cellar, which
is probably due to condensation. Note the black to the centre
of this photograph.
Equally these could relate to beer spillages above or leaks from
If it is condensation then additional insulation is needed between
the cellar and the bar floor, as we believe interstitial condensation
is occurring between the two areas due to the change in temperature.
ACTION REQUIRED: As already recommended,
the floor structure needs to be opened up in this area to check the
joist ends, but also we can check at the same time the insulation
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.
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.
Private Living Accommodation
– First Floor
Generally painted timber doors. General marks and scuffs throughout.
Predominantly woodchip paper finished with various
marks and scuffs throughout.
Predominantly woodchip finish, although there are some
ceilings that are finished in fibreboard.
Doors marked and some damaged, for example to the ladies
Carpet and wood boarding. The wood boarding is scuffed
and marked and starting to wear around the bar area.
There is a dado throughout the pub that has a dark
stain on it and has minor marks, as one would expect in this sort of
public area. There are mirrors to the upper section of the walls, embossed
paper or exposed brickwork.
Generally painted embossed paper.
No access to the staircase structure from the ground
floor to the first floor.
To the cellar staircase we noted that the treads had been replaced in
ply board, which is not an ideal material as it is starting to delaminate.
Quarry tile flooring with ingrained dirt.
Tiled. Some marks from previous fixing points, some
tiles are loose and some are missing. Generally in need of cleaning.
A textured paint finish (commonly known as artex),
which we do not believe meets current Environmental Health Regulation
standards, although we are not experts in this area.
Some tiles missing.
Wall tiles missing and hollow and blown sections,
also wall tile damage.
|Entrance lobby to gents'
|Wall tiles missing in gents’
|Wall tiles damaged in gents'
Condensation is occurring to the ceiling areas.
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 over-view of the condition. Please also see
the External Joinery section.
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 and Wet 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.
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.
There is an outside chance that either of the above
is occurring in the joist ends of the floor. Further investigation needs
to be carried out in this area.
ACTION REQUIRED: Expose the joist
ends and the joists in general to the suspended floor section of the
rear left hand side of the bar area.
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. Many older properties have woodworm that is no longer
active, this can often be considered as part of the overall character
of the property.
We have only inspected half of the roof space, which
is why we have recommended the remainder is opened up.
The roof is the main area that we look for woodworm. Within the roof
we found no obvious visual signs of woodworm activity or indeed signs
of past woodworm activity that has caused what we would term ‘structurally
significant’ damage. In many properties there is an element of
woodworm that is not active. Our inspection is usually restricted by
insulation covering some of the timbers and general stored items in
the roof, as it is restricted throughout the property by general fixtures
and fittings. If you wish to be 100 per cent certain that there is no
woodworm the only way would be to check the property when is emptied
of fixtures and fittings etc.
ACTION REQUIRED: If you wish to
be 100 per cent certain get the property checked when it is empty
of fixtures, fittings and furniture etc.
Finally, when you move into the property, floor surfaces
should be carefully examined for any signs of insect infestation when
furniture and floor coverings are removed together with stored goods.
Any signs that are found should be treated to prevent it spreading.
However, you need to be aware that many damp and woodworm treatment
companies have a vested interest in selling their products and therefore
have fairly cleverly worded quotations where they do not state if the
woodworm they have found is ‘active’. You should ask them
specifically if the woodworm is active or not.
We would also comment that any work carried out should have an insurance
backed guarantee to ensure that if the company does not exist, or for
whatever reason, the guarantee is still valid. More importantly it is
essential to ensure that any work carried out is carried out correctly.
With paints it should be remembered that up to
1992 lead could be used within paint and prior to this most textured
paints (commonly known as Artex) contained an element of asbestos up
to 1984, so care should be taken if the paintwork looks old and dated.
The trading area is generally smoked stained and worn,
as one would expect with a bar area.
The only area that really stands out as being below average for a working
pub is the toilet area where the condensation is occurring.
The decoration was scuffed, marked and smoke stained
and probably below average for what we typically see – full re-decoration
We would draw your attention again to the bathroom area where condensation
We would also draw your attention to the staining on the ceiling in
the landing area, which we believe is possibly due to an old stain from
the tank above, or possibly condensation.
Finally, it should be noted that not all joinery has been inspected.
We have taken a random sample and visually inspected these to give a
general over-view of the condition. Please also see the External Joinery/Detailing
CELLARS AND VAULTS
Cellars and vaults tend to be found in older properties
and offer a useful space, although usually they are dam, unless some
treatment has taken place such as the tanking of the walls, which is
a liming process, or an external damp proofing membrane of some type
has been added, or if internally the walls have been lined, therefore
hiding the damp. Cellars are often susceptible to flooding from excessive
rain, rising water table levels or even blocked drains.
The cellar is split into two areas, the bottle sore/spirit’s
store and a cold store area to the front with the drop within it.
We would comment that the concrete flooring is marked, we do not believe
to Environmental Health standards. We also noted damp to the walls,
which although not unusual in a cellar, we feel again would not be to
Environmental Health standards.
We are advised that the sump pump does not work and in fact sometimes
backs up with sewerage. We can arrange for a full drainage test if you
so require, for an appropriate fee.
|General view of the cellar
Finally, we have made a visual inspection of the cellar/vault
only and have no way of knowing what the construction is without opening
up the structure.
this section we put any other matters that do not
fit under our usual headings.
We are advised that the property has four CCTV cameras;
three inside and one outside on the rear roof. A good alarm system should
not only help reduce break-ins but also 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.
Fire System - Smoke Alarms
We noted two fire extinguishers; neither have been
checked for some time. Some smoke detectors were noted. The current
Building Regulations require that they be wired into the main power
supply. Obviously in a property of this age this is difficult, as it
would mean having surface mounted wires or cutting wiring into the plaster.
ACTION REQUIRED: We would recommend,
for your own safety, that smoke detectors be installed.
We have seen recently a smoke detector that fits within
a light fitting (although we have not used these personally), which
is charged when the light is switched on, providing it is switched on
a certain number of times a year. We feel this is an excellent idea
as it alleviates the problems of batteries running out. We would also
advise that if you wish to have any general advice the local Fire Authority
are usually happy to help.
We would always recommend staying with the existing
insurance company, then if there are any problems you should not have
the difficulty of negotiating with two insurance companies passing the
blame between each other.
We are advised that the property has four CCTV cameras;
three inside and one outside on the rear roof. A good alarm system should
not only help reduce break-ins but also 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.
Services and specialist installations have been visually inspected.
It is impossible to examine every detail of these installations without
partially dismantling the structure. Tests have not been applied. Conclusive
tests can only be undertaken by suitably qualified contractors. The
vendor/seller should be requested to provide copies of any service records,
test certificates and, ideally, the names and addresses of the installing
New Building Regulations dictate that as from January 2005 certain electrical
installation work is required to be carried out and certified by an
approved contractor and is notifiable to the relevant local authority.
Your Legal Advisor should request any relevant documentation.
It is strange to think that electricity only started
to be used in domestic properties at the turn of the last century with
gas lighting still being the norm for a good many years after.
The electric fuses and consumer units were located
in the cellar area. We would recommend that a half hour fire resistant
stop unit be situated around the electrics to reduce the fire hazard.
Visible wiring in the roof space was fairly modern and fittings are
of a modern type. If there is no record of an electrical test having
been undertaken within the last five years it is recommended that the
insulation be tested by a competent electrician (NICEIC registered)
and all recommendations implemented. Thereafter the insulation should
be re-tested every five years.
We were advised by the manager that there are various issues with the
electrics that result in them fusing on a fairly regular pattern. This
would indicate that they are overloaded.
ACTION REQUIRED: If there is no
record of an electrical test having been undertaken within the last
five years, it is recommended that the installation be tested by a
competent electrician (NICEIC registered) and all recommendations
implemented. Thereafter, the installation should be re-tested every
There is very little we can check for in a gas
installation, we do inspect to make sure there is one and that it has
a consumer unit and that the boilers are vented. Ideally you should
have a service inspection carried out by an independent CORGI registered
We do not carry out any gas tests, but whilst we were
at the property the boiler, situated on the ground floor behind the
bar, next to the kitchen, appeared in a very bad way and it was possible
to smell gas. We were advised by the manager that a heating engineer
was being called out. Otherwise, we would consider this as an emergency
ACTION REQUIRED: If the problems
with the boiler have not been rectified then they need to be rectified
as a matter of urgency. As a matter of course it is recommended that
the entire gas installation is inspected and made good, as necessary,
by a CORGI registered contractor. Thereafter the installation should
be serviced annually.
All gas appliances, pipework and flues should be the
subject of an annual service by a competent engineer, i.e., a member
of CORGI (the Council of Registered Gas Installers); works to gas appliances
etc., by unqualified personnel is illegal. Unless evidence can be provided
to confirm that there has been annual servicing we would recommend that
you commission such a service prior to use to ensure safe and efficient
PLUMBING AND HEATING
In this section we do our best from a visual inspection
to look at how the water is supplied to the property, how the supply
is distributed around the property, how it is used to heat the property
and how it is discharged from the property.
The controlling stopcock was not located. It is important
that its presence is established in case of bursts or leaks. The stopcock
and other controlling valves have not been inspected or tested for operational
It should be noted that the supply pipe from the Water Company stopcock
to the internal stop tap is the responsibility of the property owner.
We cannot comment on the condition of the water service pipe to the
building. It should be appreciated that leaks can occur for some time
before signs are apparent on the surface.
When the taps were run to carry out the drainage test
we checked the pressure literally by putting a finger over the tap and
this seemed reasonable.
The Water Board have to guarantee a certain pressure of water to ensure
that things like boilers, particularly the instantaneous ones have a
constant supply of pressured water (they would blow up if they didn’t!).
Cold Water Cistern
Please see our comments in the Roof section
Hot Water Cylinder
We did not note a hot water cylinder during the course
of our inspection. It is possible that we missed it as the cupboards
around the bathroom were packed full of clothing and we did not pull
these out. We would be more than happy to return and inspect the cylinder
if you so require.
The plumbing, where visible, comprises copper pipework.
No significant leakage was noted on the surface, although most of the
pipework is concealed in ducts and floors.
Our limited inspection of the hot water and central
heating system revealed no evidence to suggest any serious defects but
we would nevertheless recommend that the system be tested and overhauled
before exchange of contracts and that a regular maintenance contract
be placed with an approved heating engineer.
We did note that there are no TRV valves to any of the radiators whatsoever.
We also noted that a lot of the radiators were single panel to the private
Soil and Vent Pipe
There is a cast iron soil and vent pipe to the rear
of the property; this has then been partly replaced by the plastic one
at the upper levels. The soil and vent pipe, for whatever reason, has
not been re-secured to the wall and is hanging in position.
ACTION REQUIRED: Re-secure soil
and vent pipe.
Finally, it should be noted that the supply pipe from
the Water Company stopcock to the internal stop tap is the responsibility
of the property owner.
We cannot comment on the condition of the water service pipe to the
building. It should be appreciated that leaks can occur for some time
before signs are apparent on the surface.
In this section we consider the overall condition
of the sanitary fittings such as the toilets, bathrooms, the kitchen,
the utility rooms and the cloakrooms.
The ladies toilets consist of two w.c.s and a wash
The gents’ toilets consist of one w.c., a plastic
panel urinal and a wash hand basin. We believe there to be a leak to
the urinal area and also many of the tiles need replacing as they have
lost their key.
Private Living Accommodation
There is a w.c., a wash hand basin and a small bath
with shower unit.
There would appear to be a leak from the bathroom, judging by the dampness
in the boiler room below. We assume this relates to seals around the
bath that have broken.
ACTION REQUIRED: Generally the bathroom
itself is in a mess. We would suggest complete refurbishment.
ANTICIPATED COSTS: £2,000 - £3,000.
Finally, although we may have already mentioned it
above we would reiterate that it is important to ensure that seals are
properly made and maintained at the junctions between wall surfaces
and baths and showers etc. We normally recommend that it is one of the
first jobs that you carry out as water getting behind sanitary fittings
can lead to unseen deterioration that can be costly, inconvenient and
difficult to repair.
The sanitary system, as we know it now, came into
being some 100 years ago during the Victorian era and works so successfully
today it is often taken for granted. It is only in recent years that
re-investment has taken place to upgrade the original drainage systems.
It is assumed that the foul drains from the property
discharge into a public sewer; this should be confirmed by your Legal
Advisor prior to exchange of contracts, who should also provide information
in respect of any common or shared drains including liability for the
maintenance and upkeep of the same.
For your information, inspection chambers / manholes
are required to be provided in the current Building Regulations at each
change of direction or where drainage runs join the main run.
We have identified three inspection chambers / manholes
located to the rear of the property. We have duly lifted these to check
to make sure they are not blocked.
For your information, manholes are required to be provided in the current
Building Regulations at each change of direction or where drainage runs
join the main run.
Inspection Chamber/Manhole One (right hand
side near the Gent’s toilets)
We duly lifted the cover and found it to be free flowing
at the time of our inspection.
Inspection Chamber/Manhole Two (centre of
the car park)
This was lifted and also found to be clear.
Inspection Chamber/Manhole Two (to the rear
of the car park)
This was lifted and also found to be clear. We noted
this has a lightweight manhole cover, which is not appropriate for the
location as it could be driven over by a car.
ACTION REQUIRED: Replace manhole
We have only undertaken a visual inspection of the
property’s foul drains by lifting covers and running water from
the sanitary fittings within the property.
Finally, it must be emphasised that the condition of the property’s
foul drains can only be ascertained by the carrying out of a test; such
a test has not been undertaken. Should there be leaks in the vicinity
of the building then problems could occur, particularly with respect
to the stability of the building’s foundations. Drainage repairs
are inevitably costly and may result in damage being caused to those
areas of the property beneath, or adjacent to, which the drains have
Rainwater/Surface Water Drainage
Whilst very innocent looking rainwater downpipes
can cause lots of problems. If they discharge directly onto the ground
they can affect the foundations and even if they are taken away to soak-aways
they can attract nearby tree roots or again affect foundations.
Some rainwater drains are taken into the main drainage system, which
is now illegal (as we simply do not have the capacity to cope with it),
and can cause blockages to the main drains! Here we have done our best
from a visual inspection to advise of any particular problems.
We have been unable to determine the ultimate means
of rain/surface water disposal, however much of it seems to deposit
directly onto the ground outside the property.
Finally, rain/surface water drains have not been tested and their condition
or effectiveness is not known. Similarly, the adequacy of soak-aways
has not been established although you are advised that they tend to
silt up and become less effective with time.
Please also see our comments within the Gutters and downpipes section.
OUTBUILDING - STABLE
There is a large brick built outbuilding with a slate
roof. It is generally in the early stages of dilapidation. We are advised
that the area is used for general storage.
We have not inspected this structure, however we did note that there
are old tie bars to the left hand end of it and also there appeared
to be a bulge in the structure. We also noted the gutters and downpipes
appeared to not be fixed properly and were old cast iron ones and that
there are some loose slates. We were unable to inspect any of the rear
of this property.
We had a brief internal inspection and found the lights not to be working
properly and some cracking to the front left hand corner of the building,
possibly relating to the nearby tree.
Whilst we note the boundaries, these may not be the
legal boundaries. Your Legal Advisor should make further enquiries on
this point and advise you of your potential liability with regard to
any shared structures, boundary walls and fences.
The left hand boundary (all directions given as you face the property)
is usually the responsibility of the subject property.
There is a small area of boundary wall to the right and left hand side,
but the majority of the boundaries are made up by the buildings. To
the rear of the property are gates, which are literally hanging off;
these give access to Church Lane.
We have not spoken to the neighbours on either side
of the property.
|POINTS FOR YOUR LEGAL
|If you wish to proceed with your purchase
of the property a copy of this should be forwarded to
your Legal Advisor and the following points should be
checked by him/her:-
Responsibility for boundaries.
Rights for you to enter onto
the adjacent property to maintain any structure situated
near or on the boundary and any similar rights your
neighbour may have to enter onto your property.
||Obtain any certificates, guarantees or approvals in
||Timber treatments, wet or dry rot infestations.
||Rising damp treatments.
||Roof and similar renewals.
||Central heating installation.
||Planning and Building Regulation Approvals.
||Any other matters pertinent to the property.
Confirm that there are no defects
in the legal Title in respect of the property and
all rights associated therewith, e.g., access.
||Rights of Way e.g., access, easements and wayleaves.
||Liabilities in connection with shared services.
||Adjoining roads and services.
||Road Schemes/Road Widening.
||General development proposals in the locality.
Conservation Area, Listed Building,
Tree Preservation Orders or any other Designated Planning
Confirm from enquiries that no
underground tunnels, wells, sewers, gases, mining,
minerals, site reclamation/contamination etc., exist,
have existed or are likely to exist beneath the curtilage
of the site upon which the property stands and which
could affect the quiet enjoyment, safety or stability
of the property, outbuildings or surrounding areas.
Our Report assumes that the site
has not been put to contaminative use and no investigations
have been made in this respect.
Any outstanding Party Wall Notice
or of the knowledge that any are about to be served.
We strongly recommend that Envirosearch
or a similar product is used by your Legal Advisor
to establish whether this area falls into a flood
plain, old landfill site etc., and brought to its
logical conclusion. If your Legal Advisor is not aware
of the system please ensure that they contact us and
we will advise them about it.
LISTED BUILDING AND CONSERVATION AREA
From our investigations the property has been identified
as being Listed and situated within a Conservation Area.
Your Legal Advisor should confirm the above and carry out any searches
he/she feels are necessary.
PLANNING AND BUILDING CONTROL
No applications for planning are recorded by the ????????????
Borough Council Planning Department. Records date back to ????????.
We have not made enquiries with the Building Control
This was confirmed by the Planning Officer on ???????at ????????
Finally, your Solicitor should confirm this and carry out any checks
he/she feels necessary, advising us if they feel that we can have further
Finally, an extract from the book “Sold”!
“When you receive your full structural survey (now known as a
Building Survey), do remember that you have requested a list of the
property’s faults so it is unlikely to make cheerful reading.
Every property has its faults but what you are looking for are the serious
ones. If your Report does reveal a serious problem that you had not
anticipated when making your offer, the first thing to do is to decide
whether you want to take on the repairs if an adjustment is made to
the price. If you do, then get quotes for the work as quickly as possible
and present your case in a fair manner. Most people are reasonable under
such circumstances and will compromise but inevitably there are those
who are sufficiently confident of their position to say take it or leave
it. In a very active market, prices may have moved up sufficiently to
cover the extra expenditure in theory and the vendor will not hasten
to point this out but remember that he has probably got a vendor pressing
him to proceed quickly and starting with a new purchaser will cause
It is our policy not to offer a conclusion to ensure that the Building
Survey is read in full and the comments are taken in context.
If you would like any further advice on any of the issues discussed
(or indeed any that have not been discussed!) then please do not hesitate
to contact us on 0800 298 5424.
For and on Behalf of
GEM Associates Limited
This Report is dated:
Life expectancies of building components
Published by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and
Building Research Establishment
By Malcolm Hollis 4th edition published by Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors Books.
Our limitations are as the agreed Terms and Conditions
CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT
The report has been prepared in accordance with our
Conditions of Engagement dated ????????? and should be regarded as a
comment on the overall condition of the property and the quality of
its structure and not as an inventory of every single defect. It relates
to those parts of the property that were reasonably and safely accessible
at the time of the inspection, but you should be aware that defects
can subsequently develop particularly if you do not follow the recommendations.
We would remind you that this report should not be
published or reproduced in any way without the surveyor’s expressed
permission and is governed by English Law and any dispute arising there
from shall be adjudicated upon only by the English Courts.
This report is for the sole use of the named Client
and is confidential to the Client and his professional advisors. Any
other persons rely on the Report at their own risk.
Although we are pointing out the obvious, our Surveyors
obviously can’t see through walls, floors, heavy furniture, fixed
kitchen units etc. they have therefore made their best assumptions in
As this is a one off inspection, we cannot guarantee that there are
no other defects than those mentioned in the report and also that defects
can subsequently develop.
It was a sunny autumn day at the time of the inspection.
The weather did not hamper the survey.
We would add that some defects only become apparent upon physical occupation
or are only present as a result of the extremes of weather (which are
becoming a more frequent occurrence); for example the year 2000 was
the wettest year on record and the 2003 the driest year on records,
this is likely to have adverse effects on lots of buildings in years
The property was occupied and trading at the time of
our survey, which meant that there were various difficulties when carrying
out the survey such as stored items within cupboards, the roof space
and obviously day-to-day household goods throughout the property and
usual items associated with running this type of business. We have,
however, done our best to work around these.
INFORMATION ON THE PROPERTY MARKET
We used to include within our reports articles on the property market
that we thought would be of interest and informative to you, however
we were concerned that in some cases these did not offer the latest
information. We have therefore decided to recommend various websites
to you, however it is important to realise the vested interest the parties
may have and the limits to the information.
This records the ownership of interests in registered land in England and Wales and issues a residential property price report quarterly, which is free of charge. The Land Registry is a Government body and records all transactions as far as we are aware, although critics of it would argue that the information is often many months out of date.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors offer commentary on the commercial market. Although this has been criticised as being subjective and also limited.
However it is important to realise the vested interest that the parties that run the websites may have and the limits to this information.