Why do I need a Building Survey?

publication date: Feb 8, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Why do I need a Building Survey?

It’s unusual to start an article with a question, but here goes. Why do buyers think it’s OK to buy a home without an independent survey, but won’t buy a car without an MOT?  If this is you, please email your answers to me at enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk!

However, perhaps it’ll help if I explain some of the things that surveyors have picked up on properties I have bought and how much it’s saved me financially – and making sure the home I buy is safe to live in!

Dodgy Roof Structure
In several homes I’ve bought, the roof space has been changed and as a result the chimney stack isn’t supported properly. So the bricks are there right to the roof, but nothing has been put in place to support them, so they could fall at any time. The cost of this is around £1,000 or more, so worth getting the vendor to pay for!

Dangerous Damp
Most homes should have a damp course which stops water rising from the ground into the walls. Damp causes no end of problems and if you buy a home without knowing about it, it’s likely to cost over £2,500 to get a new one put in.

In one of the homes I bought the damp course was missing from the dining room and it didn’t just cost over £500 to get it fixed, but the plaster on the walls had to be cut back to a metre high all around the room, ruining any paintwork that had been done, causing a lot of mess and the chap who did it also managed to cut through our gas pipe! Good job the surveyor had picked it up and the work was done before we completed and paid for by the vendor!

Windows Falling In!
Another saving by the surveyor was thanks to him picking up a problem with the windows on another home I was about to buy. The windows were in an old home (100 years plus) and the previous owner had taken out the old wooden windows and put in new plastic double glazed ones. The problem with this ‘upgrade’ is that the plastic windows are not strong enough to support the brick/stone about the window; as a result the brick/stone work had begun to sag, causing cracks around the window areas.

The solution was to take out the brickwork at the top of the window and have lintels put in to support them on-going. The work cost around £250 per lintel. Happily, thanks to the surveyor this was paid for by the vendor!

Bad Boilers
I don’t know why, but every home I’ve ever bought has had a really useless boiler! As a result I’ve had to fork out between £1,000 to £2,000 to get a new one fitted. So, after having this happen twice, I now make sure I ask the surveyor to have a quick look and then I get a Gas Safety Registered plumber to check it out – albeit at an extra cost of up to £75. However, this has saved me over £10,000 due to the number of properties I’ve bought over the years!

If you are still not convinced it is worth having an independent surveyor check out a home before you buy, I can’t help you any more, enjoy your new home and keep your fingers crossed that it is safe – and dry - to live in!

Need a surveyor? Then contact us at enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk or tel 0845 838 1763.

Need help with a property problem? Have a question? Why not call Designs on Property on 07585 897128 or Contact Us via email.
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