Defect Specific Reports

Specific DefectsIn addition to property surveys, RMA Surveyors Ltd undertake Defect Specific Reports. Each written report provides a clear, comprehensive and professional opinion regarding a particular problem (or ‘defect’) within a building.

In recent months, RMA Surveyors Ltd have visited a property in Thatcham to inspect a sagging roof, a site in Didcot to investigate cracking and building movement and a property in Hungerford to assess a damp issue.

Defect specific investigations and reports encapsulate the specific materials, construction and associated issues surrounding a specific building defect. Reports can be provided in a formal written report or in a letter or email format depending on the client’s requirements.

Specification for reinstatement and an estimate for repair costs can also be included.

If you have a concern regarding your property, get in touch for advice. Call us on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.

As chartered surveyors, RMA Surveyors Ltd are members of and are regulated by the governing body RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). As such, any client can be guaranteed a high professional standard of inspection and report.

Homebuyers Survey finds damp

HBR dampWhilst undertaking a homebuyers survey in Newbury, our surveyor discovered damp to the base of internal and external walls and damp also to the ground floor throughout the property.

The exact cause of damp could not be determined, although our suspicions were that the damp was caused by a damaged or failed damp proof membrane to the floor. Other possibilities included buried service pipes within the floor screed, which could be leaking.

It is very common for service pipes buried in screed prior to the 1970’s to not be properly protected. Copper pipes can react with the cement within floor screeds causing corrosion; this process is accelerated where moisture is present. In some cases, where we have found similar problems and pipes have been exposed, the copper pipes are extremely thin due to this corrosive process and prone to leaking.

If you have any concerns regarding damp or are experience any similar problems please contact us on 01635 579208 or use the form below.

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Discovering Dry Rot

Dry RotWhilst undertaking a refurbishment of some flats in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, RMA Surveyors Ltd noted in the ground floor shop, beneath the flat, a large yellow fruiting body.

On closer inspection and pulling back the floor covering, we discovered an extensive and well established infestation of dry rot (Serpula lacrymans).

Although not part of our original instruction, we were able to inform our client of the presence of rot, and were duly instructed to oversee strip-out treatment and reinstatement of the shop.

The rot was associated with a long term damp problem. The affected floor was a timber parquet floor, we provided advice to the client as to how the damp was ingressing into the property and delivered a solution to deal with the damp.

Although there was additional cost in dealing with the rot and damp, we managed to save our client a considerable amount of future repair. If a dry rot infestation is left unnoticed, it can spread to other parts of the building, potentially creating a far greater remediation bill.

If you have a problem with rot or damp please contact us for the appropriate advice. Call us on 01635 579208 or complete the form below.

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Building Surveys Provide Value for Money

Damp Meter ReadingWe recently undertook a building survey in Newbury to a basement flat.

The property was subject to quite a bit of internal damp, which would be the responsibility of any incoming purchaser to resolve, incurring all associated costs.

Living in a property while damp treatments are being undertaken is sometimes not practical, particularly in a small space, such as a flat. So there are logistical implications, as well as financial ones, to be taken into consideration.

The property in question was a converted town house, which had various defects externally indicating that no recent maintenance works had been undertaken, and there was unlikely to have been a maintenance management plan in place.

Potentially, the client was taking on a considerable financial outlay with this property purchase. By instructing us to carry out the building survey prior to purchase, we were able to highlight the potential of these costs, providing our client with value for money and peace of mind in undertaking the purchase. In similar past cases, clients have walked away from taking on such a liability.

If you’re looking to purchase a property, call us for some advice on whether a building survey or Homebuyers Report would be most suited to your potential purchase. Or simply call for a quote. Contact us using the form below or on 01635 579208.

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Lack of Ventilation leads to Mildew

Lack of ventilationRecently we undertook an RICS Homebuyer’s Survey in Reading and found mildew staining to the underside of felt and roof timbers. It indicated that the roof ventilation was not adequate, causing moist air to condense on the cold surface on the underside of the roof covering.
This defect is more and more common as building owners are taking advantage of government incentives to improve energy performance in properties, adding additional insulation in their roof spaces. However, if insulation installers are not careful they can block up gaps between rafters at the eaves and prevent the cross flow of ventilation through the roof void.
Ventilation in the roof space is important as it is required to ensure roof timbers are protected from such moisture and the resulting consequences.
A defect like this is not costly to remedy but needs immediate attention to prevent damage to the timber roof structure. Potentially we saved our clients thousands of pounds in future repairs were this defect left unnoticed.
If you’re in need of some advice on a property defect, a Homebuyer survey or building survey, contact us on 01635 579 208.

When Flood Water Recedes

Flood waters in residential BerkshireRMA Surveyors Ltd have visited many properties over the last few months to assess flood water damage and work with home owners to reinstate their property.

About 6,500 homes have been flooded in the UK since December, according to this interesting BBC article, which takes a look at what happens after the flood water recedes.

If you are concerned about any damage to your property, then enlist the services of a Chartered Building Surveyor.

The reinstatement process can be long and involved. Many factors can come into play that delay or frustrate the process, particularly where there are so many claims being processed concurrently.

In our experience it is better to have an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor appointed to steer you through this lengthy and sometimes frustrating process.

If you need the assistance of a qualified and experienced Chartered Building Surveyor please call on 01635 579 208 or contact us via our contact page.

For further information read Five Steps to Flood Reinstatement.

Problem with your Property? RMA Surveyors can help!

Impact damge to houseProperty investment is expensive. Remedial works for untreated defects can be costly and can affect the saleability of the property. Therefore, it’s important to keep your property in good condition.

If you notice a potential problem, don’t leave it, get a professional to make an assessment on your behalf. The cost of a Chartered Building Surveyor’s fee may save you thousands of pounds.

If you’re unsure how serious a building defect may be, seek advice from a Chartered Building Surveyor who can visit, inspect, report and advice you, provide remedial advice and put your mind at ease.

Recently RMA Surveyors Ltd has undertaken Defect Inspections to assess a variety of defects from damp, condensation, dry rot, flooding, cracking in walls, potential subsidence and concerns over construction works to extensions.

When you instruct the services of RMA Surveyors Ltd, a surveyor will attend the property and make a full assessment of the problem. Following this inspection a Defect Report will be written, detailing the specific materials, construction, implications and other associated issues regarding the building defect or defects.

If further advice regarding reinstatement is required we will also be pleased to assist.

For more information, visit the Surveys page or call 01635 579 208.

5 Steps to Flood Reinstatement

RICS Guide to floodingThe Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has issued helpful advice in the wake of the recent flooding throughout the UK. A copy of which can be downloaded here.

Unfortunately, for many, the flood waters have far from receded. Reports of more rain this week, and the potential for rivers to rise further, is unwelcome news. Once flood waters do eventually dissipate the process of reinstatement can be a long one.

Many people have been affected and are asking themselves, “How do we get back to normal?”

These five steps chart the process back to normality.

STEP 1 – THE LOSS ADJUSTER

If your building is insured against flood damage and you have been seriously affected, you will usually have a loss adjuster appointed who will deal with your claim on behalf of your insurance company. They are the main point of contact in regards to the claim, and will make the decisions as to what can and can’t be allowed under the policy. A loss adjuster should undertake an initial visit between three and five days from receiving notification of a claim. This may be longer in peak levels, such as now.

STEP 2 – THE PROJECT MANAGER/SURVEYOR

In claims where the cost of reinstatement to your property is likely to be expensive, a project manager with specialist building knowledge is often appointed. The project manager is usually a surveyor, and both terms are used interchangeably. It is their role to specify the extent of the necessary remedial works, send the specification to different contractors to get the best price (often referred to as a competitive tender), appoint the contractor and oversee works through to completion. They will liaise with both you and the loss adjuster at all critical stages of the building reinstatement process.

IT’S YOUR PROPERTY – IT’S YOUR CHOICE

Some loss adjuster companies often seek to appoint their own in-house surveyors to project manage. The loss adjuster’s fee is usually set very low; profits are therefore generated through their in-house surveyor’s fees. Their in-house surveyors will only ask ‘approved’ building contractors to quote for the work. The building contractors sometimes pay these large loss adjusting companies a percentage fee for each project they successfully procure, in order to remain on the ‘approved’ list.

Because of this, we have found some loss adjusters from some large loss adjusting firms can be obstinate in approving the appointment of anyone other than their in-house surveyors. When an independent surveyor becomes involved, the loss adjuster’s company does not generate any additional fees. It is very important to know that you are free to appoint your own independent Chartered Building Surveyor to act on your behalf. You are in no way obliged to use a surveyor appointed to you by your loss adjuster. It is your property and you decide who works on your behalf.

Some in-house surveyors working for some large loss adjusting firms are overworked, juggling over forty projects at any one time, and over seventy projects in peak crisis periods; whilst covering a wide geographical area. These in-house teams are often not regulated by a professional body such as the RICS.
Flood waters in residential Berkshire

STEP 3 – ASSESSING THE DAMAGE & INITIAL RESTORATION

Flood waters can contain sewage, waste and the accompanying bacteria and disease. At the same time as appointing a surveyor your loss adjuster should appoint a restoration company to assist in the initial clean up. They will remove all soft furnishings and flood damaged contents and take an inventory of flood damaged items. These items will be covered under your contents insurance and will be treated as a separate claim from your buildings insurance. The restoration company should also install fans, dehumidifiers and heaters to assist the drying of your property.

As well as the obvious water damage to the visible elements of a property, unseen damage may also have occurred. For example, all service installations should be thoroughly checked and any voids, such as those in timber stud partitions should be exposed, to allow these areas to thoroughly dry out. Damage can also occur to other elements of the property while the property is drying out, due to the high humidity levels and differential rates of drying to timber elements, caused by dehumidifiers. Plaster often needs to be removed from walls, where it has been contaminated with bacteria, soluble minerals and salts in the ground water. A building contractor is also frequently appointed at this early stage, to strip out such items as plasterboard, kitchen units and other elements to assist the drying of the structure.

This stage can take anything between two weeks to over two months, depending on the extent of damage and the approach to drying adopted. The restoration contractor will return frequently to monitor drying and empty dehumidifiers. They will provide regular updates to your surveyor and loss adjuster.

STEP 4 – SPECIFICATION & TENDER PERIOD

While the property dries out, the surveyor will provide a schedule of works detailing the extent of the reinstatement required. They will provide a cost estimate of works to the loss adjuster. This can take a week to ten days. The schedule of works will then be issued to a few different building contractors. A two to four week period is usually required for the contractors to return a price (or tender) for works.

Once tender returns are received the surveyor will report back to the loss adjuster, making a recommendation as to which building contractor should be appointed. When the loss adjuster has agreed the costs the project manager will then appoint the building contractor on your behalf.

STEP 5 – THE CONTRACT PERIOD

You may already be in temporary alternative accommodation or need to move out of your property whilst repairs are in progress, which will be a matter of negotiation with the loss adjuster.

There is usually a mobilisation period of around four weeks from appointing the building contractor, allowing the contractor to plan resources and labour. Reinstatement works can then begin. This can take anywhere between six to eight weeks on a typical domestic claim.

The whole process can take much longer where the building is larger or more complex. For example if a building is listed, approvals will be required from the local authority, which can take eight weeks from the date the application is processed.

THE SURVEYOR’S ROLE

The surveyor will oversee the contract. Providing valuations, issuing instructions, certifying works as they proceed and agreeing works are completed satisfactorily. The surveyor will report back to the loss adjuster at key stages agreeing interim payments be made to the contractor.

The work should be undertaken under the framework of a formal building contract, such as the JCT minor works form of contract. A contract defines the duties of you (the client), the contractor and the surveyor.

The reinstatement process can be long and involved. Many factors can come into play that delay or frustrate the process, particularly where there are so many claims being processed concurrently. In our experience it is better to have an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor appointed to steer you through this lengthy and sometimes frustrating process. If you need the assistance of a qualified and experienced Chartered Building Surveyor please call on 01635 579 208 or contact us via our contact page.

Is your property affected by flood damage?

If so, get advice from a Chartered Building Surveyor.

A chartered building surveyor is an expert in buildings. Their professional knowledge and expertise as to how buildings are constructed, and how they perform, can assist you in a swift and satisfactory reinstatement of your flood damaged premises.

If you have water entering your building then RMA Chartered Building Surveyors can undertake an initial assessment, report the damage to your insurance loss adjuster, specify, tender and oversee works to their conclusion. At all times we can be your first point of contact and liaise with your loss adjuster directly in the reinstatement of your building.

Call RMA Surveyors Ltd on 01635 579 208 for advice regarding flood or water damage and we’ll be happy to help.

Protect your home against flooding

IMG_0810This is the advise being given to residents across Berkshire.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for rain in the district today (Wednesday), with 15-25mm of rain expected to fall within the yellow zone between 9am and 9pm.

There is also a yellow warning for wind in place between 10am today and 3am on Thursday. For more information visit: http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/2014/more-rain-to-fall-in-west-berkshire-tomorrow

If your home has been affected by the floods or water damage, call RMA Surveyors Ltd for advice.