Buying a purpose built modern flat which

is leasehold or shared freehold

We have a wealth of experience of carrying out surveys on modern flats

As we are independent Surveyors that deal with all types of property related work and are happy to help you with property problems. We have carried out surveys over many years on most property issues. Our structural surveys have identified rising damp, lateral damp, penetrating damp as well as black mould, condensation, thermal bridging, roof problems and structural problems along with many other issues and believe saved our clients money.

Free phone 0800 298 5424


Have an independent structural survey carried out

Modern purpose built top floor flat

With our building 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/apartment 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.

What do the circles and ovals mean?

Overclad fascias and soffits

The circles and ovals are a system that we use within our structural surveys and building surveys to highlight problem areas so that you are not left wondering what the problem is. In addition to this if the photographs do not we believe explain the problem enough together with our survey report we also add in one of our own sketches such as the example that is shown here.

Caveat emptor

Modern apartment block

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.

The good, bad and ugly survey

We would also like to introduce to you what we call our good, bad and ugly survey which is a building survey which is sometimes known as a structural survey which we have developed over many years, in fact several decades. We have listened to feedback from our clients and amended and altered our surveys to make them easy to read and describe issues clearly. The key factor we believe is our surveys are easy to understand in plain English but do not take our word for it call us on free phone 0800 298 5424 and ask for an example of one of our surveys to be emailed to you.

We have normally carried out a building survey similar to the property you are considering buying and therefore we can show you an example of the type of structural survey you will be receiving. We would recommend that you do not just book a survey but with whoever you decide to have your independent building survey with you talk to them, receive an example survey as well as meet with the surveyor at the property.

There are various ideas we have developed over the years to make our surveys more readable everything from 16x optical zoom digital photographs next to the problem which show and explain what the problem is to sketches that clarify any issues particular ones that we cannot photograph but know are present. We have commissioned our own sketches to explain property issues which you will not find with any other Surveyor.

Things to look out for when looking for your first property (or indeed it may be your second or third property but we are aware people tend to forget over the years)

Without doubt buying your first property is a major step (and you can often feel like you are reliving the nightmare when you come to buy your second or third property) and often a very costly one and also often a very big learning curve. We find most people generally look forward to buying their first property in the first few weeks and generally get pleasure from the process, although we would say that as time goes on people get very disturbed with the process of buying a property. We would also say that without doubt people say that it is more expensive than they expected.

This article looks at modern purpose built flats that you may see and characteristic items that Surveyors will identify for you although we do have to say that nothing is as good as getting your own structural survey and meeting your own Surveyor at the property. We are certainly promoting our services call us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424.

Modern flats

Structural frame

A modern flat is a term used for buildings built around the 2000 era and often built on a structural frame.

Benefits of modern construction


Pitched roofs

Roofs of modern purpose built flats can be anything from slate to concrete tile or even a concrete tile that looks like a slate tile dependent upon the area Planning Department requirements dictate.

Slate roof

For example: In a predominately Victorian area the Planners may require slate roofs. Whilst the Victorian houses will originally have had natural slates it is very often that these are replaced by a manmade slate which can be a completely different product and have problems.

Flat roofs

Although we have used flat roofs for many decades we still seem to have problems associated with flat roofs.

Heat loss

We are also seeing on modern properties mono-ply or single ply roofs which are a rubberised or plastic type of roof which has been used very commonly on commercial properties. In the course of our commercial property surveys come across many problems with these types of roofs. Make sure you have a Surveyor to look at your flat who has experience of commercial properties or these types of roofs so that they understand the materials being used.

Remember flat roofs can be a major source of heat leaking out of the property.


Flat roof cold deck

Flat roof warm deck

Modern Render

Modern render; often modern flats have modern render systems which look like the render of old but are nothing like it in the way they perform or in our knowledge of the render. We still believe that the jury is still out with regard to performance of what is known as structural insulation panels (SIP's) which are rendered. We can see that some SIP's are starting to have pattern staining.


Gutter overflowing and discharging down modern rendered wall

– pattern staining due to bad initial design

High density block of three and four storey flats.

Timber fascia deteriorating after approx 2 years


External walls to modern flats often have a cladding finish which can be timber or plastic which looks like timber. We have seen that much of the timber cladding to modern purpose built blocks of flats deteriorates darkening quickly. This cladding is known as rain cladding and adds a protective layer before the building itself. We have already had one case where the rain cladding has failed on a modern block of flats.


Lots of insulation for noise and warmth

Typically modern purpose built flats are built with Stretcher bond brickwork which allows insulation to be added in the cavity.


flatWindows of modern built blocks of flats will be double glazed. Often windows are timber framed and we are finding that the timber is relatively poor quality. Unless timber framed windows are redecorated very frequently they can deteriorate.

Lifts and Fire Exits


Whilst a lift can be very handy it is always good to have stairs should the lift breakdown as well as in a worst case scenario of a fire. We always suggest when you purchase a property that you walk the fire exit stairs.

A good building always starts with good foundations

Stepped brick foundation

Foundations have changed considerably over the years, most Victorian properties have stepped brick foundations or stone foundations dependent upon where you are in the country whereas a modern property tends to have a deep strip concrete foundation or a pilled foundation.

Security and fire alarm systems

Fire alarm system

Modern apartments also tend to have integrated fire alarms, security systems in the form of door entry access security etc.

Please see our surveying articles on:-

Why have a residential survey?
Structural survey, what does a surveyor do?
What is a Schedule of Condition?
Useful tips for purchasing a buy to rent property

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.

Modern flats built like commercial properties

Modern 2000s purpose built flats

Many modern flats are more akin to commercial properties than to residential properties so make sure that your Surveyor understands commercial properties and the materials used.

Building higher

Three storey 1960s/1970s block of flats

Although it has to be said as land has got scarcer and we tend to built higher there are cost implications to living in a building of over three storeys due to access requirements and health and safety needs.

Scaffolding is likely to be required when any repairs are necessary to high level areas or good cherrypickers or scissor lifts.

Thermal Bridging

Thermal image of windows

Whilst the 1960s/1970s block of flats is likely to suffer from thermal bridging the modern 2000s purpose built flats with modern insulation and construction techniques is unlikely to suffer from this condition.

Thermal bridging defined

Thermal bridging is caused by a colder element in the structure allowing coldness to pass through the structure much quicker when warm moist air is present in the property.

We can email you examples of our structural surveys

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 of use 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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