Review from a client who bought a boat and it sank and who wasn't going to buy a house and have the same thing happen!


Our Independent Building Surveyors can help you

As Independent Building Surveyors we can provide you with help and advice. We carry out structural surveys, home buyers reports, independent valuations, property surveys, engineers reports, structural reports, defects report so please call us on 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat. If you are buying a house that has not been maintained over the years or is need of modernisation than a Building Survey can identify problems in the property.

building survey

Why should you have a Building Survey carried out?

The client that we recently carried out a survey for was looking to buy a period property and interestingly they advised us that they would always have a building survey carried out because of a past bad experience.

They had previously purchased a boat of which they thought they had a lot of knowledge of but the worst happened and the boat sank. The client advised that because of this they would certainly not risk buying a property without having an Independent Building Survey carried out.

building survey

A building survey can identify
problems such as damp in a property

Estate Agents can be very persuasive!

Another interesting comment that the client made was that the Estate agent tried to persuade them to use one of their own Surveyors, why would anyone want to do that?

Meeting the building surveyor at the property when possible

We always enjoy meeting our clients at the survey whenever possible as we are able to talk about any plans they may have to alter and amend the property and also to advise on how to solve any problems that we come across.

In this case we were really pleased that we did get to personally meet the client at the property especially as we knew they had to travel quite a distance as the property was in a completely different county to where they were currently living.

building survey

Looking at the property in a bit more detail

The property was an older cottage style located in the middle of nowhere and it had been lived in for many years without much maintenance being carried out.

Interestingly modern additions had been added such as a conservatory style extension or a garden room as they are often known and also a relatively new kitchen.

The roof had also had a lot of insulation added (probably too much).

building survey

Modern extension in the form of a
conservatory had been added to
the property

Beautiful old features

We noted during the course of the survey that the house still had some of its beautiful old features such as a flint wall. Sadly some of these features had been repaired quite badly using modern methods by tradesmen that were not experienced with dealing with older style properties and who did not understand how to repair them, for example, the flint wall had been re-pointed in cement mortar instead of lime.

Cement render instead of lime render

Most of the property had been rendered in a cement render rather than a lime based render. The cement render is simply too hard for an older structure such as this and has resulted in cracks to the render. We advised our client that ideally it should be re-rendered in a lime mortar.

building survey

Cracks to the render

building survey

Cement render

building survey

Lime render and plaster

Potential of the property

The property appeared to have a lot of potential and this was of most interest to the client. However when the house had been surveyed several problems were discovered such as dampness, we believe, from being situated on a sloping site and a high ground level.

We noted that the electrics were also dated and that heating was via old electric heaters.

building survey

High ground level

building survey

Sloping site

building survey

A sloping rear garden, water runs
towards the house

Good refurbishment project

The client thought that the property would be a good refurbishment project to undertake but was concerned about the roof. He informed us that he had already obtained quotes from builders from a nearby property that was being refurbished.

However after we had inspected the roof we could only see minor problems with it and it certainly did not need to be re-roofed in a modern roofing material when the existing slates could be reused. This information saved our client a lot of money. We would always recommend re-using these older slates over modern, cheaper roof slates that we do not have much experience with in this country.

building survey

An original slate roof

building survey

Cheaper manmade slates can
discolour and deteriorate giving
a patchy effect.

Lack of parking will affect the value of the property

During the survey we also identified that there was a lack of available parking to the property. All the parking space available belonged to neighbouring properties that seemed to be quite territorial about it. We informed the client that this possible dispute between neighbours and the lack of parking could seriously affect the value of the property when it came to selling it and it would also limit the potential buying market.

building survey

Flat, flat roof over the conservatory

We would have preferred to see a fall of twelve to fifteen degrees to the flat roof over the conservatory as the condition of the felt indicated that water was sitting on the roof, this is known as ponding.

We discussed design alterations with the client that would improve the property including adding a pitched roof to the conservatory.

building survey

Ponding on a flat roof

Caveat Emptor or buyer beware!

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 problems. The Estate Agent has been commissioned to sell the house, nothing more and nothing less.

building survey

A Building Surveyor can identify
problems such as Asbestos in a

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 and sketch 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.

building survey

Areas where Asbestos can be found inside a house

building survey

Asbestos water tank

Independent Building Surveyors

We are experienced independent building Surveyors who are knowledgeable in carrying out structural surveys on all types, styles and eras of buildings. If you are looking to buy a property it makes sense to have a structural survey carried out by an Independent Surveyor. Phone us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424.

Our property database

We have our own property database known as XHouse which helps us identify the typical problems that are present in every era of property. 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 Building Surveyors.

We have many other articles on our website for you to read

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.

building survey

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.

All rights reserved by

All rights are reserved the contents of the website are not to be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or part without the express written permission of