Advice Hub: General

Our advice hub is an essential read for homeowners, property owners, landlords and tenants. We have a range of articles covering issues you might have with your property both inside and out, as well as general advice. We look at property maintenance and general health, safety and building regulations advice for when you are having work done, We also show our relaxed personal side with some more light hearted articles about the how to investigate the history of your home, and specific articles about the local areas we work in across Kent and London.

detached new build house with a car and 2 "sold" signs outside

Snagging Survey vs Building Survey for new builds – What are the differences?

Buyers of new-build properties often skip building surveys, assuming perfection. However, issues, from minor flaws to safety concerns, can arise. Developers may overlook important details. Specialised snagging surveys offer a solution. They cost around £650 for a typical three-bedroom property and can uncover hidden problems. Full building surveys are rarely needed for new builds unless unique features or renovations are involved.
semi detached houses with black external windowsills and windows, and door

Nervous About Your Home Buyers Survey? – A Guide to Home Buyers Surveys and Reports

Buying a new home, especially for first-time buyers, can be a complex affair. Collier Stevens recommend surveys for new builds and prioritise quick report delivery. Two main survey types are available: a full building survey (Level 3) and a Homebuyer report (Level 2), chosen based on property age and condition.
top down view or the roof of a house

A Guide to Roof Surveys – What is included?

Roof surveys address various issues, including leaks, structural damage, and insurance claims. They cover roof problems, chimney issues, and more. They involve visual inspections from the ground or the use of licensed drones. Interior assessments are made through safe access points. Regular homeowner checks are advised to detect problems early as timely surveys can prevent costly damage and repairs.
Gallows Bracket

When should gallows brackets be used?

Gallows brackets are supports made of steel or iron that provide support for a remaining chimney breast or stack when removing an internal chimney breast. They are used in pairs and should be used when there is no steel beam. They must be attached to a party wall and cannot be used if the supporting wall's brickwork or mortar is in poor condition. It's essential to get the brackets and fixings designed by a structural engineer and obtain building regulation approval.
Chimney breast removal party wall act

Taking out a chimney breast – Party Wall Agreements

Removing a chimney breast is a tricky task that requires professional attention and appropriate paperwork. The chimney breast is part of the building's structure, and the remaining sections of the chimney and stack must be adequately supported, so building regulation approval is necessary. Moreover, a party wall agreement is required if the chimney stack is on a shared or party wall. The Party Wall Act requires serving a written notice to your neighbours at least two months before starting the work.
new home survey

How do homebuyers know which survey to have and how do you find the right surveyor?

Buying a new home is one of the biggest decisions anyone will make in their lifetime, and it's essential to make sure that the house is worth the investment. Even experienced buyers can make mistakes, but it's especially difficult for first-time buyers to know where to start. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found that many buyers do not have a survey, leading to costly faults. When selecting a surveyor, it is crucial to choose a chartered surveyor regulated by the RICS.
pair of feet with socks on walking down some stairs

What problems do surveyors find with stairs?

Staircases can often be overlooked when buying or maintaining a property, but they are one of the most crucial things to consider. There are practical problems, such as the stairs leading to a loft conversion, but also dangers such as missing handrails and asbestos being present. Safety regulations for domestic staircases specify the maximum gap between spindles, step height, and tread depth. Surveyors often find structural problems in poorly maintained or altered staircases.
student questionnaire for surveyors

Advice for students undertaking questionnaires for their dissertations

Final year construction and surveying students often send unsolicited email requests to building professionals to complete surveys for their dissertations. However, many of these requests have errors, and many professionals choose to ignore them. To help students, professionals suggest a 12-point guide for requesting a response to a survey. This guide includes investing enough time to write a survey and email, researching email marketing, and making the email and survey look professional.
Building Surveys & Homebuyer Reports

The importance of a building survey or homebuyer report

Buying a home is a significant investment, and it's essential to have the property inspected to avoid costly potential bills. Commissioning a survey highlights any defects or structural problems, enabling buyers to make informed decisions. It's important to note that a mortgage provider's valuation survey is not a building survey or homebuyer report and may not uncover underlying problems like damp or faulty electrics. Even new-build homes should be independently inspected to avoid future issues.
Flooding in hythe kent - Flood map

Hythe and the risk of flooding

A report by the Association of British Insurers in 2012 highlighted the flood risk in Folkestone and Hythe. The report was seized upon by the popular media, but it should be noted that the assessment was made for the whole of the local authority area, not just Hythe. Hythe, which is built on a hill and has sea defences, has not been seriously flooded since 1999. A majority of the affected homes are in the flat coastal part of the town.
service charge dispute leasehold freehold

Challenging a local authority service charge

Service charges are fees that cover costs of management, maintenance, and repairs on the common areas of the building or land. Leaseholders should be aware that they have an undertaking to pay service charges as agreed within the lease. If leaseholders are contesting a service charge, they must seek professional legal advice and understand that the freeholder will be fighting hard to demonstrate that the costs are reasonable and that they must pay.
No reply to a party wall notice - advice from a party wall surveyor

What if I don’t receive a reply to my party wall notice?

It's not uncommon to serve a party wall notice and receive no response from your neighbour. According to the Party Wall Act, after 14 days of silence, your neighbour is deemed to have dissented from the notice. If they still don't respond, you can appoint a surveyor to act for them. However, it's crucial to ensure your neighbour received the party wall notice in the first place, and you should not assume that you can proceed with your works without their agreement.