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.

Building Survey vs Homebuyer Report

House SearchBased in Berkshire, RMA Surveyors Ltd have recently surveyed properties in Newbury, Reading, Wokingham and Windsor.

When making an initial enquiry for a survey on a property, we are often asked what the difference is between a Homebuyer Report and a Building Survey. Our simple response is that while both involve a survey of the property, a Homebuyer Report details all the essential elements of a building but goes into less detail than a Building Survey.

If you would like to read more about the details of each report, take a look at our Property Surveys page.

As chartered surveyors, RMA Surveyors Ltd always provides professional advice and will recommend which type of survey best suits the proposed property. By analysing the age, type (e.g. semi-detached or bungalow) and whether there are any extensions to the property, we can determine which survey would best outline the condition of the building.

If you are unsure which type of survey would be most suitable for the type of property that you are intending to purchase, please contact us and we shall be happy to discuss this with you.

For a Homebuyer Report or Building Survey quote, please call RMA Surveyors Ltd on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.

Insurance Reinstatement Repair

Damp floorWe recently undertook an insurance reinstatement repair contract in Compton, Berkshire.

The semi-detached property had suffered a central heating leak within the floor screed. It could not be determined how long the leak had been established but the whole ground floor screed was saturated. The client appointed us to liaise with the insurance company and their appointed loss adjuster.

We visited the site, assessed the damage and advised the loss adjuster of the works required. We drew together a schedule of works, which we issued for competitive tender. We ensured a contractor was appointed to undertake the works and attended regular site meetings to ensure works were completed within the four week contract period. Our role included liaising regularly with the client to ensure that decisions regarding finishes were made in good time to prevent any delay to the contract and to enable the client to move back from their alternative accommodation as quickly as possible.

Overall, the issue was dealt with within a four month period, from the date the loss was discovered to completion. Our involvement in this project reduced the cost of the claim to the insurer, ensured that the property was sufficiently restored to its pre-loss condition, and enabled the client to be satisfied that works had been undertaken and specified properly.

During the contract period, we were also able to incorporate some amendments and alterations to the ground floor space that the client desired and we were able to clearly separate and demonstrate to the Insurer which works were part of the insured loss and which were undertaken privately for the client.

On completion we certified all works and valued them and made sure the contractor was duly paid. We are pleased to have been able to provide our services and without our involvement it is highly likely that works would not have been completed in the time and to the quality to which they were.

If you’re in need of a Chartered Surveyor to help oversee some insurance reinstatement works, contact RMA Surveyors Ltd on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form and we’ll get in touch.

Traditional Building Pitfalls

ricsRMA Surveyors Ltd, Newbury have been reading an interesting discussion on RICS regarding the care and repair work of Victorian and Edwardian age buildings and the pitfalls often made that result in ‘inherent defects’ in later life.

RMA Surveyors Ltd are a proud member of RICS, with experience in dealing with traditional buildings and period properties. If you’re looking for advice from a local, trusted chartered surveyor in Berkshire, please call us or complete the form with your query.

Read the full article or see the snapshot below:

The top 10 inappropriate works commonly carried out on traditional buildings

  1. Replacing original good quality sash windows with inappropriate modern aluminium or PVC-U casements and stripping out original period doors.
  2. Unnecessarily injecting chemical damp-proof courses (or injecting them incompetently), and re-plastering or rendering main walls with cement-based materials rather than traditional lime, thereby  trapping damp in the walls.
  3. Encouraging damp, rot and beetle infestation by blocking ventilation to floors and roofs, and by allowing high ground levels (such as flower beds) to build up against external walls.
  4. Removal of chimney breasts or load-bearing internal spine walls without providing adequate support to the remaining masonry above.
  5. Neglecting badly eroded mortar joints to external masonry, allowing damp to penetrate and frost damage to occur.
  6. Re-pointing walls with cement mortar that prevents walls from ‘breathing’, and re-pointing in visually dominant ‘show off’ styles (such as protruding ‘weatherstruck’ pointing).
  7. Botched repairs to flashings to stacks and roofs with short-life materials such as self-adhesive tapes or mortar fillets.
  8. Failure to provide enhanced structural support to roof structures where original lightweight slate coverings have been replaced with heavier concrete tiles.
  9. Not lining old flues before lighting fires or using appliances, and failing to cap and ventilate disused flues.
  10.  Weakening floor joists with excessive cutting for cable and pipe runs.

RICS members have a pivotal role to play in both these areas to ensure that the future of our important stock of traditional buildings does not continue to be carelessly endangered.

Listed Building Repairs

Wood Boring BeetleWe were privileged enough to undertake a building survey of a Grade II Listed building in Aldermaston. The property was built originally in the 1600’s with further extensions and additions added in the 1800’s and 1900’s. The original property comprised of a timber frame structure with facing brick work in fill panels, the later additions were formed in solid masonry construction.

The property had undergone extensive refurbishment during the 1800’s and the mid 1900’s and additional upgrading and repairs and addition of services had been undertaken more recently.

Many of the more recent repairs had not been undertaken in sympathy with the original construction. Most significantly many repairs had been undertaken using a cement mortar, where lime mortar would have been originally used.

The internal faces of the timber frame walls were lined with wattle and daub and we found evidence of fresh wood boring beetle damage to the wattles and staves where the wall had been exposed to prolonged high levels of damp. Gypsum plasters had been used internally, originally a lime plaster would have been used and evidence of which was visible where gypsum plaster was coming away from the wall. Modern gypsum plasters are less impervious than lime and earth plasters and gypsum is hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs water from the air.

We also found damage to lintels buried within the wall which were also affected by damp and excessive vegetation to walls, some of which was growing through the walls. The walls had been rendered with a cement render, which was preventing evaporation from the wall and water was accumulating in the walls and allowing the structure to become saturated. The cement repointing was also having a similar affect and affecting the exposed timber within the wall.

Unfortunately these defects are extremely common with Listed Buildings where contractors and specifier’s who do not understand the performance of traditional buildings have undertaken repairs in good faith but have caused more extensive damage to the structure as a result.

Often such repairs can be more expensive to remediate as materials such as strong cement mortars can damage brick work when removed, leading to further work and repair.

If you have a Listed property, or you’re thinking about purchasing a Listed building, and would like some advice regarding appropriate remediation and repairs, please contact us on 01635 579208 or complete the form with any queries.

Asbestos Concerns

One common item we often raise in our building surveys and homebuyer reports is the potential for asbestos to be present in textured, decorative coatings, such as Artex to ceilings and wall surfaces internally.

Following guidance by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/ and the Asbestos regulations, we have an obligation to make mention of potentially asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos encapsulated in textured, decorative coatings is often only in very small amounts and provides no risk, unless it is disturbed and the fibres become airborne.  Textured, decorative coatings installed after the year 2000 are unlikely to contain any asbestos, as the use of asbestos was prohibited after this date.

RMA Surveyors Ltd are not asbestos surveyors; however, we are trained to identify potential asbestos containing materials. We have also worked alongside licenced asbestos testing and removals contractors to identify the presence of asbestos and arrange for its safe removal.

It should be noted that just because asbestos is present in a material, does not mean that the material is inherently unsafe but it should be left undisturbed, to avoid the asbestos fibres becoming airborne, at which point they do become hazardous. Professional advice should be sought.

For information and advice regarding asbestos in textured, decorative finishes, further reading is available on the HSE website.

If you have any asbestos related queries that you would like to discuss with RMA Surveyors Ltd, please contact us on 01635 579208 or by completing our ‘Contact Us Today’ form.

Project Managers for Repairs

Project Management. Repair & Redec Block of FlatsRMA Surveyors Ltd acted as project managers for an external maintenance and repairs programme to a block of flats in Cockfosters, London.

The contract included roof repairs; including repairs to parapet walls and the repair of roof coverings, maintenance to external doors and windows; including repairs and redecoration, providing insulation to tank rooms located on the roof, internal plaster repairs to common areas and redecoration and masonry repairs; including crack stitching and repointing repairs to arches and lintels above openings.

The contract value was for £70,000; we provided specification, tendered the works and oversaw the works in two phases. Unfortunately the initial contractor went into liquidation between phases, so we were required to re-tender the works and oversee phase two using a different contractor.

We saw the work through to completion, awarded final certification and ensured the work was undertaken to a satisfactory standard.

If you require a project manager for any similar repairs, redecoration or refurbishment contracts, please contact us using the form below or call us on 01635 579208.

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  • If you are requesting a survey quotation please provide the address and postcode of the property.
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Project Manager for Fire Reinstatement

Melted LightbulbRMA Surveyors Ltd have recently been instructed to act as project managers for the restoration of a fire damaged flat in West Ilsley, Berkshire.

The property has been significantly damaged by fire within a couple of rooms, while the rest of the property has been heavily damaged by residual smoke and water, where the fire was extinguished.

Our instruction required us to:

  • appoint and oversee the initial clean up and restoration – cleaning smoke residue, removing items such as white goods and furniture, cleaning surfaces and removing floor coverings and soft furnishings;
  • advise the client to have the electrical services isolated, as they had been badly damaged by the fire;
  • and draw up a specification and schedule of works to issue to tendering contractors.

Once a contractor has been selected, we will be responsible for overseeing the works through to completion. This will include regular site visits, liaison with the building contractor and the client, valuing and certifying works at key stages, liaising and reporting back to the loss adjustor and dealing with any ad hoc queries as required.

When works are completed we will certify and sign off the work. Works will be tendered and executed under the JCT Minor Works Contract. The fees for our appointment as project managers are covered by the insurance policy.

Appointing a project manager can help to reduce the stress that such potentially distressing situations can cause. As Chartered Surveyors, acting as project managers, we are able to use our professional knowledge and expertise in order to facilitate a swift and effective remediation process.

RMA Surveyors Ltd are highly experienced in insurance reinstatement work and as such we provide a service that is cost effective in regards to managing spend for the insurance claim and one that gives the client peace of mind that the project is being overseen and undertaken by professionals.

If you have been affected by fire, flood or other insured risk, please contact us on 01635 579208 or by completing the form below.

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  • If you are requesting a survey quotation please provide the address and postcode of the property.
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Flood Insurance Reinstatement

Flood waters in residential BerkshireWe are currently overseeing an insurance reinstatement of a flood damaged property in Kingsclere, Berkshire.

We first became involved when our client was having difficulty in getting the loss adjustor from their insurance company to assess the property. We were asked to supply a defect diagnosis report to assess the cause of the water damage to their building.

We undertook the survey and produced the report which we supplied to the loss adjustor, who had not understood the gravity of the technical failure. As a result, we were able to explain that the insurance claim was likely to be larger than the loss adjustor had orginally anticipated and that a larger scale reinstatement would be necessary.

We were duely appointed by our clients to undertake and oversee the project management of the reinstatement, which is currently on site.

If you have damage to your property due to flood, fire or other insurance related loss, please contact us as we may be able to provide our professional assistance.

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Fill in the below form to contact us today.
  • If you are requesting a survey quotation please provide the address and postcode of the property.
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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.