RMA Surveyors reports RICS latest survey

RMA Surveyors reports RICS Residential SurveyRMA Surveyors, Berkshire, have been reading the latest residential news from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The RICS UK Residential Market Survey for September 2016 states that ‘confidence is starting to recover following the immediate reaction to the EU Referendum, as the UK residential market experiences a slight upturn in August’.

In brief it highlights that:

  • House price rises regain some momentum
  • Sales hold steady after four successive monthly falls
  • Buyer enquiries and sales instructions continue to slip – but at a greatly reduced pace.

Click to download the full RICS UK Residential Market Survey, Sept 2016.

RMA Surveyors Ltd

As chartered surveyors we continue to be chosen for our professional services with regards to Homebuyer Reports and Building Surveys, Party Wall Matters and Project management work.

If you’re in need of the services of RMA Surveyors, please contact us on 01635 579208 or complete the enquiry form.

Office Refurbishment

We recently undertook the contract administration and project management of a successful office refurbishment to a Grade 2 listed, former town house located in a prominent position within Pinner High Street, London.

The scope of service included agreeing statutory consents and liaison with the local conservation officer and English Heritage. Providing additional restraint where historic settlement had affected the structure, design and specification of all elements of the refurbishment, including using materials sympathetic with the historic fabric of the building, roof repairs, external masonry repairs, internal plaster repairs, improving energy efficiency of the building, new gas and electrical service installations, joinery items and redecoration.

The contract was successfully completed inside the 15 week contract period. We held regular site meetings and site inspections, certified works as they were completed, agreed the final account and signed off works at completion. As well as liaising with the main contractor, we also organised the programme of works around data, telecoms and security contractors to ensure a seamless transition to allow the clients’ company to move offices without interruption to their business.

As a result the building has been transformed from a rather tired structure that was long overdue any maintenance into a building that not only contributes significantly to the historic fabric of central Pinner but has a contemporary style that is also reflective of the buildings history.

If you have a refurbishment project that would like RMA Surveyors Ltd assistance with, please contact us on 01635 579208, get in touch via enquiries@rmasurveyors.co.uk, or simply complete the enquiry form.

Residential Extension Advice

Residential extension postWe recently undertook design, specification and project management of a residential extension, in Winslow, Buckinghamshire.

Our client required a kitchen and partial re-design of the ground floor bathroom. The property had a lean-to timber addition, which was in a dilapidated condition.

The extension we provided was a single storey kitchen extension with attached shower room, bathroom and utility room. We re-designed the ground floor layout to make better use of the floor space and enhance the new kitchen extension.

We provided a design and specification which we successfully took through the planning process, as the property is located in a conservation area, and also through the building regulations building control application process. We took the specification through the competitive tendering process and identified a contractor capable of undertaking the project. We also dealt with Party Wall matters, under a separate instruction, and dealt with any on-site queries the contractor had.

The project budget was approximately £60,000 and the contract period was approximately 3 months.

If you would like advice regarding a residential extension, please contact us on 01635 579208 or complete the form and we’ll get back to you.

 

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.

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.

Get A Quote

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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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Leaning Tower of South Korea

Leaning Tower in KoreaTake a look at this seven-storey building – still under construction in South Korea – leaning 20 degrees.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/may/13/south-korea-building-leans-video

Hopefully your building doesn’t have concerns of this magntitude. But if you are concerned about a defect, take a look at our Defects page to see how a Chartered Building Surveyor could undertake a defect specific survey and report on a property, or contact us to discuss your situation further.

Project Management on Property Extensions and Refurbishments

An old Pumping Station for rennovationIt is frequently seen on self build tv programmes when the building owner dispenses with their professional team and announces they are going to take on the role of the project manager.

Often with little or no experience. Generally the end result is unsatisfactory, with conflicts with the building contractor, a lack of technical understanding, projects going over budget or well beyond the contract period, contractors not getting paid, legal disputes and all manner of stress to everyday life.

In short being a project manager is hard work. So why not let a professional help – in the long term, it will save you money, time, stress and heartache.

How can a professional help?
By enlisting the services of a Chartered Building Surveyor you will receive guidance and knowledge that will help your project to run smoothly. You’ll receive no nasty surprises and the outcome will be a refurbishment, extension or renovation that will be an asset.

RMA Surveyors Ltd will act on your behalf to specify, design and manage the building works. In addition to certifying works, assessing costs and liaising with the building contractor at every stage. We will use our professional skill, expertise and understanding of buildings and construction to administer and manage building contracts. We will supervise the building contract to ensure a smooth running of the project and a satisfactory outcome for all involved.

The Process
Once a project (e.g. a refurbishment, extension or reinstatement) has been designed and specified, we begin the process of procurement, usually via competitive tender. We issue the tender documents to several building contractors, who provide a quote for the works. Once tenders are received, we make a recommendation as to which building contractor should be appointed. We ensure you have the best building contractor for the job, at the best price.

We then manage the construction phase of the project, chairing regular on-site meetings, dealing with any issues as they arise, valuing works and certifying stage payments, as well as monitoring the overall quality of the build.

Finally, we certificate works when they have been satisfactorily completed and ensure any outstanding issues are dealt with after completion.

For further information on whether RMA Surveyors Ltd can help with your project, give us a call on 01635 579208. See our project management page for further details.

Buy-to-Let Boom

Brook House, Northbrook StreetThe move is over the dust is settled and I have found some time to write a long overdue web update. So, what’s new?

The fanfares are out. RMA Surveyors Ltd have moved into Brook House in Northbrook Street. We now lease offices with Young Associates, an independent, specialist property management and consultancy firm. The move is a positive step for us, and we are sure it will be of benefit to both ourselves and other businesses in Newbury, now we have a presence in the heart of the town centre.

The RICS released an article this week formally recognising we are in a but-to-let boom. “Boom” is not a word we have heard in recent years and the activity in this sector is a clear indication that property is still a good investment. For those landlord’s or speculators who are making such investments I would add a cautionary note to invest in a detailed Building Survey or Home Buyers Report to prevent your investment becoming a liability. This service is an asset not a burden.

Older properties can require far more than a fresh coat of paint or a new kitchen or bathroom. Without the surety of a qualified surveyor’s opinion, investors could find themselves subject to all sorts of defects brought about by inherent poor design and previous lack of maintenance. I find the surveys I produce for my clients are a fantastic tool for negotiation. As such the survey pays for itself, and if it doesn’t bring the price down it should provide peace of mind that a property professional has cast their expert eye over it.

In the same vein, I have had plenty of experience of producing life cycle cost assessments to help commercial property building managers and businesses plan their budgets and maintenance cycles. In the residential market this approach is rarely taken. However, as landlord’s investments grow, commissioning of a stock condition survey of the entire portfolio is an invaluable tool. Allowing assessment of the current and future maintenance liability.

Good news for potential sellers. We now offer a presale survey, aimed at potential property sellers designed to make them aware of any defects their buildings may have prior to sale. This benefits a seller by identifying items requiring repair and defects likely to affect the sale or purchase price prior to marketing the property.

If you have any questions or need some professional property advice please contact us. An initial consultation is free and you will benefit from our advice.

Insurance Reinstatement Experts

Impact damge to house We keep hearing from clients that they never knew they could use an independent building surveyor to oversee the insurance reinstatement of their property. Here are a few reasons why it is better to use RMA Surveyors Ltd, an independent chartered building surveyor, to oversee the reinstatement of your property.

Larger insurance brokers offer their own in-house surveyors to oversee fire, flood, water and impact damage claims to property. These companies will appoint the services of their surveyors, to act on your behalf, after they have undertaken their initial assessment of the damage to your property. Often these brokers do not fully explain that you are not obliged to use their in-house surveyor’s services. You are free to appoint your own independent surveyor to specify, tender and oversee works on your behalf under your policy cover. Because your insurance policy covers the fees of an independent surveyor, like RMA Surveyors Ltd , it will not cost you a penny to get impartial, qualified and quality advice and management for the duration of the insurance reinstatement works.

Using an independent chartered building surveyor like RMA Surveyors Ltd is a better option for many reasons. Firstly, using RMA Surveyors Ltd guarantees you are using a qualified professional who is regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). As RICS surveyors we are governed by a code of conduct and must act reasonably and impartially at all times.

Secondly, as chartered building surveyors we are professionally obliged to undertake projects diligently and must have the resources and capacity to fulfil a project. Large insurance broker surveyors often have many projects on the go at any one time over a large geographical area. They do not have the time to provide a tailored, bespoke service to each project. Consequently they cannot provide the same attention to detail, often missing important elements critical to the smooth completion of the project. A high turnover of staff and reallocation of resources in these companies can mean you deal with a number of different surveyors. Often works can be specified by the broker’s in-house surveyors by using template documents that do not fit the criteria of an individual project. RMA Surveyors Ltd provide a personal service with a meticulous approach, tailored to each individual property.

Thirdly, RMA Surveyors Ltd provide a fully accountable service which is efficient, detailed and comprehensive at all stages of the project. We also understand the stress and upheaval caused by such events as flood, fire, impact and water damage and endeavour to provide swift reinstatement of your property. As a result of their limited resources, broker’s in-house surveyors are often difficult to contact, do not properly oversee the quality of materials and workmanship on site, are slow to react to problems that arise and provide incomplete documentation.

Lastly, RMA Surveyors Ltd ensure that all works are undertaken by quality independent building contractors, using industry standard building contracts which protect you and clearly define your rights. Therefore, in the unlikely event that something does go wrong you are protected. Often broker’s in-house surveying departments use contracts that heavily favour themselves and their own approved contractors; effectively absolving them of responsibility should a problem arise.

If you have an insurance claim that is causing undue stress or you need some free advice please contact us. We would welcome the opportunity to help you.