Chimneys are often out-of-sight and therefore out-of-mind. They are normally one of the most exposed parts of the property and potentially one of the more expensive repairs if there is significant damage. Careful maintenance will reduce the risks of expensive repairs.
The chimneys are one of the first elements we assess as part of a Survey. At first glance the left image above shows a chimney which is an average condition, maybe some minor works of re-pointing required but no significant problems perhaps. Using binoculars and a camera with a large zoom lens we were able to look more closely, reflect on the findings after the initial Survey and further magnify the image when back in the office.
The second image shows open mortar joints but the upper masonry appears to be splayed outwards and the pots are not vertical. There is a good chance that the mortar between the blocks is weak and the upper stone-work will probably be found to be loose and insecure. Unless repaired this could be a safety risk. There is a good chance that this chimney will need a fairly comprehensive repair, likely costing thousands rather than hundreds of pounds. Older properties can have two or three chimneys.
Furthermore, the lead-work around the base of the chimney was found to be very poorly constructed and inevitably vulnerable to leaks. Flashings should always be neatly constructed, ideally with separate soakers as shown in the third image.
As part of a Building Survey the client would be advised of the nature of the chimney construction, the condition, the repair options, time frames and possibly costs also. The client will be able to plan and budget for maintenance and possibly agree a reduction in the price agreed for a defect about which they were not aware when they originally viewed the property.