A Public House in Hertfordshire

Mr A Client

Prepared by:

GEM Associates Limited



0800 298 5424


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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.


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.


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 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.


Front Elevation

Rear Elevation


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

  •   Lounge
  •   Bathroom
  •   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 room.



Chimneys: Four brick chimneys
Main Roof: A hipped roof, clad with slates
Rear Roofs: There are three flat rear roofs, one finished with lead and two in felt
Gutters and Downpipes:
Walls: Predominantly painted render finish to the front and Flemish brick bond to the rear
External Joinery: 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
Walls: 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:-

Overall Opinion

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:

1) 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 roofs.

ANTICIPATED COST: Quotes should be obtained prior to commitment to purchase.

Please see the Roofs Section and the Parapet Walls Section of this Report.
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 roof
The pencil indicates where the felt has completely deteriorated.
2) External Re-decoration and Associated Repair
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 rotting timber.

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 as well.

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.
3) 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 Lobby

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 up.
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.

4) 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 been distorted.

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 obtained.

Please see the Trees Section and Drainage Section of this Report.

5) 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.
6) Issues Verbally Advised by the Manager
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:

Sump Pump

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.

DIY/Handyman Repairs

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 report.

Purchase Price

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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
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 property
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 roof

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.

Flaunchings Defined
A low, wide cement mortar fillet surrounding the flue terminal on top of the chimneystack to throw off rainwater.
Flashings Defined
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
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 report.

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 latent defects.

Please also see Chimney Breasts, Flues and Fireplaces Section of this Report.


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.

Main 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 underfelt)

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).

Adjacent Roofs

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 in lead.

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.

The cement fillet flashing that needs replacing.

ACTION REQUIRED: New lead flashing to the left hand side.

Cement Fillets/Cement Flashings

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.
The pencil 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.


The pencil 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 other 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

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.
General view of the roof structure with the purlin on the right hand side.

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.

Purlins Defined

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).

Roof Timbers

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 condition.

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.

Fire Walls

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.

Water Tanks

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.


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 finish.

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.
The render/painted brickwork to the front of the property is starting to flake. Note also that the downpipe discharges directly on to the ground.


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.

Drip Detailing

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.

Decorative Timberwork

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 repairs required.


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 the wall.
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.

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 above.

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 re-pointing.

Flashband Defined

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 or condition.

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 soil.

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.

Distance Defined

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.


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.

Metal 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 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.

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.



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 plasterboard.

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 finish.

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.


Condensation staining is visible to the bathroom ceiling and also to the toilet ceiling, this may have affected the plaster as well and may need replacing.

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

Trading Area

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.

First Floor

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.


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 the property.

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 Report.


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

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.

First Floor

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 Defined

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

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 standards.
This 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 gutters.

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 sinks.

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 levels internally.

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


First Floor

Generally painted timber doors. General marks and scuffs throughout.

Floor Finishes

Mainly carpeted.


Predominantly woodchip paper finished with various marks and scuffs throughout.


Predominantly woodchip finish, although there are some ceilings that are finished in fibreboard.

Trading Area


Doors marked and some damaged, for example to the ladies w.c. partitions.

Floor Finishes

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.

Catering Kitchen


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.

Toilet Areas


Some tiles missing.


Wall tiles missing and hollow and blown sections, also wall tile damage.

Entrance lobby to gents' toilet area.
Wall tiles missing in gents’ toilets.
Wall tiles damaged in gents' toilets.


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.

Trading Area

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.

First Floor

The decoration was scuffed, marked and smoke stained and probably below average for what we typically see – full re-decoration is recommended.

We would draw your attention again to the bathroom area where condensation is occurring.

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 section.


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 floor.

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 contractors.

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 five years.


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 plumber.

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 item.

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 operation.


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.

Water Supply

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 effectiveness.

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.

Water Pressure

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 living accommodation.

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.

Trading Area

Ladies Toilets

The ladies toilets consist of two w.c.s and a wash hand basin.

Gentlemen’s Toilets

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.

Inspection Chambers/Manholes

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 cover.

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 been run.

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.



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.

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.
c) Obtain any certificates, guarantees or approvals in relation to:-
i) Timber treatments, wet or dry rot infestations.
ii) Rising damp treatments.
iii) Roof and similar renewals.
iv) Central heating installation.
v) Planning and Building Regulation Approvals.
vi) 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.
e) Rights of Way e.g., access, easements and wayleaves.
f) Liabilities in connection with shared services.
g) Adjoining roads and services.
h) Road Schemes/Road Widening.
i) General development proposals in the locality.
Conservation Area, Listed Building, Tree Preservation Orders or any other Designated Planning Area.
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.


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.



No applications for planning are recorded by the ???????????? Borough Council Planning Department. Records date back to ????????.

Building Control

We have not made enquiries with the Building Control Department.

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 input.

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 him delay”

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
Chartered Surveyors

This Report is dated:


Life expectancies of building components
Published by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and
Building Research Establishment

Surveying buildings
By Malcolm Hollis 4th edition published by Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors Books.



Our limitations are as the agreed Terms and 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 these areas.

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 to come.


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.


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.