In this article we're going to talk a bit about in-depth building surveys, and then about the Flooring Issues that can often crop up on them. If you're just interested in reading about flooring, skip to the 2nd half of this article.
A building survey is an extremely detailed, ‘full’ survey of a building. This is different from the "Mortgage valuation" that buyers get on your home after they apply for their mortgage.
A building survey can be initiated by a homeowner, but is most often instructed by a buyer. They usually use it when a property fits into a certain category (for example, it looks like it has structural issues, or like it needs a lot of development doing to it). But it can be done on more "ordinary" homes too - especially if the buyer is particularly wary.
The survey is rigorous and takes some time to complete and report on.
What types of properties attract building surveys?
As stated earlier, any property can be subject to a building survey, but types that are very likely to attract a building survey from a buyer are listed below:
- Listed buildings. These are properties that are on the ‘list’ - the Statutory List of Buildings of Special or Architectural or Historic Interest. It makes perfect sense to have these subject to a building survey, due to their age.
- Properties that are older than 50 years in age. Again, having a rigorous survey of these buildings is sensible.
- Unusual buildings. There are some properties that are built in a less than traditional manner usually by architects or “non standard construction” properties that are not built by traditional brick or stone walls or a roof constructed by title or slate.
- Altered buildings. These are properties that have been renovated or altered, or that are about to be renovated or altered.
What is the survey process?
During a survey all the visible parts of a building will come under scrutiny. There are certain areas that will not be seen, but the process in full includes:
- A list of any defects, no matter how small, in the building. The survey will also highlight what the defects mean for the integrity of the building
- Information about any alterations to any supporting walls. If this is relevant, details of the alteration will be given in the survey report
- Information about any renovations in the home that, for whatever reason, did not have planning permission
- Details of any damage to the timbers of the building
- Details of any large trees close to the property (a factor in subsidence)
- Details of any hazardous materials, such as asbestos, being present on the property
- Woodworm, and dry rot details, if applicable
- A detailed account of the materials that were used to build the property
- Information about any damage to the roof of the property, and any masonry damage
- The results of any tests for damp
- Advice on the drainage system
How long will a survey take?
It’s quite normal for a building survey to take a day to complete. It is very thorough, and this leads to a lot of time having to be spent on the work involved. After that, you should expect to get the results of the house survey after two weeks.
Issues that come up in a survey
There are a few common property faults surveyors discover. These can be very much covering anything and everything that can be wrong with a property.
When it comes to floors though, problems can be as serious as issues with the general structure of the building.
All about problematic floors
Floors help to support a building, and literally support walls. Therefore, it's important that if you are thinking of selling soon, you know that your floors are solid and capable of supporting the home.
- One of the biggest problem areas is woodworm on timber floorboards. If a surveyor finds that there is an infestation or that the problem is more complex than originally thought, this will make things difficult for you unless you treat it immediately. The cost of treating a property’s floors for a woodworm infestation are significant, and this can obviously stall or even stop a house purchase from going through.
- Another area is chipboard. This is often laid over joists, especially on upper floors. Chipboard does suffer over time, and can sag. This is quite easily identifiable due to the squeaking noises that you may hear when you walk on the floors. If the noises are excessive, you can expect that to come up in the house survey.
- There are also problems in the area of floor covering. If the property has laminate flooring in the kitchen or bathroom for example, this can absorb water and cause problems at the joints. This can lead to raised flooring and a clear trip hazard. The flooring may need replacing in its entirety, and a survey would most likely pick this up.
- Also in the kitchen, if it has laminate or ceramic tiling, there could be cracks. If this is the case, you need to ensure this is fixed or entirely re-laid. Tiled flooring is notorious, due to the fact that styles tend to ‘run’ in stores for around five years maximum.
- If the house has solid flooring in any part such as a concrete floor, check for damp areas at the surface of the flooring. A solid floor has to connect with a damp proof course. Damp can arise, and this type of floor is prone to it. Check everything looks sound and level, and if you see any damp ‘blistering’, you’ll need to get this fixed. It could be very costly for the purchaser, and a surveyor will record the details.
- Uneven and sagging floors. Believe it or not this is more common than you think and can be a sign of foundation issues - also known as subsidence. A spirit-level is a good start.
Basically, if a floor is reasonably level and dry, and in good condition, the majority of issues are dealt with. But make it part of your preparation before the survey visit to ensure that all the flooring has been checked. It will cost you money to fix, but it could cost you a house sale if you leave it alone.
If you have a building survey and it comes up with major problems, there are two main consequences. You may not end up with the price you had originally hoped, and it may take longer to sell. (Either because you choose to do the repairs yourself, or because you're waiting to find a buyer who's willing to do them themselves).
If you can't face the waiting, and don't want to do the work yourself, our service could be a great option. Because we're familiar with all types of property issues that tend to crop up - including issues with flooring - we're able to buy any house. We can buy in a timeframe to suit you - often as little as 2-3 weeks.
So click that link link above to read more about our service, or hit one of those big blue "Get An Offer" buttons to speak with our team and learn more.