Survey review of 1930's property

with extensive cracking to extensions

Independent advice

If you are buying a property we would always recommend that you have an independent survey carried out. We can provide help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, independent valuations, property surveys, engineers reports, specific defects report, home buyers reports or any other property matters .

1930s property

Moving from the city to the suburbs

Our client and her husband were moving to a new house and were about to have their first child. They were moving from the city centre to the suburbs.

The lady was an American and had been trying to get a mixture of an old style English house with modern standards. They found a 1930's to 1950's semi detached property which had been extended not only to the rear of the property with a single storey extension but also to the roof in the form of a loft conversion which we were pleased to see had a proper staircase into it.

However they were very concerned about the cracks in the building.

1930s property

Cracks, cracks and more cracks

The soon to be mum and dad were both concerned about the number of cracks in the property which we duly assessed during the course of our structural survey.

1930s property

Cracking to ground floor
bay window

1930s property

Cracking to first floor bathroom

1930s property

Hairline cracking to first floor

Are they structural cracks or not?

In this case the hairline cracks are being caused by the use of a gypsum plaster onto an original lime plaster. This mix of old and new will usually in our experience result in hairline cracks such as these. It is important to have any cracks checked by a structural surveyor as they could relate to movement in the property.

Differential movement

It is possible where a building such as this has been extended to the roof and also to the rear there is likely to be differential movement for example the foundations will be much larger and deeper in a modern building than they are in buildings of this era originally. Differential movement can sometimes also result in hairline cracks particularly where extensions and alterations have been carried out extensively as in this case and of course paintwork and plasterwork can hide latent defects.

1930s property

Brick and concrete foundation

Use water based paint on older properties

It is also important that older properties such as this are painted with a water based paint as plastic based paints can cause buildings such as this to sweat and not breathe.

1930s property

Planning Permission and Building Regulations

Our clients had been given lots of paperwork by the owners, part of this included documentation in relation to the extensions that had been carried out but they were not sure what was what. They had been given the designers information, the builders information together with some Local Authority documents and Party Wall documents. The Local Authority documents related to Planning Permission.

Planning Permission – what is that?

Planning Permission is where you consider how the extension will look and if it is in keeping with the design of the road in general and also if it is proportionally correct and if there is still enough garden, etc. There are lots and lots of rules in relation to planning. It is well worth speaking to someone who is an expert in this field like us.

Building Regulations – what are they?

Another question was how different are Planning Permission and Building Regulations? The difference is that Building Regulations relates to the best building practice at the time and how a building stands up and how it performs.

What is a Party Wall agreement?

A Party Wall agreement is where consideration has to be given to the neighbours. There is lots of legislation in relation to this which is literally hundreds of years old particularly in relation to the London area and some say Bristol but since 1996 it is a requirement throughout the entirety of the UK, it is not optional!

1930s property

Beautifully designed but is it a good buy? We can advise you of the property's real value

The American lady was interested in whether they were getting a good deal, by this they mean the value they were paying for the property, was it worth it? We advised that we hadn't been instructed originally to carry out a valuation but we could offer them advice which is what they were after with very general questions on how house prices worked in the UK.

We carry out property valuations. We consider that our valuations are the real value of a property as opposed to what a bank or building society or lender may or may not lend on the property.

1930s property

Meet the building surveyor at the property if you can

In this case we met the couple at the property. We would always recommend if you have the time available and can get to the property whilst the survey is being carried out that you meet your surveyor as they will then be able to talk to you about any concerns and possible problems that you think the property may have together with any potential alterations and improvements that you may be considering carrying out to the property. We are always available following the survey to speak to you about the survey report once it has been completed.

1930s property

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1930s property