Monday, 3 November 2014

It's Raining Again

Now that our (relatively) dry summer and autumn have gone, the rain is back. I am already noticing many buildings where a lack of routine maintenance is allowing rain to penetrate and cause damage. Rainwater ingress into homes is one of the biggest and commonest problems we surveyors find, However, it is so easily avoided!

Now is the time to make sure that your gutters are cleared, rainwater pipes are secure and any loose joints have been secured.

Check your roof coverings for slipped tiles/slates and loose ridge tiles. If you have a flat roof, when was the last time you had this checked?

Wind driven rain can cause problems when there are gaps around windows and doors and also when your pointing is worn.

If your driveway, path or garden slopes towards any part of your building then these are areas where rain can be a problem. Ensure that any drains are cleared and , if necessary, install new drainage to stop flash flooding during those inevitable heavy downpours.

If you are concerned about the risk of water damage to your property, why not consult a Chartered Surveyor? We can provide professional and reliable advice and point you in the right direction for maintenance and protection of your building. For most of us, our homes are the most valuable asset we own - so look after them!!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Your survey options

A survey by the ING showed that on average people spend more time choosing a new TV than they do a new home.
This may come as a surprise seeing as for most people, buying a home is the most expensive purchase they will ever make.
Getting a survey from an RICS Chartered Surveyor will help highlight any problems that could lead to expensive surprises later.
An RICS Home Survey will give you:
§  Peace of mind – You’ll know what you’re getting into before you make possibly the biggest purchase of your life
§  A leverage tool to negotiate on price if problems are found
§  Satisfaction that you’re paying a fair price for the property
Don’t make a move without an RICS Survey.
RICS HomeBuyer Report
Our RICS HomeBuyer Report gives you all of the above, plus separate market valuation and insurance reinstatement costs and advice on defects that may affect the value of the property, with repairs and ongoing maintenance advice.
Building Survey
The Building Survey gives you a comprehensive structural report including defects, repair and maintenance options. Essential for larger or older properties or if you’re planning major works.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Why you should commission your own survey

The first point to remember is that the purpose of the report commissioned by your bank (the lender) is to advise them of the value of the property and any characteristics of the property (including significant defects) which might affect its value as security for the proposed loan. It is not a survey.

This should not be confused with a proper survey. The report is very much a pro-forma in style and is usually only two to three pages in length. So as a buyer you will be unwise to rely solely on the contents of this report. Instead we recommend you commission a Homebuyers Survey and Valuation Report or a full Building Survey for yourself.
Your house purchase is likely to be the biggest single personal investment of your life and not to have it properly checked out before you exchange is a false economy.
 Great Western Surveys Limited (01249) 892023

Monday, 6 February 2012

Rising Damp??

‘Rising dampness’ is a phrase that many buyers and building owners dread to hear. It conjures up images of a damp, dilapidated property that will be expensive to repair and difficult to sell. Yet many homes with a dampness problem fall far short of this dramatic description. In the majority of cases, the problems are caused by relatively minor faults. Despite this, every year tens of thousands of dwellings undergo expensive repair work to cure a problem that an increasing number of experts say is not that serious.

What is ‘rising dampness’?
Water in the ground rises up through the bricks and mortar of a wall by a process called ‘capillary action’. If the wall does not include a horizontal water proof layer (called a damp proof course), this rising moisture will eventually affect the internal parts of the home. In the worst cases, it will ruin decorations, cause the plaster to crumble and adjacent timber surfaces to rot. On the inside, it can look like the base of the wall is stained with a ‘tide mark’ that has white furry salt crystals along its edge.

Does rising dampness exist?
Although capillary action does occur, it is unlikely to result in dampness reaching these levels on its own. Instead, the dampness is often ‘helped’ along its journey by other faults including high ground
levels, leaking drains and gutters, and inappropriate wall finishes that stop the wall drying out (for example, cement render). Repairing these problems will often solve the dampness.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Why a survey is more important now than ever.......

With uncertainty remaining in the property market at the start of 2012 it is even more important to ensure that, if you are buying a property, you have it properly surveyed so that any problems which might affect value and, importantly, re-saleability can be identified. By commissioning either a Homebuyers or Building Survey you will be in a much stronger position to identify any important problems and re-negotiate your purchase price.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Cement Render on Old Walls

Although many old walls have been coated with cement render over the last fifty to eighty years, this is extremely poor building practice on walls made of natural stone. The hardness of the cement does not allow flexibility for the natural movement which occurs in such walls. It also does not have sufficient permeability to allow moisture which is contained within the walls to evaporate through to the surface. Thus the situation arises where the render cracks and de-bonds. In addition, trapped moisture tends to pass through to the inside wall surfaces, creating additional damp “problems”.

The only practical solution, and one that is best for the building, is to completely remove all of the hard cement render and replace it with a traditional lime render which is more flexible and permeable. This will allow for natural movement and drying out of the walls and will also greatly enhance the cosmetic appearance of the building. Unfortunately, this work can be costly.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Condensation in modern roofs

Even in relatively modern houses condensation can be a problem in roof spaces. A lack of natural ventilation can lead to quite severe problems as seen in this mid 1970s roof recently:

Unless ventilation levels in this roof are improved straight away there is a serious risk of structural damage.

Home owners should regularly check their roof spaces for signs of condensation.