Buying a purpose built Edwardian flat

which is leasehold or shared freehold

We are experienced in carrying out structural surveys on all types of Edwardian properties

We are independent Surveyors with Edwardian properties being one of the eras of property that we have experience of carrying out structural surveys and building surveys out on.

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Experienced Surveyors

Our experienced Surveyors have carried out structural surveys over many years on all types of property and property issues. Our structural surveys have identified hidden problems such as rising damp and structural defect as well as lateral damp and penetrating damp.

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Edwardian flats Red oval identifies
ground floor flat

Problems specific to Edwardian buildings

We are also well aware with Edwardian properties of the possibility of cold bridging and thermal bridging with the black mould that can come with these (which can be well hidden by painting before a property is sold) we are also very conscious of roof problems that can be present in Edwardian properties. As Surveyors we are in addition well aware of the problems that can occur in Edwardian properties after they are modified for example a new roof covering (when new is after the World War II) together with specific issues relating to flats such as your shared liability for property problems. We can bring to your attention elements to most flat developments such as noise transfer and communal areas.

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Black mould to ceiling

Caveat emptor

Caveat emptor means buyer beware and is why you need to have a building survey to find out if there are any problems within the property; the estate agent certainly will not advise you of any.

Remember the building Surveyor that you employ will be the only person working for you with your interests at heart.

What makes our building surveys different?

Good, Bad and Ugly Executive Summaries

Our Executive Summaries include what the problem is, what you need to do about it and approximate costs. We are more than happy of course to discuss this with you please free phone us on 0800 298 5424.

With our building surveys particularly of flats we have worked hard to alter and amend our building surveys to what our clients require. Over the years we have listened to feedback and changed the formats of our building surveys to include an Executive Summary which explains not only what the problems are but what to do about the issues and the likely costs.

We also include photographs throughout our surveys next to the property problems; believe it or not some surveys position photographs at the end of the report which makes the report very difficult to read. If the photograph is not specific enough we use sketches which we have specially commissioned for us and are not available to any other surveying practice. In addition to this we have been developing a database of problems on properties for over a decade which we understand no other surveying practice is doing this.

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Chimney lead flashing detail

Flats and building surveys

With our building surveys and structural surveys of flats we are very well aware you have a liability, albeit a percentage liability for the property as a whole and as such we not only look at the specific flat that you are buying we also look at the surrounding properties and the specific requirements to these. Call us on free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat about your property.

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Edwardian chimney

Things to keep an eye open for when looking for your first property

It feels like there are a million and one things to do when looking to buy your first property. Undoubtedly buying your first property is a key step and often feels to be a very costly one and also often a very large learning curve. One of the most important lessons to learn very quickly is the estate agent is not working for you but working for the people selling the property. The second lesson to learn is that estate agents are sales people; whilst they come in many different styles, sizes and looks most of them will do almost anything to sell a property. We heard that one estate agent has the motto that they go to war for their clients to help sell the property which although this sounds rather strong you do need to remember that estate agents do not get paid unless they sell properties. Estate agents will often put potential purchasers under extreme pressure in order to sell a property. We believe many and most estate agents are very skilled at their job as they would not still be estate agents if they were not good.

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Edwardian Flemish bond brickwork

We would say that almost unquestionably this is the most expensive item people buy. There is not only the expense of buying the property there is also the expense of the process of buying a property such as the surveyor, solicitor and valuers fees. You do need to remember that surveyors and valuers are very different. Valuers normally work for building societies and banks and are looking out for their interests.

An independent building surveyor on the other hand works for you and this is where we can help you call us for a friendly chat on free phone 0800 298 5424.

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Flemish bond brickwork

Edwardian properties

This article looks at Edwardian purpose built flats that you may come across when searching for your perfect property. We have written a series of articles on buying properties to help you here are some examples of our surveying articles:-

Buying a one or two bedroom conversion from a larger house which is leasehold or shared freehold
Buying a Victorian or Edwardian purpose built mansion apartment which is leasehold or shared freehold

We would also add that although our information article is specific to Edwardian purpose built flats nothing is as good as having your own structural survey and meeting your own independent building Surveyor at the property.

Edwardian purpose built flats

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General view of Edwardian purpose
built flats

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Edwardian purpose built flats

Edwardian purpose built flats generally look like houses from the outside and have the ground floor and first floor divided into flats. They are called purpose built as these properties have their own entrance door. These properties were purpose built during both the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

The difference between Victorian era and Edwardian era properties

We always think about Victorian architecture being quite pointy and tend to have square bay windows that make a feature of the front of the property however often the bay windows do not have foundations! (which is a problem that we are aware of with these properties).

Edwardian properties very much follow this style but are slightly less pointy and what we would term as being more decorative known as the Arts and Craft style.

For example the property may have a brick feature on the bay window or may have an interesting detailing to the entrance canopy.

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Bay window with no foundation

What to look out of on an Edwardian purpose built property

Whilst having your own entrance to a purpose built flat is a great benefit it can also be a drawback. We are aware of one client that was driven absolutely mad by the upper flats' occupants irregular hours with them leaving the property very early in the morning and coming back at all sorts of hours at night (whilst we are well aware people do have to work at all sorts of hours noise levels could be reduced). The door was often slammed during irregular hours which drove them mad as well as noise transfer from the upper floor to their ground floor and worst still during the colder weather the door had swollen and started to stick. We were asked to view the property many months later after we had carried out a structural survey to help with an informal meeting with their upstairs neighbours to help reduce the noise levels. The result was that the front door was eased and adjusted and the neighbours installed carpet on the first floor which helped with noise transfer.

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Edwardian property

Please see our surveying articles on:-

Why have a residential survey?
Structural survey, what does a surveyor do?
Should I have a structural survey?

Or call us for a friendly chat it costs nothing to talk to us on

Free Phone 0800 298 5424

or at the very least take a look around our website

Always make sure when you have a survey your meet your Surveyor at the property.

Watch out for flawlessly presented interiors.

Often flats are sold on the presentation of the interior. Interestingly it can be your liking of the interior and the furniture within the property that sells a property to you as well as ticking your basic boxes such as location and size of flat etc. You do need to try to imagine the property without the furniture in place as the property can look very different. Also you do need to appreciate that many people will do almost anything to sell their property. We use the term painted to sell as often properties cannot only be painted to sell but they can also be plastered over hiding cracks, furniture can be strategically positioned to hide dampness and/or cracks. Presenting a property goes much further than this in some cases.

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Cracking to ceiling and walls inside
Edwardian property

Problems that are covered over

We have been asked several times whilst carrying out structural buildings surveys to look at problems but when we have arrived at the property the problem as described by our client is not visible. We have then either met the client at the property or taken photographs which we have included in the survey or spoken to the client if they are not available to be at the property. On more than a few occasions we have discovered that the property looks different to when they viewed the property with areas being painted over. We are well aware that many estate agents particularly what we would term as the more aggressive estate agents advise their clients to carry out such work.

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Updated bathroom which we often
come across in mansion blocks

Dampness in Edwardian properties

Many older properties do suffer from dampness with the dampness ranging from rising damp (although this is nowhere near as common as damp proof companies would have you believe) to lateral dampness often caused by weathering or pointing or indeed wrongly rendered properties which result in properties not being able to breathe.

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Dampness and old buildings

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Rising damp

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Testing for rising damp


Probably the most common form of dampness we come across is condensation often occurring at the bottom of properties and being wrongly called rising dampness. The problem is the amount of humidity being caused in the property with everything from cooking to bathing and showering to drying clothes. Be very careful you do not come across a property where dampness has been hidden only for it to reappear as soon as the property has been sold. With dampness comes all sorts of issues such as black mould.

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Condensation to window

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Condensation in cold areas

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Drying clothes creates dampness

Roof problems with Edwardian properties

We are aware of a fairly common occurrence that happens in Edwardian properties is that the roofs are replaced with heavier concrete roof tiles being used compared with the lighter slates or clay tiles. The replacement of the roofing material causes all sorts of problems if the roof is not supported adequately or is not vented appropriately.

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Added support to roof structure


Walls in typical Edwardian properties are Flemish bond brickwork. You will need to take a close look at the pointing used to ensure that the pointing has not weathered.

Pointing Defined

Pointing is the mortar between the bricks.

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Edwardian Flemish bond brickwork


Originally the Edwardian properties would have had beautiful sliding sash windows and possibly some leaded lights. Over the years sometimes the timber sliding sash windows are replaced with a plastic window. You need to be aware that plastic windows do not have the same strength as timber framed windows and problems can occur.

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Edwardian property converted to
flats top floor


Floors in Edwardian properties will typically be timber suspended floors to the ground floor and joist and floorboard with embedded timbers to the first floor. The problems on the ground floor are that you can get dampness coming up through the floor and also cold drafts can be an issue.

On the first floor problems can be noise transfer from one flat to another and deflection if walls have been removed.

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Dampness to floor

Don't take our word for our surveys being the best in the market have a look at one of them

If you are interested in having a structural survey on a flat please call us on free phone us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424. If you are a landlord please contact us as we would be happy to help you with Schedules of Condition or Structural surveys on blocks of flats.

Phone us for an example of a property like yours

Whilst we cannot guarantee it we believe we have carried out surveys on nearly every type of property so contact us on 0800 298 5424 and we are sure that we will be able to send you an example survey of a similar property to the one that you are looking to buy so you can see what you will receive from us before you purchase.

No matter who you commission to carry out your structural survey we always recommend that you go along to the survey to have a chat with the Surveyor.

We would also be happy to email you some examples of our tailor made reports, Schedules of Condition, Structural Surveys and Property Reports. We also find that Specific Defect Reports can be use where there is one problem or issue that needs resolving between the landlord and tenant.

We hope you found the article helpful and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The content of the website is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision. Free phone on 0800 298 5424

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