Review on a Residential Building Survey
on a Victorian apartment with potential
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We were asked to survey a ground floor apartment of a late Victorian/ Edwardian era three storey house that had been altered, amended and extended over the years to become three apartments.
Meet the building surveyor at the property
In this case our client was able to meet us at the property whilst we carried out the survey. We 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 alterations and improvements that you may be looking to carry out to the property. Of course we are also always happy to speak to you about the survey report once it has been completed.
Property with potential
The apartment itself was quite dated and had many of the original features remaining. Our client was keen to have our view on the possible alterations that could be made to redesign the property such as new kitchen, adding en-suites, etc.
If you remove walls you may need a Party Wall Agreement
To achieve the layout that our client wants would require the removal a wall which is very possible however may be difficult depending upon whether it gives structural support to the flat above. This could be in the form of floor joists or a wall.
In addition this work would involve a Party Wall agreement. This is a requirement where an element of the property is shared with another element. We would advise that a Party Wall Act agreement is different and additional to planning permission and building regulations.
Party Structures Defined - Party Wall Act Etc. 1996
A structure that both parties enjoy the use of or benefit from. An example of this would be where both parties gain support from a wall or utilise a chimney or chimneys.
Surveying articles that may be of interest to you:
We have written many surveying articles which may be of interest to you:
Heating older buildings
Due to the large rooms our client was concerned with regards to heating bills. It is very difficult to heat a building with rooms of this size to modern standards without getting a large heating bill.
External wall cladding wouldn't be appropriate in a Victorian property and internal insulation wall cladding we would say is a relatively new thing on older properties such as this and as such we still don't have enough feedback (and generally within the chartered surveying industry) as to whether it can cause problems for example with interstitial condensation which we are now coming across in other older properties that have been insulated.
Interstitial condensation defined
Condensation within the structure which can cause structural problems.
Sliding Sash Windows can be draughty
If you have not lived in a property with sliding sash windows previously, you should be aware that typically they are draughty and rattle. There is no easy way to eliminate this problem. In our experience, a general ease and adjustment of the windows and the addition of a plastic tube draught sealer (available from most DIY stores) and regular redecoration is the best option to minimise the draughtiness of the windows.
Shutters and curtains can help save heat
Often basic things such as quality lined curtains or internal shutters, as we once used, can be great heat savers where there is a lot of glass as there is in this property.
Sliding sash window
Example of shutters with vents at
top open and bottom closed
Close up of shutters folding back
with open vents
View of shutters from outside
Redesigning to make the building more energy efficient
The rooms were quite large and therefore difficult to heat so in this case reducing the room sizes by adding en-suites for example would be very beneficial as the smaller rooms would be easier to heat during the winter months.
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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.
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.
Our Executive Summaries make things simple
Our Good, Bad & Ugly Surveys!
In addition we would also like to introduce to you what we call our Good, Bad and Ugly survey which is a building survey, sometimes known as a structural survey, and is something that we have developed over many years, in fact several decades. We have listened to feedback from our clients and amended and altered our surveys to make them easy to read and describe issues clearly. The key factor we believe is that our surveys are easy to understand in plain English.
We can email you examples of our structural surveys
If you are interested in having a Structural Survey we can email you examples of our structural surveys please call us for a friendly chat on free phone 0800 298 5424.
We would also be happy to email you some examples of our tailor made reports, Schedules of Condition, Structural Surveys and Property Reports.
We can talk and talk about property
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have included is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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