We carry out many Surveys on relatively modern houses each month. Generally a RICS HomeBuyer Survey is the normal option for this type of house. Our reports are detailed and cover all of the main elements, each having a Condition Rating of 1, 2 or 3. There are sections for external and internal elements, gardens and outbuildings. There are separate pages for risks such as structural movement and dampness.
Here are ten of the more common problems which you can look for when viewing your potential new home:
- Chimneys. The masonry could be detiorating and unless replaced flashings are likely to leak. Any concrete caps will be vulnerable to corrosion of the reinforcements and premature failure.
- Ageing roof coverings. Any asbestos cement slates will be coming to the end of their life and the under-felt beneath a roof could now be damaged, especially in the eaves. Ridge pointing and verge details could be in poor condition and condensation problems could mean that more ventilation of the loft is needed.
- Defective gutters and down-pipes. Plastic fittings may leak if poorly maintained and down-pipes do not always have provision for water disposal. Any Finlock gutters will be problematic.
- Walls. Often the masonry of modern walls remains satisfactory although a weak and sandy mortar would be vulnerable to weathering. Damp-proof courses in the base of walls should be satisfactory but cavity trays and detailing and around windows (vertical damp-proof courses) less so.
- Window and door joinery could be in varying condition. There is often damage to timber facias and asbestos is common in houses of this age, often present in cement soffit boards.
- None-compliant alterations including changes to internal layouts and conservatory extensions which are not always built to a good standard.
- Wood-beetle. Although less common and unlikely to be causing really serious damage as would be the case in an older house wood-beetle is not uncommon, especially in garages and sheds.
- Asbestos. Asbestos may be found in external joinery, gutters and and pipes. In roofing under-felt, floor tiles, textured wall and ceiling finishes, water tanks, insulation and lagging, WC cisterns, garage roof coverings…..
- Dated service installations. Electrical systems should be checked every five or ten years in the same way that gas boilers are serviced annually. Many electrical systems will not offer good modern safety protection and even today relatively few houses have good mains-wired inter-linked heat and smoke detectors.
- Condensation. Whilst rising dampness and penetrating dampness are less likely than with a Victorian house a property sealed with double-glazed windows and doors, with little ventilation and high moisture generation from showers, clothes drying and cooking can cause serious condensation-related mould.
The above are ten points which would be investigated in some detail as part of a Survey.