Property Surveys and Modern Houses

We have recently carried out home survey inspections on three modern houses in Bath and Bristol, all built within the last fifteen years, and all with potentially expensive problems which could have gone undetected had a property survey (in these cases, a RICS HomeBuyer Report) not been carried out. To our knowledge none of the problems had been mentioned in the Mortgage Valuation. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) no longer requires a valuer to inspect the loft space of a property for a Mortgage Valuation.

The first property in Bristol (Bradley Stoke, North Bristol) had a Eucalyptus tree growing within three metres of the property wall. These trees are notorious for causing damage as they absorb more water than poplar or willow. Paths around the property had subsided and there was a real risk of subsidence within the main building occurring during the next prolonged dry spell. This would have caused significant worry on the part of the new owner and could have affected future saleability.

When carrying out a home survey we will consider factors not just relating to the property itself but within the area around. This may include ground conditions, electromagnietc fields, flood or trees. Most people know that Combe Down in Bath has been affected by stone mining and much of Bristol by coal mining; fewer know of the problems of arsenic west of Bath city centre, signicant Radon problems in Bath city centre, Victorian land-fill in Redland, lead pollution in Priddy…….

The second defect related to a house again forming part of a modern development east of Bristol. This property had a moderate problem with condensation in the loft space. The damp conditions had caused premature deterioration of the under-felt with mould growth and a number of holes directly beneath the tile battens. This would result in leakage if wind-blown rain or snow were to penetrate beneath the tiles. The remedy would be to recover the roof replacing the damaged felt at a likely cost of several thousand pounds.

The third property was a newly built house in Bath which had been constructed over the winter months. Inclement weather whilst the flat roof was being installed had resulted in trapped moisture beneath the coverings which was causing unsightly blisters, and potentially damaging insulation and roof timbers. Again recovering was recommended at a cost of several thousand pounds.

Whilst we would agree that having a home survey on a modern property could seem to be an unnecessary cost, these recent examples from January and February 2012 illustrate that it can be a very cost effective investment.

To discuss the various home survey options and select the right one for the property you are buying, please contact us on 0845 478 6305 or email