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  • FIRST POST
    • GirlInKent
    • By GirlInKent 14th Apr 18, 8:37 AM
    • 11Posts
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    GirlInKent
    Worried about the Issues in the Structural Survey Report
    • #1
    • 14th Apr 18, 8:37 AM
    Worried about the Issues in the Structural Survey Report 14th Apr 18 at 8:37 AM
    Hi all, I am a FTB of a 1930s semi and had a Structural Survey (Building Survey) completed for my own piece of mind which has found some issues I was expecting issues as it’s almost a 90 year old property however, I’m particularly concerned about the below issues rated 3 (serious/need to be repaired urgently). Sorry about the long post, but can someone please help and let me know if these are major, if possible an estimated price to fix it, should I be negotiating the price (offered 7.5k above asking price) or is it something which would make you walk away?

    Roof coverings:
    The rear dormer has a flat felt roof coverings or ‘rolled roofing’. This flat felt roof covering appears to be of some age and could fail at any time.

    Slight sagging has occurred to the main roof covering, quite possibly owing to the provision of concrete tiles which would have been heavier than the original covering and possibly owing to the provision of Velux style windows. You may need to install additional support. Obtain an inspection by a structural engineer prior to purchase and carry out remedial work as/if necessary.

    Ceilings
    Damp staining to the rear single storey extension ceiling (where the mono pitched roof abuts the main external wall to the kitchen) suggests leakage from above. The most likely cause is leaking flashings where the roof covering abuts the main external wall. There is a second area of damp penetration to the wall/ceiling of the rear elevation of the single storey extension. Damp staining is noted to the kitchen celling above the cooker extractor fan.Damp staining is noted to the internal face of the dining room rear wall. We are advised that this has occurred owing to faulty rainwater goods above. All the same, the area is still damp and a high damp meter reading was taken.

    Walls and partitions
    High damp meter readings were taken to a very few of the internal faces of the main external walls and party walls.

    Electricity
    Test and inspection certificates have not been seen with regard to the electrical installation. You are advised to have sight of these. If relevant documentation is not available, you are advised to obtain a NIC EIC Registered Electrician's report prior to legal commitment to purchase.

    Mains electricity appears to be installed and the consumer unit is located within the cupboard under the stairs. We are not experts with regard to this matter, however, the consumer unit appears to comprise a modified version of the old rewireable type.

    The electric socket within the front left hand bedroom is coming away from the wall and the gap may allow fingers to come into contact with live terminals. This will not comply with current regulations and may comprise a category 1 failure.

    The fuse board, which appears to be in excess of 30 years old, is unlikely to comply with current IEE regulations.

    Gas/oil
    Test and inspection certificates have not been seen with regard to the gas installation. There is believed to be a mains gas supply and the meter is located in the cupboard under the stairs. In view of the complexity of regulations relating to gas, you are advised to obtain a gas safe heating engineer's report prior to legal commitment to purchase and undertake any remedial work that may be recommended.

    Heating
    The wall mounted gas fired boiler appears to be of some age. The boiler flue does not have a collar around it to the internal wall face and this may not comply with current regulations.
    The maintenance costs for the existing boiler will increase over time and many boilers may need replacing after 10 or 15 years.

    Rated 2:

    The chimney breast within the front living room has been fitted with a gas fire. Verify when this was installed and whether any transferable guarantees are available. Verify whether all notifiable work has been reported to the local Building Control department. Rake and repoint chimney stack in the short term.
    Some windows comprise an older style – aluminium double glazed construction. These could fail during the course of your ownership.

    Overhaul rainwater goods – some of which are leaking at the joints. Overhaul cast iron sections of rainwater goods and hopper heads. Replacement may be more economical in the long run. One such example is noted to the front elevation.

    The render finish is in contact with the ground – to the rear elevation and this may allow damp penetration to occur. If damp does occur to internal and floor surfaces, you are advised to hack back the render finish to 150mm above DPC level.

    The smoke detector appears to be of some age and should, ideally, be replaced with a system which is wired into the mains and interconnected. Obtain further advice from a suitably qualified electrician prior to purchase and carry out remedial work as recommended.
Page 1
    • SG27
    • By SG27 14th Apr 18, 12:43 PM
    • 2,063 Posts
    • 1,297 Thanks
    SG27
    • #2
    • 14th Apr 18, 12:43 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Apr 18, 12:43 PM
    That looks pretty good to me. Just general maintenance to keep on top of. You could always try your luck and knock some money off but I wouldn't hold your breath.
    • quantumlobster
    • By quantumlobster 14th Apr 18, 12:49 PM
    • 80 Posts
    • 144 Thanks
    quantumlobster
    • #3
    • 14th Apr 18, 12:49 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Apr 18, 12:49 PM
    If you're really concerned about whether the damp is a problem or not, get a damp survey done that involves more that just using a damp meter (which is really just a continuity tester, and can return positive readings for a number of non-damp-related reasons).
    • G_M
    • By G_M 14th Apr 18, 12:50 PM
    • 44,108 Posts
    • 52,291 Thanks
    G_M
    • #4
    • 14th Apr 18, 12:50 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Apr 18, 12:50 PM
    Depends what you were/are expecting.

    This is a property that requires some work: if you're happy to take on the work, fine. If you were expecting to move in to a perfect home and do nothing, think again.

    Having said that, the only significant issue is the roof support. Do you know how long ago the concrete tiles were laid on the roof? If recently, and the weight has already caused bowing, then extra support will be needed. If it was done 30 years ago and the roof has not yet collapsed, I wouldn't worry!

    But a Structural Engineer could advise (he's more specialist than a surveyor).
    • GirlInKent
    • By GirlInKent 14th Apr 18, 7:14 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    GirlInKent
    • #5
    • 14th Apr 18, 7:14 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Apr 18, 7:14 PM
    Thanks for the replies. Yes, I'm mostly concerned about the roof and the damp.

    When we visited the house (twice), we couldn't see even the 'slight' sagging and there certainly isn't any bowing (not mentioned even in the report). I'm not aware exactly when the concrete tiles were laid - definitely not in the tenor of our vendor (15 years). I'm worried because the loft was converted in 2000 - so that may have caused some alteration to the roof possibly? Of course we will see the structural engineer recommendation, if we need a re-roofing - how much roughly will it cost for a 4 bed terraced house?
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 14th Apr 18, 7:21 PM
    • 25,025 Posts
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    Doozergirl
    • #6
    • 14th Apr 18, 7:21 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Apr 18, 7:21 PM
    You probably wouldn't need to re-roof the main house. The cheapest way to deal with it would be additional support needed inside the roof. The sagging happens over the course of a long time. If the neighbours have slate roofs and this house has chunky concrete then sagging is incredibly common. The support shouldn't be massively expensive.

    It's the flat roof at the back that sounds like it needs replacing soon. Choose EDPM instead of the felt that exists. The general condition of the flat roof, rainwater goods and flashing is what is causing the extension problems.

    Your surveyor has identified a potential main reason for any dampness. The render has been taken all the way down to the floor when it isn't supposed to cross the damp proof course. It needs chopping up to just above DPC and re-finishing with bell bead to keep any drips away from the top of the DPC. Not a hugely expensive project, but one that should be undertaken. Ditto if the paving comes right up to the wall. It should be cut back.

    These readings aren't a sure sign of any major problem.

    I would be engaging a structral engineer, renegotiating the price of a new flat roof and some remedial work. The survey does talk about old style frames in the windows. You were expectig some level of project? I'm wondering how ameniable the vendor will be to required works. Still getting more than asking price isn't exactly a hardship though.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 14-04-2018 at 7:27 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 14th Apr 18, 8:04 PM
    • 44,108 Posts
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    G_M
    • #7
    • 14th Apr 18, 8:04 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Apr 18, 8:04 PM
    .... I'm not aware exactly when the concrete tiles were laid - definitely not in the tenor of our vendor
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    Perhaps the sagging is nothing to do with the tiles. Could it have been caused by vibration?

    Provided you are not a professional singer yourself, there should be no increase in the sagging once you move in.
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 14th Apr 18, 9:08 PM
    • 8,070 Posts
    • 8,922 Thanks
    Owain Moneysaver
    • #8
    • 14th Apr 18, 9:08 PM
    • #8
    • 14th Apr 18, 9:08 PM
    The rear dormer has a flat felt roof coverings or ‘rolled roofing’. This flat felt roof covering appears to be of some age and could fail at any time.
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    Stating the bleeding obvious. This is standard text pasted in whenever the surveyor sees a flat roof.

    Slight sagging has occurred to the main roof covering, quite possibly owing to the provision of concrete tiles which would have been heavier than the original covering and possibly owing to the provision of Velux style windows. You may need to install additional support. Obtain an inspection by a structural engineer prior to purchase and carry out remedial work as/if necessary.
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    Is there Building Regs approval for the Velux style windows? Is there a planning approval for the change of roof materials? I note you go on to say there is a loft conversion. You should insist on Building Regs approval or if not available consider whether to walk away. A loft conversion done incompetently could cause the whole house to collapse and will cost a lot more to remedy than it would ever add value to the house.

    Damp staining to the rear single storey extension ceiling (where the mono pitched roof abuts the main external wall to the kitchen) suggests leakage from above. The most likely cause is leaking flashings where the roof covering abuts the main external wall.
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    Leaky flashings and rainwater goods will do that.

    High damp meter readings were taken to a very few of the internal faces of the main external walls and party walls.
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    Pointless. Damp meters are calibrated for measuring moisure in seasoned wood, not walls.

    Test and inspection certificates have not been seen with regard to the electrical installation. You are advised to have sight of these. If relevant documentation is not available, you are advised to obtain a NIC EIC Registered Electrician's report prior to legal commitment to purchase.
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    The scheme is called NICEIC and there are other Competent Persons' schemes available. It is quite likely there are no electrical certificates. This is normal. Any work before 2008 wasn't required to be carried out to BS7671 notified to Building Control under Part P of the Building Regulations.

    Mains electricity appears to be installed and the consumer unit is located within the cupboard under the stairs. We are not experts with regard to this matter, however, the consumer unit appears to comprise a modified version of the old rewireable type.
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    Not unusual, and not necessarily a problem. However an installation of this type is likely to be of an age where at last partial rewiring is advisable.

    The electric socket within the front left hand bedroom is coming away from the wall and the gap may allow fingers to come into contact with live terminals. This will not comply with current regulations and may comprise a category 1 failure.
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    That will need to be fixed, then. It might just need the faceplate screws tightening.

    The fuse board, which appears to be in excess of 30 years old, is unlikely to comply with current IEE regulations.
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    It won't. The IEE Regulations haven't existed since 2006 when the IEE became the IET. And most installations won't comply with current IET regulations especially as 17th Edition Amendment 3 was released, and 18th Edition will come in July 2018.

    The surveyor need to update his boilerplate text.

    Some windows comprise an older style – aluminium double glazed construction. These could fail during the course of your ownership.
    Originally posted by GirlInKent
    They could, but then so could any type of window of any age.
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • maisie cat
    • By maisie cat 15th Apr 18, 10:01 AM
    • 397 Posts
    • 473 Thanks
    maisie cat
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 18, 10:01 AM
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 18, 10:01 AM
    I've noticed something that comes up on these surveys. The items that are marked immediate attention are not actual problems necessarily, but that immediate action should be taken to establish if there a problem.
    I love the "this could fail at any time" and "may not comply with current regs" lines, stating the bleeding obvious. A 90 year old house will have had modifications over the yeas and I'm guessing is priced to allow for the obvious updates required. Just ensure that you allow for update and maintenance in the first year
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 15th Apr 18, 12:07 PM
    • 25,025 Posts
    • 68,506 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    I've noticed something that comes up on these surveys. The items that are marked immediate attention are not actual problems necessarily, but that immediate action should be taken to establish if there a problem.
    I love the "this could fail at any time" and "may not comply with current regs" lines, stating the bleeding obvious. A 90 year old house will have had modifications over the yeas and I'm guessing is priced to allow for the obvious updates required. Just ensure that you allow for update and maintenance in the first year
    Originally posted by maisie cat
    Whatever the attention is, it should be paid immediately. They are all immediate actions to make before purchasing if you want to be certain that you are paying correctly. A surveyor is qualified to look at a building and make observations and signpost accordingly to other qualified people. Buyers, in the vast majority don't have the electrics or gas fittings checked over properly before purchase. But they should. See how many people come on to this board with their buyers complaining after completion of broken boilers!

    Felt flat roofs are short life span items and do need to be replaced because they deteriorate in sunlight and sections overlap and fail. If a surveyor says "it is aged" and "it could fail at any time" and you have water staining on the underside then it's actually pretty clear that it does need replacing. On some level it is already failed. That may not be obvious to the person buying the house as they've come to us, worried. The person selling it says it's dodgy guttering, now fixed.

    Why people on this board say 'nah, it's just maintenance' when you have a clearly problematic roof, or 'no one's consumer unit is up to date' I have no idea. Some are going to be worse than others and dismissing it isn't particularly helpful to buyers.

    A good survey is there to tell people both about the immediate risks and the longer term problems. Buyers should not panic, but they should take the advice given in the survey if they commission one. It is a working document, not something for the filing cabinet.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 15-04-2018 at 12:13 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
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