Buying a property for your children, a review


Our Independent Building Surveyors can help you

If you are considering purchasing a second property either for yourself as an investment or for your children then our Building Surveyors can provide you with help and advice to make sure you are aware of any problems in the property.

Over the years our Surveyors have carried out surveys on all types and eras of property in many different locations. These surveys have included building surveys, structural surveys, home buyers reports, independent valuations, property surveys, engineers reports, structural reports and defects reports so please call us on 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat and to discuss your requirements.


A Building Survey will highlight problems

Our client in this case was buying a property for one of their daughters. Even though the property was relatively modern they wanted to have an Independent Building Survey carried out as they had previously bought a property where they had encountered nothing but problems. These problems ranged from having to completely rewire the electrics and carry out repairs and redecoration due to water damage from faulty plumbing.


We carry out an earth test during
our surveys

Caveat Emptor or buyer beware!

Caveat Emptor means Buyer Beware and this is why, if you are considering buying a property, you need to have a building survey carried out to find out if there are any problems within the property that you need to be aware of. Often estate agents will not advise you of these and can include issues such as dampness.

A bad property experience had made our client nervous

As our client had previously had a bad experience they wanted to be very sure that any property they purchased only had problems that were easily resolved and that would not be too costly.


Dampness internally can be caused
by high ground levels

Some information about the property

The property that we surveyed was a relatively modern property that had been built as an experimental energy efficient house on an estate of similar properties in the 1980's.

The property had benefited from advanced construction techniques, for its time, such as dry lined walls, high levels of insulation and also solar panels that were added to the conservatory roof in the south facing garden.

Dry Lining Defined

This term comes from the fact that plasterboard is dry and used as an inner lining within the property. Prior to this a wet plaster was used and required drying out periods which slowed the construction process down. Therefore almost universally in modern properties dry lining is used both as a ceiling material and sometimes to internally line the walls.


Dry lining

Problems with insulation without ventilation

Unfortunately some of the thermally efficient characteristics of the property were now causing problems. At the time that the properties were built the focus had been on insulation but it was not until years later that it became apparent that if you increase insulation then you also need to increase ventilation. If this ventilation is not added then condensation can occur.


Highly insulated roof space needs


Vents in fascias and soffits


Vented tile on roof

Condensation in the property

We noted some signs of condensation in the bathroom in the form of peeling paint, and we recommended to our client that if they went ahead with the purchase then large humidity controlled extract fans needed to be added to moisture generating areas such as the bathroom and the kitchen to reduce the chances of condensation occurring.


Large humidity controlled extract
fans can reduce condensation

Meeting the building surveyor at the property when possible

In this case we did not meet our client at the property during the survey but where possible we would always recommend doing this. This enables us to talk about any plans that they may have to alter and amend the property and also to advise face to face on how to solve any problems that we come across.



Was history about to repeat itself?

As mentioned we were unable to meet our client at the property in this case because of their work commitments but we were able to discuss the parts of the report that they were concerned with over the phone.

One potential issue was the electrics in the property as when we initially carried out our earth test in the kitchen it had tripped the fuse board. As our client was particularly keen to avoid major expense such as a full rewire (because of their past experiences) we recommended that an Institute of Electrical Engineers standards (IEE) test and report test should be carried out on the electrics before committing to purchase the property and that this should be carried out by an NICEIC registered and approved electrical contractor or equivalent.

Other problems we came across in the property

Although there were other issues in the property such as the fascias and soffits that needed repair and redecoration we believed that the property had no major issues that could not be resolved fairly easily and relatively cheaply, dependent upon the outcome of the electrics test!


Fascias and soffits needed repair

What do the circles and ovals mean in our reports?

We always include many photos within our reports. Sometimes where there is a problem in the property that we wish to emphasize or highlight we will use circles or ovals to identify this, please see the photo below. If the report, along with our photos, does not explain the problem or characteristics of a property enough then we also have a vast range of sketches that we have had commissioned exclusively for us that we can use in our reports.


Internal radiator


Radiators are best positioned under windows
where possible to help air movement

Internal Radiators defined

An internal radiator is one that is located on an internal wall rather than an external wall or under a window. Radiators located underneath windows help air flow in a property as warm air rises and hits the cooler air above the windows it then circulates around the room and helps the air circulation in the property as a whole.

We have many other surveying articles on our website

Please have a good look around our website to see how much detail we go into regarding property and its associated problems in our articles. We go into this much depth and detail within our reports as well.

We trust you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you believe 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 pause to contact us (we are only human). Your comments will be appreciated.

The contents of the website are for general information only and are not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be taken before making such a decision.

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