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    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 7th Aug 18, 11:16 PM
    • 311Posts
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    YoungBlueEyes
    Building Survey has me worried!
    • #1
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:16 PM
    Building Survey has me worried! 7th Aug 18 at 11:16 PM
    Evening everyone. I'd like some advice and opinions please.

    I've had an offer accepted on a house I like. My surveyor went round yesterday and I got the survey results by email this afternoon. I'll ring him tomorrow so I can ask him all about it.

    I've read a lot of threads on here about survey results, so I'd like to think I can spot a load of 4rse covering from a major problem, and I think this survey has both. I'd be grateful if any seasoned buyers could tell me what you think. (I haven't included all the 'paint your paintwork and clean your gutters' bits, this will be long enough as it is ha haa!)

    It's a mid terrace in a Derbyshire town. Ex-rental, empty now. The downstairs layout is living room - dining room - kitchen. Upstairs, it was a 3 bed and bathroom, now it's 2 beds and bathroom and an attic room.


    Outside the property.
    Chimney stack - Condition Rating 1) Chimney stack is leaning. At present this is small movement, however this problem can get worse so it should be periodically inspected and you should plan to have the chimney rebuilt at a future time.
    Roof coverings - Condition Rating 2) The chimney breast is bowing slightly. The mortar along the edge of the roof (verge) is damaged in several locations. Adjacent parts of the roof covering may have to be disturbed to repair the verge tiles. Some of the verges sit on tiles that may contain asbestos. You should get advice from a specialist contractor etc.
    The mortar along the top of the roof (ridge) is damaged in several locations. Adjacent parts of the roof covering may have to be disturbed to repair the ridge tiles. ....Specialist contractor etc....
    Mineral felt coverings to flat roofs typically have a lifespan of 15-20 years and this roof is approaching that. You may need to recover it soon. Water is pooling on the flat roof and this shortens the life cycle of the materials.
    There are also a few chipped tiles to the main roof.
    Main WallsCR2) The outside wall has been repaired and this indicates that movement has previously affected the building. You should ask you insurance company if these past problems would affect your ability to get insurance cover for this property.
    The DPC is too close to ground level. There should be a gap of 150mm and you will need to lower the path to this level to reduce the damp inside.
    The sealant between the window frames and masonry is shrinking in places, leaving gaps.
    There are signs of minor movement under the kitchen window. You will need to have the damaged mortar repointed soon.
    The walls have been injected with a chemical DPC which is a sign the property has suffered from issues with damp. This is often an inadequate management solution for damp.

    Roof Structure CR3) - The purlins were not designed to take the weight of the interlocking concrete tiles and this has caused some bowing to the lurlins and rafters. You should ask a suitably qualified person to inspect and provide you with recommendations. Further investigation required.
    The attic conversion does not meet Building Regulations. For example there are no escape windows, there is no interlinked fire detection on each floor. the doors do not have self closers allowing access to a smoke free corridor in the event of a fire and the attic opens onto the stair/hallway.
    There are signs of woodworm and wood rot in the small hole over the bathroom ceiling. You should have some access panels fitted both here and to the main attic, so that the timbers can be inspected. The laths in the ceilings are damaged.

    I'll shorten some of the next bits cos this is going to be longer than I thought, and I don't want it to be too long for people to read!)
    Inside the property
    Ceilings CR2) Textured ceiling coating - asbestos fibres - if disturbed they could be a safety hazard... ..... asbestos specialist....
    There are a number of cracks to the ceilings, probably as a result of movement to the house as well as loose flooring above.
    The precise longevity of lath and plaster ceilings is difficult to determine and such ceilings are prone to failure.... ... Specialist required...
    Walls and partitions CR2)There are some high moisture readings to the walls. Once you have remedied the damp you will need to replace the damaged plaster. The dampness is mainly around the kitchen as well as the internal walls between the living rooms and around the chimney breasts. Some sections of the party wall are also damp.
    There are a number of cracks throughout the house and these will have been caused by both movement to the house and damage from the replacement window frames.
    A supporting wall has been removed from the kitchen. ...ask solic to confirm.... building regs certificate...
    In older properties, the original plaster can dry out and start to crack. When this happens it can become detached from the wall behind and additional plastering is required. The wall sounds hollow when tapped. In these cases you should plan for additional repairs as the plaster needs taking back to the masonry before being boarded and skimmed. Large sections of plasterwork are hollow when tapped, especially the front bedroom.
    A rear section of the kitchen has been panelled over. This wall is very damp and that is probably why it has been covered over.

    Floors CR2) Some of the floors are sloping. This has been caused by longstanding building movement.
    Floors of the type to the kitchen rely on moisture gradually passing through the floor and evaporating harmlessly in a well ventilated property. There are some high moisture readings to parts of the kitchen floor and this would help account for the broken tiles. Where the skirting boards are touching the damp walls, moisture is leeching through.
    CR3) Over time, the wood to floors can shrink and split loosening the various joints causing the boards to creak and move. You should overhaul and repair the floorboards soon.
    Parts of the ground floor (rear living room) appear to be lifting in areas where the concrete sub floor has cracked and lifted. Sometimes this is caused by a sulfate attack. The problem occurs when the hardcore underneath the slab contains high levels of sulphates and migrate into the concrete. The sulphates react with the concrete causing it to expand. This results in heave of the slab and can cause structural damage to the external walls as the slab pushes them out. Eventually the concrete will disintegrate. When the slab heaves. any internal walls built off the slab will be lifted and cause damage to the structure above. Further investigation required. Please note that the central area of this floor is also very wet.

    Fireplaces, chimney breasts and flues CR3) All heating appliances are connected to a flue pipe that allows combustion gases to escape safely and the heating appliance to work efficiently. If you want to use the old fireplaces, new flue liners may be required.
    Some of the void chimneys so not have air bricks in them. ...fit one to avoid damp....
    The chimney breast has been removed from the kitchen. ...get a specialist in..... This may involve removing parts of the floor and wall, so you should discuss this with the property owner.

    Woodwork CR2) Some of the internal doors do not close correctly.
    There are high moisture readings to the skirting boards. Please note that where timbers sit in or against damp walls, there is the possibility of wet or dry rot taking hold and not being noticeable for some time.

    Heating CR3) The system runs on micro bore pipes and these are prone to damage. Once they have been bent, even slightly, the flow around the system can be compromised. .....specialist required....
    There was a fault on the boiler.

    Drainage CR2) The drain from this property passes through the land belonging to the neighbour and a legal agreement should cover this. ....Ask your solic to check this...
    The inspection cover is corroded and needs replacing.
    Permanent outbuildings and other structures CR2) I recommend that you fit some ACO style drains to carry away surface water that may pool inplaces.
    The stone boundry wall at the front is on the neighbouring property.

    Regulations The property is in a World Heritage Buffer Zone and a Smoke Control Zone. ...Ask your solic to confirm and explain...

    Risks to the building The property is affected by dampness but I could not identify the cause.
    The property is affected by building movement but I could not identify the cause.

    Risks to the ground The property is in an area where coal has been extracted. This can damage the buildings surface.

    Risks to people In this part of the country a naturally occurring and invisible radioactive gas called radon can build up in properties. This can be a safety hazard.
    Parts of the property may contain asbestos.... safety hazard.
    Unsupported masonry is a hazard.


    I appreciate this is a long thread, so thank you everyone that read it to the end! My question is - which parts if this shout 'major money and work required!', and which are attributable to most 100 year old terraces? I'm most concerned about the roof, the "very wet" floor in the dining room, and the height of the DPC. Is it a major job to have the concrete outside lowered?

    Thank you for your patience and replies
Page 1
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 7th Aug 18, 11:37 PM
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    Doozergirl
    • #2
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:37 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:37 PM
    Were you expecting a project? You have bought one.

    Is this a mortgage valuation or an independent survey? The mortgage company may have issues as he is highlighting movement in a lot of places.

    It doesn't surprise me that it is ex-rental as it reads like one. Poorly maintained, bodged and allowed to deteriorate.

    The plaster has blown off the walls. Major job.

    They've replaced roof tiles with the wrong sort - roof probably needs some structural bracing. The roof covering is poorly maintained and needs at least some remedial work to prevent water ingress.

    The flat roof isn't entirely fit for purpose if water is pooling.

    Your solid floor slab has lifted - he's pointed out one theory, the other is probably the movement that the house has suffered. This has potential to cause some damp.

    They've made attempts to hide the problems.

    Lowering the concrete outside isn't a massive job, the DPC injection is useless, as always, as the 'damp specialist' hasn't actually looked at causes (lack of ventilation to chimneys, leaky guttering, the breached original DPC) just sold a DPC.

    It's really hard to offer comprehensive advice on a survey like this wirhout spending hours, like the surveyor you've paid. Advice on this forum seem to be to take them with a pinch of salt and the phrase 'ar5e covering' gets banded about like it's going out of fashion, but these are working documents for the period of your ownership. A lot of your items do need immediate attention, some don't, but nothing on a survey gets better over time without intervention. The surveyor guides you to speak to relevant professionals about the issues that pop up, although this one's actually done a pretty good job of giving some advice.

    That is not a good survey in my mind. As I said, are you expecting a project and is this your mortgage valuation also?
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • grayfox
    • By grayfox 7th Aug 18, 11:39 PM
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    grayfox
    • #3
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:39 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Aug 18, 11:39 PM
    Doesn't the surveyor advise if it's worth going ahead with the purchase or not as part of the report? If you don't feel good about it go with your gut and pull out.



    To me the building will need a lot of work which will cost a lot in the long run.
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 8th Aug 18, 12:05 AM
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    YoungBlueEyes
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:05 AM
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:05 AM
    Thanks both for your quick replies.

    No it's not a mortgage valuation. I'm a cash buyer, but as this will be the first house I've bought on my own I wanted a full survey doing so I know what I'm (possibly) buying.

    I wasn't intentionally looking for a project, but with my (small finite) budget I think I'll have to accept an amount of work. Other than titivating I mean.

    He doesn't advise to go ahead or not, but I'll ask him that tomorrow. I think because I've read so many posts on here about what people's surveys say I'm not freaked out by it. The few other houses that I liked that are in my budget are in a better state themselves but in a worse location. So this is a better compromise imo.

    When I spoke to the woman on the phone about looking for a surveyor, I explained my situation - I'm not from the area, never bought a house before, not even sure half these questions fall within his remit, but please do me a report like you're speaking to a 10 year old! - and she said she'd pass that along to the surveyor (Hugh). I wanted opinions on all kinds of things because I'm new to this so I wanted a really good and in-depth 'to do list'. Parts of this seem like more of a major jobber to me though. Not what I was after but I'll probably run into it again and again due to my budget.

    I read on here all the time that you should buy in a good location as most things in a house can be sorted, which this house is. I'm wondering if I've bitten off more than I can chew though...

    My plan is to ring Hugh tomorrow for a good talk, and ring the EA to see if the vendor will meet me half way with the cost of the works. If shes amenable I'll get some fellahs organised with quotes.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Aug 18, 12:20 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:20 AM
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:20 AM
    Ask your surveyor how much he thinks needs spending. And ask him if he would buy it, were he you.

    If you do buy it, come to the In My Home
    Board and we'll look for the genuine reasons and resolutions for the damp and at other issues one by one, but I think you need to be satisfied that it provides adequate security for mortgage for your own sake in the future.

    Personally, I think you'd be better off taking on a quantifiable amount of debt in a mortgage than taking on an unquantifiable amount of work in this house. There will be something else though, there always is. Preferably something owner occupied that has had at least some love.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Aug 18, 12:22 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:22 AM
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:22 AM
    Oh, I missed the attic room. It's unsafe! So it's a 2 bed. If you read any of my previous posts about building regulations and loft conversions then you'll see that I'm pretty pragmatic, but this baby falls well short of expectations and probably doesn't even have proper insulation, given the state of the roof as well.

    I've seen it all and I know that everything can be fixed, but really, I think this house is a money pit and you're better off walking away from it. It going to cost a fortune.

    How much are you paying for it and are you going to see that money you spend on it back? I doubt it if you didn't know that this was a project.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 08-08-2018 at 12:26 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 8th Aug 18, 12:34 AM
    • 311 Posts
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    YoungBlueEyes
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:34 AM
    • #7
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:34 AM
    I can't get a mortgage, I can't even get a credit card ha haa! I was my father's carer for a lot of years and had to give up work to look after him. So I'm unemployed for now, no money coming in, I'm living off my savings. Hence the "small finite budget" line. (Funnily enough my credit rating is 998, but I'd only a tiny % chance of being accepted for it - I applied and was rejected because.... no money coming in.)

    He's written a list of works and approx costs - it comes to over 12k. Most of that is purlins/rafters, sort ground floor damp = plaster/board/skim, digging out and relaying the rear floor. wiring, and plastering other rooms.

    I'm hoping the vendor will agree that it's proper work needing doing and not just a picky FTB, and will meet some of the costs. She'll keep running into this problem with other prospective buyers I'd imagine, so she might just agree so she can get her cash out of the property. The EA did say she's looking to off-load it as she's reducing her portfolio... we'll see.
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 8th Aug 18, 12:38 AM
    • 311 Posts
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    YoungBlueEyes
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:38 AM
    • #8
    • 8th Aug 18, 12:38 AM
    Yeah I've read lots of your posts, you're half the reason I'm not totally freaked out

    I was talking to a builder friend today re the attic. He said if it was hot up there then it's not properly insulated, just that one room could cost a bunch of money on it's own.

    It was on for 135k to start, now it's 125k, I got it for 120k. I'm not looking to make money on it per se, I'm after a home to live in for years and years.

    https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-70225607.html
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Aug 18, 1:14 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 1:14 AM
    • #9
    • 8th Aug 18, 1:14 AM
    It's fine that you want to live in it for years and years, but no one wants to lose money either.

    Chat to the surveyor tomorrow but I think you're paying the going rate for a 2 bed, looking at previous sales, with plenty of money to be spent.

    On the face of it, it looks okay - fresh paint and flooring, but it disguises issues where true value lies.

    There's barely any plug sockets in the house, not a lot of evidence of sufficiently sized radiators. The lack of plug sockets will drive you nuts, so you must go for an element of rewire. That's when the plaster falls off the walls and you end up back to brick.

    This end of the market depresses me a bit as there's nowhere to go when a place needs work - asking prices don't reflect the true value of work needed.

    Tell us what the surveyor says. I know what my gut says - I wouldn't touch it.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 08-08-2018 at 1:16 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 8th Aug 18, 1:23 AM
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    YoungBlueEyes
    I will update with Hugh's + EA's + vendor's replies tomorrow.

    I'm going back to house-hunting though, just in case...
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 8th Aug 18, 11:53 AM
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    FreeBear
    On the face of it, it looks okay - fresh paint and flooring, but it disguises issues where true value lies.
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    Modern skirting board which is a real disappointment.... All those air vents in the exterior wall & chimney breast will produce a chill wind in the winter (can't help think that they are over sized). Oh, and you will hate that electric hob in very short time.

    Unless you have a healthy budget and/or the skills to do the work, I'd agree with Dozergirl - Walk away and look for something else.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • Teasedale
    • By Teasedale 8th Aug 18, 12:13 PM
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    Teasedale
    Evening everyone. I'd like some advice and opinions please.
    Originally posted by YoungBlueEyes
    I've bought and sold a few properties and have had a bit to do with surveys. I sould hazard a guess that the building described is not a house, but a career.

    Unless the location is unutterably splendid, I suggest "don't"!
    • armchaireconomist
    • By armchaireconomist 8th Aug 18, 12:34 PM
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    armchaireconomist
    In all honesty it doesn't sound too bad, quite a lot of work but nothing catastrophic (but you should be asking yourself if it's something you're willing to take on, and don't be surprised if you uncover more surprises needing ).


    I'd be worried about that chimney, though. Could be coincidence, but the removal of the chimney breast in kitchen on a poorly maintained property could be why your chimney is leaning at roof level (indicating a structural issue - is there evidence of steels where the chimney would've been?)
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Aug 18, 12:57 PM
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    Doozergirl
    In all honesty it doesn't sound too bad, quite a lot of work but nothing catastrophic (but you should be asking yourself if it's something you're willing to take on, and don't be surprised if you uncover more surprises needing ).


    I'd be worried about that chimney, though. Could be coincidence, but the removal of the chimney breast in kitchen on a poorly maintained property could be why your chimney is leaning at roof level (indicating a structural issue - is there evidence of steels where the chimney would've been?)
    Originally posted by armchaireconomist
    The surveyor's already pointed out a fair bit of movement and deflection in the building, but the chimney stack itself isn't an indication of anything with the main house, it's just its own problem.

    It's Victorian, it's been up there, quite small, subjected to the elements on all four sides for over a century and inles sit's already been pointed up and maintained, the mortar breaks down and the chimney starts to lean. It's really common. Most people don't look at their chimneys at all really, unless they start leaking or a bird nests in it.

    I think the surveyor has done a great job of uncovering many surprises. I can't think of many more that he could highlight if it were a game of survey bingo!
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 8th Aug 18, 1:11 PM
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    YoungBlueEyes
    I didn't see any evidence of steels no...

    The surveyor is ringing me back to go through it all. The EA doesn't think the vendor will come down any further (I've already knocked a good bit off the AP) but he's ringing her and getting back to me.

    I've spoken to a few more people this morning while I was taking the dogs out. A lot of the dog walkers round here are seasoned/more experienced and they all but one said it's a no go for me. Too much work + too dear + likely to uncover more problems once it's started. My friend Marcus (plumber + sparky, very competent type) said it isn't majorly bad, and suggested some corners to cut for costs. Eg a good builder is usually a decent plasterer so that'll save a bit.

    I've started househunting again but not having a lot of luck finding anything...
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 8th Aug 18, 1:30 PM
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    Hoploz
    I'd be concerned as work needs doing ... Which always costs more than you think it's going to and often other things are uncovered ... And you have no income.
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 8th Aug 18, 9:59 PM
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    YoungBlueEyes
    I've had a good long chat to Hugh the surveyor. In a nutshell he said "it's a reasonable proposition for purchase". Would you let your daughter spend 120k to buy it? "Yeah there's nothing majorly wrong with it that can't be fixed. As long as the roof/purlins/rafters and rear floor were properly sorted, it's not a bad little house".

    He isn't worried about the movement as it's not recent. Sorting the damp out (rear floor etc) and properly heating and ventilating the place will go a long way to sorting the damp walls. Replastering would be an idea but not desperately needed in the short term. The flat roof is "not a concern", a bit of bitumen or a few hundred quid would see it right. Presuming the woodworm are active would be a few thousand at worst, but that might not be needed (get a specialist etc). Lowering the concrete in the rear yard is not a massive job either - poss a couple of hundred quid ish.

    So the big instant jobs are the roof and the attic - building regs + insulation and bigger windows so folk can get out in a fire - and the rear floor sorted and relaid, and sort the drainage out the back, the rest is to do but not desperately. He thinks 120k is about right if the work was done.

    I think I'm for walking away, my gut says that there'll be more and more issues the more work I do to the place. I think if I spent a bunch of money sorting it all out I wouldn't get it back if I sold up.

    I haven't heard back from the vendor, I've a feeling she'll say no as I've already had 15k off.

    Aaand it's back to house hunting....

    Thanks everyone for your helpful replies, I'm very grateful.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 8th Aug 18, 10:16 PM
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    Doozergirl
    I'm sorry

    Hugh sounds like a keeper though.

    There will be something else. Similar price, little less work.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 8th Aug 18, 10:21 PM
    • 311 Posts
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    YoungBlueEyes
    Yeah I'll certainly use him again. Lovely candid guy.

    One thing I forgot to put in my last post was that all the major things that are wrong with this house would have come up on a homebuyers survey. I didn't really need a full jobber. Live and learn!

    I'm looking round slightly worse areas now. Apparently Belper is really very nice, so I can come down the scale a little and still be in a decent area. I'll find something.
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