Call John on 07944 611844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
4 out of 5 buyers don't instruct a survey....... Which allows damp companies to tell you anything they like. (Opens a link to www.thisismoney.co.uk)
Historic Building Surveys in England, Scotland & Wales
A building survey previously known as a 'full building survey' or 'full structural survey' is a detailed examination of the current condition of the property in question. It will involve identification of the type of construction and materials used, which is of fundamental importance as the repair techniques and materials vary widely, and note where failures occur and provide an explanation, with evidence, for that failure.
A clear recommendation for the repair of any fault is made outlining the method and materials where required.
Not all building survey reports are the same as you may have found out, as they are for various different purposes. A Home Report is an extremely brief snapshot of the condition of the property but without an examination beyond what is immediately visible. These surveys can typically be completed in under an hour and can cost between £600 and £1,200 or more plus VAT. Some companies offer Home Report surveys for as little as £199 and I have found they are probably just as (un)informative as the more expensive ones.
Home Reports are a necessary part of the current house-buying system but provide very little real information instead passing off that responsibility to so-called 'specialists' even though the Home Report surveyor, seldom a Building Surveyor and usually a valuation surveyor, should know better and be able to comment themselves on defects. It is usually a matter of mitigating risk where the surveying company doesn't want to provide an opinion in case they are held to account for it. Often, though, it is a matter of time=money and there is little scope for a large surveying firm to spend too much time on all the aspects of the Home Report documentation.
Where Heritage and Design Ltd has the advantage is having much lower costs than larger companies so can translate the cost of an hour long Home Report (sometimes less) to provide an extremely detailed examination of every part of the property (where reasonably accessible - and even sometimes not-so-reasonably) whether it is below floors or in roofspaces.
Reports can take up to two days to write after reviewing site notes and photographs. The main difference between a building surveyor and 'damp specialist' is that a building surveyor will provide impartial advice. Damp 'specialists', who are often neither independent (being members of the PCA), nor specialists anything, will try to persuade you that your home requires remedial works which they will then carry out. Damp 'specialists' are from all different backgrounds, some from trades but often not, and their only common link is having completed a 3-day PCA course on dampness!
Damp proofing is BIG business.
The abbreviated sample report (below right) shows the type of detail commonly contained in a report from Heritage and Design and the easy to follow language with explanations where this is unavoidable. The report can be used in different ways and can be targeted to suit your purpose.
The damp survey or building survey Heritage and Design Ltd provides is not for mortgage valuation, it is a bespoke, full and comprehensive examination of the fabric of your home which enables you to be more informed about your property and, more importantly, be able to ask your building professional the right questions before deciding to instruct work. That way you will have greater confidence that the work they undertake will be correct for your building and not just hiding symptoms.
The report is in plain English which will contain photographs of identified problem areas.
You can use it as a guide when deciding what to do first, with priorities given to each defect and recommendations for repair.
A full day is sometimes necessary to complete the survey. The time taken is dependent on the complexity and size of your property and will include an examination from roof to solum (below ground floor) and all points in-between - that is depending on availability of safe access and permission to lift fixed flooring. Fees are not related to the value of your property but are based on an estimate of the time it will take to carry out the examination and compile the report.
In order to discover the source of problems, a thorough examination of the property is needed, including understanding any previous work which may have contributed to the problems. Is there damage to roof coverings; flashings; are gutters flowing properly; are they damaged; loose; leaking; blocked; are chimneys vented; is flaunching and haunching complete and sound; are the mortar joints or render in good condition; windows including their junction with the building; condition of cills; ground levels; ventilation; drainage etc, etc, etc.... This is not an easy exercise and is only useful if undertaken by someone with the appropriate knowledge, training and experience!
If someone is in your house for half an hour and diagnoses rising damp without even looking outside - throw them out. It's that simple.
Building surveys from as little as £695.00 and defect (or dampness) surveys from £395.00 are available now in Swansea, Cardiff, Abergavenny, Monmouth, Newport, Barry, Chepstow, Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Stroud and all points in-between.
Surveys are now offered in Swansea, Cardiff, Neath, Carmarthen, Llanelli, Newport, Barry, Abergavenny, Cwmbran, Chepstow, Ross-on-Wye, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud, Cirencester, Bristol, Bath, Chippenham and surrounding areas.
The survey reports I produce are anywhere between 12 pages for a dampness report to over 20 or more pages long for a building survey report, depending on the type of property and complexity, with a depth of information which is provided no-where else that I know of. It proves the presence of any defects as well as providing sufficient detail and recommendations for their repair.
Compare that to the typical 'report' from a PCA affiliated (not independent) damp 'specialist' - sample below - or Home Report or even an RICS building survey......
It is NOT a simple exercise to discover the causes of dampness or other defects. Do NOT allow anyone to persuade you that it is, especially with a 'FREE' survey - it will be a QUOTE for abortive work and a report containing reference to nothing other than the base of the ground floor.
I now see companies like Wise Property Care charging to carry out a brief inspection but only giving you sight of their 'report' justifying the work if you pay extra or sign their contract to actually do the work but usually not actually producing it at all.
Determining the causes of problems in traditional properties takes experience and a full understanding, not just of construction, but of traditional materials and they way they work and, of course, the reasons they fail. That is the basis of building surveying. This cannot be learned in a 3-day seminar and a tick box exam which focuses mainly on health and safety for chemicals!
Companies who offer to carry out work are generally only interested in selling their product, not in improving yours.
If they don't persuade you that you need remedial work, they make no money.
A typical 'Report' from a damp specialist either diagnoses Rising Damp or Woodworm infestation or both. They offer no other comments of the defects in your property because they simply do not have the experience or the interest. They do not carry out building surveys, they don't inspect drainage, they don't excavate ground levels, they don't repair render or lime pointing, they don't install sub-floor ventilation, they don't repair mastic around windows........ they only sell damp proofing products!
Often 'reports' from national companies are free. But don't all rush to call them up as I was also asked to inspect the same property and, after a building survey, found numerous defects externally - which were never inspected - and certainly NOT rising damp which was clearly fraudulently misdiagnosed.
A Director from the company requested a meeting with me after this was publicised and apologised but how many others are being duped every day?
A proper inspection by a real building surveyor revealed the truth. Read on......
Not the usual garb for a building surveyor to wear. No silk tie or polished brogues for a start, disgraceful.
I consider this the only way to provide a good service. Get in and up close to the typical and usual source of failures to better understand the causes and recommend remedies. We can all assume defects below floors but assumptions are what lead most people to obtaining a building survey in the first place.
Is it a 'full building survey'? Well, it is 'as full as reasonably practicable'. This means that every effort will be made, subject to permission from the owner, to access as much of the structure as possible.
Heritage and Design Limited is a registered company no.SC280108 with its registered office a 24 York Street, Ayr, KA8 8AZ
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