Chartered Surveyors with an emphasis on a personal service.
Please telephone 07979 472264 for a reasonable quotation
Our core services include:
- Residential Building Surveys
- Commercial Building Surveys
- House Valuations – Probate, Matrimonial, Insurance, Acquisition
- Historic Building Consultancy
- Chartered Surveyors Valuers register Info
- Expert Witness
- Lease Extensions
- Rent Reviews
- Schedules of Dilapidations & Schedules of Condition
- Party Wall Notices & Awards
- Homebuyer Reports, House Surveyor
- CDM Advisers & Principal Designers
- Fire Assessments & Legionella Assessments
- Builder Disputes Info
- Crack Analysis and Structural Surveys
- Boundary Disputes Info
- Freehold Enfranchisement (Right to buy Residential Freehold)
- Project Management
- Damp Diagnosis
- Building Pathology and Beam (Lintel) calculations
- RICS Valuations
- Fellow Chartered Building Engineers
If you are a homeowner looking to alter or extend your home or a company looking for advice in relation to building including fire, full structural survey, access or energy efficiency then a Chartered Building Engineer or Chartered Surveyor will be able to assist you.
Chartered Surveyors are professionals who design, construct, evaluate and maintain buildings. Their work includes both technical and management processes by which buildings are designed, constructed, renewed and maintained. This involves them in activities including site investigations, building inspections and surveys, assessment against standards, project design, plan preparation, cost evaluations, contract procedures, project management, and deciding which construction methods and materials to use.
Their expertise includes a detailed understanding of statutory regulations, and technical codes and standards and the need for sustainable buildings.
Chartered Surveyors will have a level of competence which has been assessed and accepted against rigorous standards. Chartered Surveyors are qualified to deal with a range of matters relating to the design, construction, evaluation and maintenance of buildings and will often specialise in key areas within Building Engineering, whilst maintaining an understanding of all aspects of the profession.
Chartered surveyors in the United Kingdom is a surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Until the end of the 20th century, some members were members of the ISVA (“Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers”), but this organisation merged into the RICS in 1999.
In the reforms of the RICS in the 1990s, the former divisional structure of the institution was abolished and the use of the alternative designations retained solely for the use of members to retain clarification when informing clients of specialist areas of expertise. Despite the attempt to unify the profession under one title chartered surveyor there is very little in common across the whole range of disciplines that are within the grasp of all members. The core membership is based in the construction profession, and another large sector deal with property ownership and management. Beyond these cores there are marine, land, rural and antiques specialists.
Chartered surveyors in the core of the profession may offer mortgage valuations, homebuyer’s survey and valuations, full building surveys, building surveyors’ services, quantity surveying, land surveying, auctioneering, estate management and other forms of survey- and building-related advice. It is not usual for any individual member to have expertise in all areas, and hence partnerships or companies are established to create practices able to offer a wider spectrum of surveying services.
We have worked in the property arena for 30 years and if we do not have the definitive solution to your problem or question we will research the matter for you.
Party Wall Surveyors
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 requires Building Owners to serve Notices on their neighbours when:
building on or up to a boundary line;
carrying out works to a wall or structure built on the boundary line;
excavating in close proximity to the neighbour’s property.
The Party Wall Act sets down the rights & duties of owners undertaking such works and provides protection to the Adjoining Owners.
The Party Wall Surveyor’s duty is to examine the proposed works, ensure that they are properly designed and are executed in a manner which is not likely to cause damage to adjoining buildings or property.
In the unlikely event damage does occur, the party wall surveyors can award damages so the adjoining owners property is protected.
The Party wall Act also grants rights of access to both party wall surveyors and to building owners, allowing surveyors to make all required inspections and allowing building owners and their builders rights of access, erecting of scaffolding etc on the adjoining owners’ land.
Roofs and Rainwater Fittings
Inspect your roof during wet and windy weather to decide if a damp ceiling patch is due to roof leakage and/or condensation. Debris on the ground (broken slates, tiles and so on) or daylight seen inside lofts indicate possible roof problems.
Defective rainwater fittings may be most obvious during heavy rain, but stains on walls and plant growth provide further clues. Don’t forget to check gulleys at ground level.
Condensation is diagnosed from diffuse areas of damp, beads of water droplets on hard shiny surfaces and mould growth on internal finishes. It is intermittent, like penetrating damp, but unrelated to wet weather.
Penetrating damp typically shows up as well-defined patches after heavy rain on south- and west-facing walls. Anticipate moisture ingress through hairline cracks in unsuitable hard, modern cement pointing or rendering.
Below ground moisture causing rising damp can extend up to 900mm above floor level, sometimes with a classic tidemark on finishes. Salts appear as white deposits but mould growth is rare.
Retrospective Damp Proof Courses:
- Inserted by cutting in or during rebuilding.
- Can cure rising damp but this drastic method is usually inappropriate.
- Drawbacks: possible major structural problems; potential damage to historic finishes internally; unsuitable for randomly coursed walls; access difficulties; deterioration sometimes of masonry below damp proof course where moisture is concentrated.
- Walls impregnated with chemical solution through holes at bottom to create waterproof barrier.
- Widely used today but not always appropriate for old buildings.
- Drawbacks: drilling holes inadvisable in flint, granite, etc; hard to form proper barrier in rubble walls with voids; holes unsightly; deterioration sometimes of masonry below damp proof course where moisture concentrated.
- Cost: typically £195/m (including replastering).
- Holes drilled to receive porous siphons approximately 50mm in diameter that absorb damp and evaporate it from each tube.
- Sound in theory but problems may occur in practice.
- Drawbacks: salt accumulation in tubes may increase moisture; air-flow sometimes inadequate; tubes commonly set in hard cement mortar; unsightly.
- Cost: typically 125/m.
- Electrical potential aimed at reducing capillary rise using electrodes bedded in wall.
- Cheap but dearth of evidence that electro-osmosis is effective and system rarely used today.
- Drawbacks: adjustment of current needed to match variations in damp along a wall usually impractical.
- An Austrian product presently under trial in the UK claims to inhibit the passage of water up a wall by inducing a local magnetic field. Achieved non-invasively with unit plugged into mains, typically in loft.
- Likely cost: £3,000/unit (one unit covers an average-sized house).
Scientific analysis can be an essential aid for accurately diagnosing a damp problem but the importance of your sight, feel and smell should not be undervalued. Tests include the use of electrical resistance and capacitance meters, on-site moisture testers, hygrometers and salt analysis.
Bear in mind though, that care must be taken when interpreting results. A frequent mistake is to diagnose rising damp purely on the basis of high electrical moisture meter readings. Elevated readings may indicate the presence of salts from past dampness or, if there are no salts, an on-going condensation or possible penetrating damp problem. Continued monitoring is often needed to establish the true cause of a damp problem.
Surveyors have a legal duty to follow a trail of suspicion. Regrettably, many still simply note the occurrence of high meter readings and pass on all responsibility for further investigation to remedial treatment contractors. These contractors have a vested commercial interest, encouraging over-specification. Should a mortgage company insist on work you believe is misguided, challenge this and consider obtaining a written report from an independent surveyor or architect.
Effective remedial measures depend on accurate diagnosis, but applying staged remedies can also be part of understanding the cause of a damp problem. Before deciding on more extensive work, the first remedy may involve nothing more than basic maintenance such as clearing a blocked rainwater gulley. Remedies will either cure dampness by addressing the cause (for example, improving drainage) or will manage it by treating the symptoms (changing washing or cooking habits, for instance).
Be sceptical of written guarantees, which are often loaded with get-out clauses and may have no insurance backing. The right approach from your contractor coupled with good workmanship is your best guarantee.
RICS Property Valuers
A red book valuation is the name that is given by practitioners to a valuation report that adheres to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor’s Valuation Professional Standards, also known as the Red Book.
The valuation standards are a set of mandatory rules and guidelines for RICS Registered Valuers to follow when they are undertaking valuations. They do not tell a Valuer how to value a property – that is left to the individual Valuer to use his or her training, experience and judgment – but they do set out the standards that should be followed.
The standards cover such subjects as ethics, duty of care, the qualifications of the valuer and the minimum content of a valuation report. Their aim is to ensure that the report received by a Client is prepared to the highest possible professional standards, that there are no conflicts of interest and, as only RICS Registered Valuers are permitted to undertake red book valuations, that it has been prepared by a suitably qualified practitioner.
Red book property valuations are the preferred form of valuation report for banks when contemplating secured lending, by HMRC for taxation, lawyers that are dealing with property disputes, accountants for capital accounting and charities that need to meet statutory requirements. These parties, organisations and institutions know that when they receive a red book report, the valuation figure is well considered, backed with robust commentary and evidence and will stand up to scrutiny.
Clients often ask what the difference is between a red book valuation and the free ‘valuation’ an estate agent provides prior to sale. Strictly speaking, these are not valuations and instead should be considered as marketing appraisals and are generally not sufficient for taxation, secured lending or accounting purposes. The reason for this is that the recipient cannot be entirely sure of the qualifications, objectivity and independence of the person undertaking this work, whereas with a red book valuation, the recipient knows that the party is a Registered Valuer and is required to undertake a set number of hours training every year and must adhere to the RICS’s high ethical standards. Valuation reports do not comment on defects other than to state the property appeared after a cursory inspection to be in good, reasonable or poor condition. Lofts are not inspected nor are damp meter readings taken.
Far more boundary disputes occur between the owners of two adjacent residential properties than between commercial neighbours. Residential landowners tend to tackle their disputes emotionally seeking perceived justice rather than rationally evaluating the situation considering amicable solutions to the boundary dispute.
This is where the experienced Boundary Dispute Surveyor comes into their own and can save clients many thousands in legal fees by good arbitration based upon sound legal principles.
Things to think about
If you have been arguing with your neighbour or having a boundary dispute try to follow these simple tips to avoid making matters worse:
- Stay calm and try not to get angry.
- Be reasonable. Listen to what your neighbour has to say and take it into account.
- Compromise. You have to live next to each other so it’s best to try and find a solution that suits both of you.
- Don’t do anything hasty. It’s easy to get angry when something is niggling you every day and it’s on your doorstep. However, doing things to spite or get back at your neighbour will only make matters worse and they’ll be less likely to listen to you if you’ve upset them.