Discovering a problem in your home is devastating. The immediate thoughts are always: how much will it cost? Is the house going to fall down? How am I going to fix it? Too many people faced with this situation attempt to address it alone, taking advice from someone with a vested interest in stretching the truth (who stands to gain from securing the repair works) and paying over the odds for what could have been a simple solution.
This situation is just one of the reasons why independent Chartered Surveyors exist.
Damp, Cracks and Subsidence
The advice of a surveyor, be it just verbal or in a written report, will reveal the nature of the problem, present options for repair and give you indicative costs. It will be written by an independent professional, with no vested interest in suggesting any particular option – the information you receive will be unbiased and reliably accurate.
Ultimately, this will give you peace of mind and a clear direction to move in. If the defect is serious, then moving ahead without this advice could cost you thousands of pounds, not to mention hours of disruption and despair down the line following an ill-advised decision.
For example, finding damp in your home is extremely irritating. Unfortunately, though fairly simple to avoid in most cases, serious instances of damp can occur in any house – new or old. In my bedroom at home, I suffered from damp above my window frame purely from not having enough air circulation in the room. I now keep my trickle vents open and my bedroom no longer suffers from it. This simple solution was highlighted to me by a Right Surveyor I work with.
Most extreme cases are caused by ‘rising damp’, as opposed to the condensation which plagued my bedroom. Skirting boards can rot and the presence of such a consistently high level of damp being drawn up through the wall from the ground can lead to black mould growth higher up your wall. Unfortunately, unlike condensation, the cause of this can be more difficult to pinpoint and serious damp can be indicative of interstitial condensation, failed wall-ties or a breached damp proof course, amongst other things. Without professional advice, most normal homeowners will not know how bad the problem is or what’s causing it. With the wrong advice, you can end up spending money on elaborate, but unnecessary, solutions.
Potentially even more serious; if you discovered a crack in a wall of your home what would you do? Ignore it and hope that it would go away? Or call a professional to make sure your wall isn’t structurally compromised? Most of the time, the crack will only be as deep as the render, but this can still be a problem. Unless that crack is sealed, there is a chance of water ingress which will loosen the render and can turn a small patching job into a large-scale re-rendering.
Again, the advice of a surveyor can put your mind at rest when you’ve noticed a crack, or alert you to a serious issue which needs rectifying. Catching structural issues early is key to keeping costs down and early strengthening solutions are a lot cheaper than underpinning a wall!
Likewise, subsidence is a common problem in British homes and can be devastating to
your property and your domestic life. Subsidence is a typically downward movement of the site on which the building stands, usually meaning that the soil in unstable and causes your house to effectively ‘move’. This can cause devastating damage, with wide cracks opening and walls potentially becoming unstable and even dangerous. As with all cracks, if you manage to spot the early signs and catch it early, a professional Chartered Surveyor can advise you on how to proceed – helping you to select a reasonable solution without paying over the odds.
For all of the above mentioned defects, a Single Fault Assessment is usually recommended. This is a letter style report, composed by a Chartered Surveyor, which analyses the defect, its causes and the solutions available. At typically the cost of only half a day’s work for the surveyor, this is very often a sensible, small investment before proceeding with remedial works.
Our Right Surveyors can provide this survey for domestic property owners and commercial owners alike, for personal use or insurance purposes across England and Wales. If you’re worried about any aspect of your property, do call us directly to see how we can assist.