Honesty is the best policy

We will always tell you if we don't recommend that you buy a property

Independent advice

We can provide independent 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 indeed any other property matters .

Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.

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If a property is a bargain there is always a reason why

We were instructed to survey a Victorian property where the purchaser was pleased that they had negotiated a substantial discount and were ‘buying a bargain'. During the survey it transpired that the property had movement with cracks visible externally and internally. In addition there was an insurance claim relating to tree roots within the drains where the tree had been removed but it was unknown as to the extent of the repairs to the drains, i.e. had they been replaced or just been repaired.

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Do I need a Surveyor or a Structural Engineer?

Many people find it confusing as to whether they need a Structural Engineer or a Surveyor. We would say you need someone who is qualified and experienced with the type of problem you have.

Have a look around our website and you will see all of the different things that we have written about over the years to allow you to research your problem but also for you to understand our experience and knowledge in these areas.


From the cracks we could see we believe there was still some movement in the property. The area is a clay area and as such in our experience you will always find some movement to a greater or lesser extent.

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Internal crack


Typically insurance companies will carry out partial underpinning (as per sketch) and repairs to the brickwork which may include mechanical fixings but will depend upon the extent of the damage.

Most people would be put off purchasing a property where underpinning has taken place and we would say that when a property has been underpinned it simply doesn't have the same value as a property that hasn't been underpinned.

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Concrete underpinning

Prior to purchasing a property which has been underpinned we would recommend your legal advisor checks what information is available in relation to the underpinning.

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Mass concrete underpinning

Will structural problems affect the value of a property?

Although it may seem strange to talk about selling the property before you have bought it, most people would be put off purchasing a property with structural problems and this will be reflected in the open market value. If you are considering purchasing a property with structural problems you should be aware of the likely implications you will have when you come to re-sell the property. You may find yourself in a position where you want to or have to move and may have to reduce the price substantially to entice a purchaser.

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Generally, insurance requirements have varied over the years and in our opinion have got ever more onerous. We would always recommend that you make enquiries with regard to the insurability in relation to trees and other features prior to purchasing a property.

Certificate of Structural Adequacy

A Certificate of Structural Adequacy had been issued by the insurance company following the removal of the tree and work to the drains but be aware that this is not a guarantee.

Certificate of Structural Adequacy

A Certificate of Structural Adequacy is issued to the home owner by the insurance companies appointed Loss Adjuster or Assessor. It normally briefly states the work that has been carried out and then advises what it isn't and also the limitations. A Certificate of Structural Adequacy is not a guarantee or warranty.

Structural problems – are they resolved or are they always with the property?

Any property that has had work carried out in relation to a structural claim is blighted and will as we understand it be on insurance company records forever and a day. As mentioned most people would be put off purchasing a property with structural problems whether they have been resolved or not.

What else did the survey uncover?

In addition to the issues detailed above the property had numerous other problems including:

1) An asbestos slate roof

2) Dampness getting into the roof space through the chimneys and parapet wall which would require scaffolding or a cherry picker which are expensive.

3) Dampness throughout the property

4) Dated electrics which will need replacing

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High damp readings

All of these issues together with the movement and the insurance claim relating to tree roots in the drains made this a high risk purchase and therefore we recommended that our client did not purchase the property.

We will always tell you if we don't recommend you buy a property

As per the title to this article we believe honesty is the best policy. We will always tell you if we don't recommend that you buy a property which of course was our recommendation in this case.

Meet the building surveyor 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 who will be more than happy to talk to you about any concerns and possible problems that you think the property may have together with any potential improvements and alterations you may be looking to carry out to the property. We will, of course, be happy to speak to you about the survey report once it has been completed.

If the property is a high risk purchase as in this case it is especially important that we meet you to discuss your risk profile and whether you are happy and have experience to take on a high risk property.

As surveyors, would we buy the property?

A surveyor is often asked the question would you buy the property? The answer is that we may buy the property but it doesn't mean that the people asking us to do the survey should buy the property. We give the example of a property that we bought at auction that took ten years of monitoring before an insurance company would insure it. This wouldn't be the sort of risk that many people would be prepared to take on. You should be aware of the likely implications any structural problems will have when you come to sell the property.

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Our unique sketches help you understand the survey and we highlight particular areas with circles and ovals

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.

The red circles are a system that we used within our structural surveys, building surveys and schedules of condition to highlight problem areas so that you are not left wondering what the problem is. In this case the sketch is highlighted to show the type of valley gutter present at the property.

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Valley gutter

Compare our website and compare our surveys

Please feel free to have a look at our website to see for yourself the quality of our website, articles and our Building Survey reports. We pride ourselves on our professional standard and easy to read reports written in plain English which we have been carrying out for many years on every age, type and style of property across the UK.

Property database for house surveys

We have our own property database known as XHouse, which helps us with house surveys identify the typical problems that are present in every era of house for our surveys. The property database is designed around the age, type and style of the property and we have literally been building this database for over a decade. Again this property database is unique to our house Building Surveyors.

Why have an independent building survey?

Always have an independent building survey as this will highlight any property problems. 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.

Once again, we would reiterate that we highly recommend you always make sure when you have a survey you meet your Surveyor at the property.

We can email you examples of our building surveys

If you are thinking of buying a property and are interested in having a Structural Survey carried out or if you are trying to sell a property and would like a Pre-Sales Survey please call us on free phone us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424. We would be happy to email you several examples of our tailor made reports.

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