Advice Hub: Single defect report

Single defect reports look at a particular problem on a property, how it has been caused and how to resolve it. We have a few articles that cover these including problems with windows, cracks on walls and roof defects. Often, maintenance is key to preventing problems - read these articles and they may help you to prevent problems on your own property.

What problems do surveyors find with stairs?

How often have you considered the staircase in your home? Or if you’re looking to buy, do you really take note of the condition of the stairs?

Unless you own, or wish to buy a bungalow, the stairs are in fact one of the most crucial things to look at. There are so many things to consider – their placement, how steep they are, whether they have banisters, what material they are, if they have carpet, do they have a … Read more...

cavity wall

Identifying cavity wall insulation problems

Poorly installed cavity wall insulation can cause problems. In July 2020 the Chancellor announced a Green Homes Grant to give up to £5,000 in vouchers for insulation (BBC News, July 2020)

A few years ago, we wrote this article about the problems (usually damp) associated with cavity wall insulation. At the time it was thought the issue could be widespread as numerous news articles demonstrated. One newspaper reported: : “1.5 million homes are blighted by damp after cowboy Read more...

surveying during corona virus

Surveying during Coronavirus

Are surveyors and valuers still doing surveys during the UK lockdown caused by COVID-19?

Yes. Government guidelines permit surveyors to carry on surveying and inspecting houses during the COVID-19 crisis.

What do the Government guidelines for surveyors say?

The guidance advises surveyors should not expect to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence, and no inspections should take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded.

They say it may … Read more...

broken rat run garden wall; party fence wall; blackheath; london

When garden walls lean, collapse and go bad

When was the last time you checked your garden walls or if you are buying had a look to see what the walls are like? The cost of repair or replacement of brick and masonry garden walls can be considerable – the most recent wall reconstruction that we managed on behalf of a client cost over £10,000 for a 14m run of brick and block retaining wall on new footings and it wasn’t that high!  Sometimes the cost of repair … Read more...

garden wall failure

The power of roots and poor retaining walls

Here’s a garden retaining wall that garden wall we found on a single defect survey.  A retaining wall is intended to hold back ground on one side of it that is higher than the ground on the other, the load of that supported land can be considerable and retaining walls do need careful design and construction. In this case the garden wall was apparently a well-built retaining structure, but on further examination we found it wasn’t quite as good … Read more...

building survey; whats in a loft - purlins, rafter, binder, strut

Surveys of lofts and roofs – what we look for

Do surveyors inspect the loft? It’s a question we are often asked and yes, we do for both building surveys and homebuyer reports. But, what are we looking for in a loft survey and what should you expect to see? This post is primarily relevant to older buildings – say late Victorian to mid-60s – earlier than this and all sorts of interesting timbers are often added and after this roofs are very often of prefabricated timber trusses. (Oh, … Read more...

condensation window upvc double glazed

Condensation dispute calls for expert help

As surveyors providing expert witness advice in housing disrepair cases, we are often asked to advise on condensation issues.

We recently helped a client who was having problems with a tenant complaining of condensation with damp walls and mould growth. Our client, the landlord, thought this was unusual as his previous tenants had not complained and there was no sign of condensation when the previous tenants moved out and the new ones moved in. He asked us to investigate and … Read more...

surveyors - chartered surveyors - london, kent

Surveyor or Chartered Surveyor?

Not all surveyors are equal – anyone can call themselves a surveyor. It’s not a protected title like architect or solicitor. And because anyone can call themselves a surveyor they can do so with no training at all, that means they may know nothing, something or everything about their specialist field but you won’t know that when you commission them.

The chap who measures for your double glazing – the window company’s “surveyor” – probably can use a tape measure, … Read more...

internal damp, rising and penetrating damp

Building surveys vs Specialist Damp Report

As a firm of professionally qualified surveyors, there’s nothing much that annoys us more than those who sit on the fence when they find damp and recommend a ‘specialist damp report’. These are usually poor quality surveyors intending solely to sell their own ‘specialist’ service or solution.
Only last month I carried out a timber damp inspection following a detailed and very damning report from a ‘specialist’. It had identified dry rot, timber decay in the floor and rampant rising
Read more...
water damaged brickwork and pointing

Don’t put off minor building repairs – 79p now or £1,000 then?

That pesky missing gutter end cap, you know the 79p part that push fits onto the gutter if only you could be bothered to go up the ladder. The one you remember every time it rains and the gutter just cascades. Hardly worth it really is it?

Well, this is what we found on a house we looked at last week with a missing end cap. The gutter water had dripped down the front elevation where it then landed on … Read more...