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    • kwackerUK
    • By kwackerUK 8th Sep 16, 10:52 PM
    • 9Posts
    • 0Thanks
    RICS Building Survey
    • #1
    • 8th Sep 16, 10:52 PM
    RICS Building Survey 8th Sep 16 at 10:52 PM
    Hello MSE,

    Need some advice regarding a RICS Building Survey that was carried on on a property we purchased. The survey cost £425. The details the survey provided were as follows:
    The most comprehensive report for home buyers
    Detailed property inspection
    Comprehensive structural report on the condition
    Ideal for older, period or large and unusual homes
    Advice and analysis of defects, repairs and ongoing maintenance
    Issues that need to be investigated to prevent further problems

    Part of the report was to inspect the external oil storage tank. The completed RICS report gave the following opinion: There are no indications of urgent or significant defects. Normal maintenance should be undertaken. Condition Rating 1.

    From reading this, we felt we would have no issues with the external tank.

    However, on moving in, we filled the tank up with fuel and noticed a slight leak on the valve at the front of the tank. We then cleared the area around the front of the tank of old garden waste and moved a pallet and waste bins that had been left in this area (which is also evident in the RICS report photos and most probably left to hide the oil leak), we noticed that a major leak had occurred in the past and that the tank was still leaking oil.

    This leak was evident on the the walls on the side of the building as well as under the tank and on the brick work supporting the tank. You would have thought this would have been picked up by the surveyor.

    However, things got worse. When we turned the cold water taps on in the morning, we could smell oil. We contacted Anglian water who took water samples. Today we got the result that our water supply was contaminated and is now condemned. The water board have also contacted the Environmental Agency as the soil around the tank is heavily contaminated.

    We now face a massive bill to replace our mains water supply which runs under the oil tank. £3000 bill to purchase a new oil tank, have the 2400ltrs transferred and the old tank disposed of. We will also be looking forward to the massive bill we will be hit with to remove the contaminated soil and have it disposed of.

    What annoys me the most is this leak has been going on for years. The water supply has been contaminated for years. The sellers knew about this and also knew we were moving into the property with 1 and 6yr kids. We gave our kids this water every day. How low can people get. My wife is in tears as she gave our kids contaminated water every day.

    If the sign of a leak had been picked up by the surveyor, we would have had it investigated before exchanging.

    How could this have been missed.

    So where do i stand with this? Do i have a case to sue the surveyor?

    I would post pictures but as a new user, i can't.

    Thanking you all for any advice.

Page 2
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 14th Sep 16, 6:56 PM
    • 20,403 Posts
    • 82,992 Thanks
    OK so oil can contaminate a mains supply, if the leak has existed long enough and is in sufficient quantity to rot the plastic pipe.

    This proves that a substantial leak existed prior to exchange, which might be useful if you go after the sellers. You only need to prove on the balance of probabilities that they knew of the leak.

    Have you anything in writing from those who have inspected the tank since the leak wasspotted?
    'You have to think anyway, so why not think big?' Donald Trump
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 14th Sep 16, 7:58 PM
    • 789 Posts
    • 511 Thanks
    A new oil tank is between £500 and £1000 plus installation. You only need to replace the damaged section of water pipe not the full 30 metres (unless all 30 metres is damaged).

    Probably no more than £2000 all in.

    Whilst it would be tempting to go after the lying vendors sometimes a more pragmatic approach is best. Who needs all the expense hassle and uncertain outcome taking them to court for a relatively modest amount.

    I think the surveyor is in the clear, from your own description you had to clear vegetation and items to inspect the tank so the surveyor has that in his defence. However the surveyor should have made the restricted access clear in his report and qualified his advice accordingly, it is therefore probably still worth going through the official complaints procedure and potentially the ombudsman scheme as it is free and for such a small amount they may settle rather than try to fight it.
    • karlos the jackal
    • By karlos the jackal 14th Sep 16, 11:05 PM
    • 32 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    karlos the jackal
    I used to work for a water company and I came across a handful of cases where oil or petrol had contaminated a property's mains water. Often it was the result of theft where some scrotes had cut a fuel line on a vehicle and caused a spillage, but a few were caused by leaking heating oil.

    If you ever replace a tank, I would recommend a bunded oil tank even if regulations don't require it.
    • kwackerUK
    • By kwackerUK 15th Sep 16, 8:52 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    We have been informed by our insurance company that we are not covered as it's pretty clear the leak occurred before we moved into the property. Just waiting for full details in writing before we appoint a solicitor.

    Not looking forward to this.

    teneighty: We currently have a 2700ltr steel tank raised on 2 brick pillars. It still has 2500ltrs in it. The quotes we have been given for a new tank in a new location, fuel transfer, concrete pad, disposal etc are upwards of £2500. I would have to sell some of the fuel off to get a smaller tank or purchase a 2500ltr tank.

    We were hoping to keep the tank where it is as it's in an ideal position (requires a brick wall being built between tank and garage door for a firewall) but chances are, we will need the tank moving to clear up the contamination.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 15th Sep 16, 9:55 AM
    • 3,610 Posts
    • 3,149 Thanks
    We have been informed by our insurance company that we are not covered
    Originally posted by kwackerUK
    Have you actually read your policy to check whether or not you're covered? (or got somebody else to do so if you don't understand it). What about legal protection for pursuing action against the sellers?

    I wouldn't rely on what "advice" the insurers give you about your policy (they would say they don't have to pay out, wouldn't they?).
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 15th Sep 16, 12:17 PM
    • 1,508 Posts
    • 2,496 Thanks
    I really feel for you, too. What a horrible thing to happen. If you have no legal cover with your insurance, many firms of solicitors offer a free half-hour's consultation.

    If Judge Rinder were to hear of this I imagine, with the evidence you have, he would have a field day with your vendors. I really hope you or someone gets some redress from them for you. They have clearly lied in writing if they "knew of no issues with the tank". Even I can see there are issues and I am not the most observant.

    Best of luck.
    What is this life, if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?

    Every stew starts with the first onion.

    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • kwackerUK
    • By kwackerUK 11th Oct 16, 5:22 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    New Update...

    So here is an update to this mess.

    Insurance company = No hope. Not willing to help claim through the sellers insurance either.

    We contacted a solicitor about getting the sellers to claim off their insurance but was told we can't prove the sellers knew about the issues!! If we wanted to go ahead, it would cost £2500 just to go through the paperwork alone with no guarantee we would win.

    We also asked about claiming against the surveyor, but again, chances are the surveyor will state it's not his job to move stuff (bins) to inspect the area. However, we will try.

    We also asked the seller in person, but was told we didn't stand a chance in claiming off his insurance. This was followed by shouting etc

    So now we have to foot the bill.

    We got in contact with spill company who visited site and took some samples. We received the quote today:

    £6000 to visit site 7 times, take samples, 2 x 8ton skips and disposal. We were also told we would have to get a building surveyor in as the brickwork has signs of contamination and will need to be replaced.

    The labour to destroy the tank supports and dig down to remove the soil will have to be done by myself.

    So that's £6000 for the above, £2500 for new tank, transfer, fittings and disposal. I'm hoping it will cost £200 to replace the mains water but have been told it's £500 just for the pipe alone(min 50m). Cost of back filling, hard-core and new concrete base ?. Plus, £1000 for some bloke to say the brick work needs replacing, and then a massive bill to do it. Lets hope the foundations are ok.

    So I need some advice.

    Anyone know of a company that can take soil samples so I can send off to a skip company to get a quote?

    How many samples are needed to get a measurement for the skip company (current £60+ per sample).

    From what I have seen from digging down, the foundations look to be ok. Need to remove the concrete base and pillars to get the full picture.

    Do I have to replace the stained brickwork? Thousands of pounds just to replace 20 or so bricks

    And I thought moving into your dream home was meant to be fun

    Oh well.
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