Why having a structural survey is a good idea, even in a modern property!


When buying a property it makes sense to be aware of any potential problems. This can be true even in a new, modern style property and is why we would recommend that you have an Independent Building survey carried out. Also known as a structural survey this will identify any faults or design issues that could cost you a substantial amount of money to rectify.

Our Building Surveyors have a vast knowledge of all styles and eras of property and have carried out all kinds of surveys over the years including, 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.


Modern style of property

Modernist style property with major problems

We visited a modernist ‘Grand Designs' type of building recently to carry out a survey. This property was only a few years old and still within its NHBC warranty although not the initial first two year period of the warranty.

For more information on dealing with the NHBC please see our articles on our website.

NHBC - National House Building Council

We believe this property has a metal
or concrete frame

In fact works had already been carried out by the NHBC to part of the terraced area. However, we discovered there are major problems with the building that we will broadly define into three categories.

1.  Design defects

2.  Material defects

3.  Standard of workmanship

The Design of the property

Unfortunately no matter how good the quality of the materials or how high the standard of workmanship the design defects in this property will always be a problem. This does give a warning to others not to buy a modern construction property without a structural survey.

Bad advice

Interestingly our client is an ex mortgage consultant who, after a friend and colleague advised that there was no need for a structural survey, purchased the property without a survey. We get the impression he will never purchase a property again without having a structural survey carried out!

The problems in more details

We have divided the problems into specific areas.


Modern design – this property had
problems as well

The Roof


The main design problem of the flat roof is that it simply does not have any fall at all which means that water will sit on the roof, known as ponding. Present building regulations and good building practice presently requires a minimum fall of 12 degrees on a flat roof.

The clearing of the box gutters will also be awkward as one of them is literally about 1.5m down the side of the roof meaning it will be very difficult to reach without accessing the neighbouring property.


Flat roof


Box gutter (right) and small outlet


Box gutter


The material used for the roof is an older style felt, we would today expect to see a high performance felt used or as this is a flat roof we would much prefer to have seen an Asphalt used.


We would have preferred to see
an asphalt roof as in this photo


The detailing around the outlets was such that the normal 100mm outlet was hidden by the felt.


Small outlet on main roof

The Walls Detailing

The problems with the walls start with the roof and the cladding panels, both of which allow water to discharge down the side of the walls. This has meant that the walls have absorbed the dampness and now moss, mould and pattern staining is covering some of the brickwork. We can also see some cracking in the brickwork that we believe is related to this.


Cracking in brickwork


All the materials are of a satisfactory standard but they have not been used well.


We find it hard to understand how any good tradesperson would have carried out this work as it can quite easily be seen and anyone who understands their trade would realise the consequences of this.

Tanking and dampness coming up from the ground

Unfortunately it looks like the tanking which is a way of sealing the basement/ lower ground floor has not been successful. There are three basic ways of carrying out tanking please see our article below

Resolving dampness in your basement?

Many other problems in the property

There are also numerous other problems in the property. We were given a sheet with fifty plus problems on it from our clients. We feel we must add that there is nothing worse than owning a problem property as you are actually living in the problem itself.

What to do next?

Our client was at their wits end in this case and although they may indeed have a claim via the NHBC or via their solicitor with regards to the architect and the builders all they simply want to do is resolve the issues in their house. In terms of cost it is going to be in the six figure bracket to resolve problems in a property that is only a few years old.

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 to make sure you do not come across any unexpected problems. Please phone us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424.

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