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.

What Type of Survey?

Terraced housingBuying a new property is something most people do once or twice in their lifetimes. It is therefore common not to know what type of property survey is best for you. There are two main types: a Homebuyers Report and a Building Survey.

To ensure peace of mind in receiving the most suitable report, RMA Surveyors Ltd will ask a few questions relating to the property, such as its age, type, location, size, outbuildings, cost, listed status etc. From this assessment, RMA Surveyors Ltd will provide a recommendation to proceed with either a Homebuyers Report or a Building Survey.

What’s the difference?
A Homebuyers Report is a cost effective method of reducing risk for the purchaser. The Report provides the potential purchaser with enough information to make an informed decision whether to proceed with the purchase. The report details all visible building elements both internally and externally, as well as services and the grounds. Homebuyers Reports are most suited to traditionally constructed inter and post war houses.

A Building Survey (previously called a Structural Survey) is a more detailed report. The surveyor will undertake a more thorough inspection of the premises. The Building Survey Report provides the potential purchaser with an in depth analysis of the property’s construction and any visible, potential or inherent building defects. The Building Survey costs more than the Homebuyer Report because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property and also informs about future maintenance and repair liability. Building Surveys are more tailored to older, more bespoke types of property including listed buildings and non-traditional types of construction.

Why get a Survey?
A survey will help you to make a reasoned and informed decision on whether to go ahead and purchase the property. A survey report from RMA Surveyors Ltd may even enable you to renegotiate the sale price of the property. The cost of the survey will pay for itself either as a tool for negotiation or by providing peace of mind that you’re making a sound investment.

For more information of what each report will provide, visit our Surveys page.

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.

More Rain Coming. West Berkshire braced for further flooding

Filling Sandbags at Chieveley West Berkshire

Filling Sandbags at Chieveley West Berkshire

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service have been tweeting that they are very busy with flood related incidents, including a rescue from a house in Ouseley Road, Wraysbury. The Windsor Observer reports that 20,000 sandbags are to be distributed to properties in the Datchet and Wraysbury area. More sandbags are being filled in Chieveley as West Berkshire braces itself for more heavy rain.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from flooding and feel a little overwhelmed as to how you will get back to normal please contact us. It is worth remembering your insurance policy usually allows you to appoint your own Chartered Building Surveyor to project management reinstatement works on your behalf. In our experience flood victims can become further stressed by the flood repairs process; having to deal with overworked, under resourced insurance loss adjusters and their in-house surveyors. In periods where many properties are affected these individuals are often difficult to contact and do not have adequate time to devote to their clients.

We are qualified and experienced in flood reinstatement works and we never take on more work than we can manage. We will provide you with peace of mind and ensure your property is returned back to normal as swiftly as possible. We will liaise directly with your loss adjuster, so you don’t have to.

What is Woodworm?

Wood boring insect flight holes in roof rafter

Wood boring insect flight holes in roof rafter

Damage caused by that commonly referred to as woodworm is actually caused by a beetle larvae. These larvae hatch from eggs laid on the outer surface of timber, where once hatched they burrow into the wood, creating tunnels as they feast.

It can take up to five years for the grubs to reach maturity. Before which they form a pupae eventually emerging as beetles and leaving characteristic flight holes in the timber surface.

Timber damage from wood boring beetle should not always be cause for alarm. For instance some larvae can only feed on damp timber. Once the cause of damp has been rectified the food source, and thus the larvae, will be stopped. In some cases the pest may have been present in the timber prior to construction and the process of sawing, drying and treatment will have killed any larvae leaving only residual damage as evidence of their existence.

The type of timber, size of flight holes, type of dust, or “frass”, left behind and condition of affected timber are all indicators of the type of species and likely damage that can be expected.

In cases where beetle larvae are active they have the ability to cause structural damage and remedial insecticidal treatment is often required.
Damage can be caused to sapwood (the outer rings where sap rises in a tree) and heartwood (the inner rings or ‘heart’). Darker heartwood damage is less common due to the presence of chemicals acting as a natural repellent. Heartwood damage is considered serious as the structural integrity of timber is greatly reduced when heartwood is attacked.

The death watch beetle is considered a particular menace as it feeds off both heartwood and sapwood.

The beetle most commonly referred to as woodworm is the Common Furniture Beetle (Anobium Punctatum). This beetle’s larvae are found to be present in sapwoods of both softwoods and European hardwoods. Infestations are common throughout the UK. Attack is rare in dry wood and modern timber panels such as plywood. It is most common when timber is damp. Where timber is exposed to good central heating this type of larvae usually dies out. Unheated and humid areas of properties such poorly ventilated roof and sub floor voids are most at risk. The larvae live for 2-5 years. Tunnels are numerous and close knit. Bore holes are circular and up to 2mm in diameter. Beetles emerge in late Spring and Summer.

Although treatment can be undertaken through drying out of timber, insecticidal treatment of live infestation is often recommended in order to swiftly arrest the damage.

Property Surveys – worth there weight in gold

In the excitement of buying your first home extra costs such as a building survey or home buyers report can often be overlooked.

As a result getting a survey that assesses the property’s condition can often be omitted on cost grounds. A survey is the most cost effective fee you will spend when buying a home. Armed with a survey, prospective buyers either have a tool to renegotiate or peace of mind that the property is sound.

First-time buyers fees checklist – the costs you need to think about before buying a property | This is Money.

A Full Range of Resedential Surveys

View our updated building surveying page.

Do We Need Another 1930's House Building Boom?

1930's semi detached houses1930's semi detached housesAn article published by the Guardian proposes that a 1930’s style housing boom may be the key to boosting the economy.

The article states that 1930’s Britain was the first country to come off the gold standard. As such it was able to devalue the currency, assisting manufacturer’s exports and allowing the interest rate to be cut to 2% for a period of almost 20 years. The article cites that this laid the grounds for the private sector driven residential construction boom which helped the country out of the economic depression.

The article notes that whilst today’s interest rate is at an all time low, our economic recovery has been protracted.

Clearly, our modern economic landscape is very different from the 1930’s. The article recognises we are a more consumer and service driven economy and far removed from the primarily industrial economy of the post industrial revolutions.

What the article doesn’t make light of is that the size and scope of the 1930’s industry massively supported the construction sector. Innovations and materials were abundant and a transient skilled and semi-skilled labour market was available.

The demise in UK based manufacturing; the deskilling of the workforce, through the erosion of apprenticeships and lean production methods makes it difficult to apply the same 1930’s template to today’s economy.

The article states:

Open-quoteGovernment policy today has the avowed intent of pushing up asset prices, which is good news for the haves but not so for the have nots.Close-Quote

The article goes onto cite a report by the Centre for Cities. Which argues that funding stagnant developments in towns and cities where there is high housing demand, such as Reading, would provide immediate economic growth. In areas where there is less housing demand refurbishment of existing run down developments is a better route to economic stimulus.

Government policy needs to be decisive to support a massive building program. Compared to 1930’s Britain there is less land, tighter planning regulation and a great deal of uncertainty as to what interest rates will do in the forthcoming months. Government incentives that meet these issues head-on are thin on the ground. For example there are no large scale tax incentives to encourage large scale development and a limited government targets for building.

Ultimately the article recognises the central issue that prevents the government supporting a major house building program is the affect it may have on existing property prices. The market is currently reasonably buoyant due to high demand. A major house building programme will likely see a fall in values. A big help to the first time buyer, but an unwelcome development for those who took out a mortgage at the height of the 2008 market.

No Flood Insurance Deal May Leave Thousands at Risk

A flooded townThe current flood agreement between the Government and the Association of British Insurers comes to an end at the end of June 2013. Negotiations to continue providing affordable premiums to those most vulnerable to flooding are seemingly at a grinding halt.

Under the present agreement, insurers are committed to offering existing consumers universal flood insurance at affordable rates, providing that the Government invests in flood defenses. However, government spending on flood defenses is reported to have reduced. The Guardian reported last July that 294 flood defense projects have not received funding.

Talks between DEFRA and the ABI over a new deal have been ongoing for months. As many as 200,000 households could find it difficult to source reasonable premiums on flood insurance if no agreement is reached.

Green Deal – Planning Laws Relaxed

External insulationThe Government’s Green Deal‘s cashback initiative has been launched this week. There is no cap on what householders can claim.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has made available £125 million funding for the scheme.

To qualify for the cashback initiative, homeowners need to have a Green Deal property assessment undertaken on their property. However, this assessment is not always free, as many assessment companies are charging consumers for this service. The assessment is designed to inform homeowners what measures will make the best improvements to their property’s thermal performance. Improvements may include cavity or solid wall insulation, replacement boilers and loft insulation.

The cashback initiative follows an announcement by Climate change minister Greg Barker last week that planning laws have been relaxed to make it easier for external solid wall insulation to be installed. The classification of solid wall insulation for planning purposes is set to change for property owners across the country, with this type of project now seen as a “permitted development” – meaning property owners will no longer require specific planning consent to carry such an improvement.

The climate change minister stated: “There used to be a time that if you applied external solid wall insulation you would make the house look like something out of Erich Honecker’s East Germany. But actually lots of the solid wall insulation products now enhance the look and feel of a home.”

Greg Barker stated the Department for Communities and Local Government had “relaxed” planning laws so that the insulation measures are categorized as home improvements, rather than enlargement or extension, meaning the solid wall insulation will not require planning permission for most homes. Listed Buildings and properties in Conservation areas will still require permission.