Building Survey – How long will it take?

Building surveyHow long will the building survey take? Is a common question that we are asked during most enquiries. 

In short, the time taken on a building survey depends on the property. The size of the property, the age of the property, its construction, the defects we may find and the extent of furnishings and carpets which can determine our access, are all factors to take into consideration.

 

 

However, we’ve put together a little guide below to give you an indication:

  • Homebuyers Report – 2 bedroom, recently built flat: 1.5-2 hours
  • Homebuyers Report – 3 bedroom, semi-detached house: 2-3 hours
  • Homebuyers Report/ Building survey – 4 bedroom detached house: 4-5 hours
  • Building Survey – 5 bedroom, detached house with garage: 5-6 hours
  • Building Survey – 5 bedroom, listed building with outhouse & garage: 6+ hours

At RMA Surveyors, we aim to deliver all our reports within 5 working days of surveying the property, if not before.

Take a look at our Property Surveys page to see what would suit your requirements.

If you’re in need of a Building Survey or Homebuyers Report, contact RMA Surveyors on 01635 579208.

We can advise you on whether you require a Homebuyers Report or Building Survey and provide you with a quote for our services.

RMA Surveyors Ltd are based in Newbury, Berkshire. We provide a wide range of building surveying services in Newbury, West Berkshire and the surrounding areas. Get in touch for professional advice. We are an independent company and take pride in the fact that we provide honest, impartial and credible advice to our clients. We are members of, registered with and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to ensure we maintain high professional standards.

 

 

Homebuyers Report Uncovers Serious Drain Defect

Homebuyers report discovers partially blocked drain

Drain partially blocked by tree roots

While undertaking a Homebuyers Survey on a four bedroom detached house in Highclere, RMA Surveyors, Newbury, highlighted a list of defects where further investigation would be required.

Notably, we found evidence of a partial blockage to the drain, believed to be caused by tree roots. We reported this back to our client in the Homebuyer Report.

We recommended the client commission a CCTV survey of the drain runs, as this would provide a clear diagnosis of any problem.

The client had the drains checked by a drainage specialist, who discovered there were bush and tree roots present in all of the drain runs.

As a consequence, insurers would only provide buildings insurance if subsidence was specifically excluded from the policy. This was a big risk for our client as we also noted some evidence of subsidence to a subsidiary structure at the premises within the same survey. The insurers stipulated that all drain repairs must be undertaken and a further structural survey be carried out prior to any policy being agreed.

As a result, the Mortgage company refused to lend and their mortgage offer was withdrawn. This defect was not picked up by the mortgage valuation survey as these types of survey are very limited in scope.

Why Get a Homebuyers Report?

By commissioning a Homebuyers Report, the client saved valuable time and considerable future expense and inconvenience.

It is important to remember that a mortgage valuation is not a survey. It is undertaken on behalf of the lender, not the purchaser and only serves to determine whether or not the property provides enough security for the bank to lend upon.

This case proves that a Homebuyers Survey and Report does save our client’s money. A property purchase is one of the biggest investments you will make, and commissioning a Homebuyers Report or Building Survey will provide peace of mind that the investment is a solid one.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a property and require a Homebuyers Report or Building Survey, please get in touch with RMA Surveyors Ltd for a quote. Call us on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.

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.

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.

Homebuyer Report identifies Movement

ground movement on buildingWe undertook a Homebuyer Report on a starter home in Thatcham. The property was constructed in the 1990s. During the survey we noted that there was a pattern of mortar repair to the outside walls that suggested some kind of ground movement or subsidence had occurred in the past. We identified this in the RICS Homebuyer Report, and reported it back to our client.

Our client asked their legal advisor to investigate this matter further. It was determined that the property had been repaired previously due to heave, caused by the removal of a tree in the front garden. The repairs were made in the last 10 years.

Our client reported that they were having difficulty trying to obtain building insurance as a result of the findings. It can also be a difficulty in securing a mortgage where ground movement is identified at a property.

We were pleased to be involved and if it were not for our expertise and involvement at this stage prior to purchase, our client could have taken on a potential liability.

Although not as detailed as a Building Survey, a Homebuyer Report will identify any significant defects, such as historical subsidence or ground related movement to buildings, and will put the purchaser in a far better position so that they understand the extent of their liability prior to proceeding with the purchase.

We would thoroughly recommend that no matter what the age of the property that you consider instructing a Chartered Building Surveyor to conduct a Building Survey or Homebuyers Report prior to exchange of contracts.

For further information or advice, please contact us on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.

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.

Building Survey Boundary Issue

Retaining Wall & buddleiaWe recently undertook a building survey in Reading; the property was an end of terrace Victorian house. The building itself was in moderate condition, with only minor repairs required, for example some re-pointing of masonry and repair of flashings to chimneys.

The property was on a sloping site, with a retaining wall defining one of the boundaries. The retaining wall was significantly damaged by buddleia (commonly known as the butterfly bush) which was growing through the wall and had misplaced the masonry.

We identified this to our client and advised that they would need to check the ownership of this boundary.

The implication was that as the owner they would need to have the wall repaired themselves, incurring a cost and an agreement with neighbouring properties, from where the works would need to be undertaken. If it was not a boundary belonging to the house, they would need to persuade the owners of the retaining wall to undertake the works themselves.

Should the retaining wall collapse through structural failure it would pose a risk to the building itself and potentially to neighbouring properties, so it was an item that required attention.

As a prospective buyer, identifying issues like this is not easily done, especially when one is caught up in the excitement of taking on a new property. Although our advice can be often be sobering, it can also prevent a nasty hangover from occurring in the future.

If you need advice regarding any structural matters concerning retaining or Party Walls, or would like a quote for a building survey, please contact us on 01635 579208 or by using the below form.

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Building Survey found no Chimney Breast

Chimney StacksWhilst undertaking a building survey in Reading, Berkshire, we identified that a chimney breast to a shared chimney stack (or party stack) had been removed by a previous occupant.

The removal of the chimney breast will have required permission from the Local Authority Building Control Department and the person undertaking the work would have had to demonstrate to Building Control that the method of supporting the retained chimney breast in the roof space was structurally adequate. This would usually involve a design from a structural engineer to demonstrate that the method of restraint had been properly calculated.

Additionally, because this is a party structure, the work will likely have required agreement under the Party Wall Act and there should be record of such agreements available for inspection. Without such an agreement in place, the building owner may be liable for repairs to the neighbouring property in association with any structural defects in relation to the removal of the chimney breast.

In such situations, liability is not always clear and the fees of solicitor’s and construction professionals can lead to spiralling costs. These matters can be all dealt with prior to exchange of contracts through a legal advisor.

Were this item not identified prior to the sale of the property, our client could have taken on an expensive liability.

If you’re in need of a Building Survey or Homebuyers Report please contact us on 01635 579208 or use the form below.

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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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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.