Problems

There are so many problems that can affect property ownership – some are connected with structural matters and the fabric of a building, whilst others may be less obvious: e.g. misuse of shared drives, acoustic nuisance in flats, etc.

I see my task as being my client’s informed eyes and ears and, using my experience gained over 35 years, I will identify issues of concern that may require further investigation.

Many of the issues inspected are likely to include:-

Roof coverings
Flat roofing
Chimneys
Gutters and rainwater pipes
External joinery and timber
Windows
Walls and wall ties
Damp-proof course
Airbricks
Wall cladding
Décor
Boundary walls and fences
Outbuildings
Settlement and subsidence
Plaster
Fireplaces
Roof frame
Roofing felt
Insulation
Condensation
Asbestos
Plumbing
Boiler and central heating
Sanitary ware and kitchen fitments
Floors
Internal walls
Electrical
Woodworm, wet rot, dry rot
Rising and penetrating damp
Location issues
Neighbourhood issues
Drainage

All of these items, and many more, are examined and defects are referred to where they materially affect the purchase price of the property.



Chartered Surveyor Services - Worthing Sussex


Typical Problems which may affect your home


Damp

Damp can actively promote many of the problems that concern property owners. Timber decay and woodworm can be encouraged by damp conditions. Rising Damp occurs when the breakdown of a building's Damp Proof Course (DPC) allows moisture to "wick" upwards through the structure by capillary action.


A DPC installed during construction will be a physical layer of an impermeable material. This can consist of slate, bitumen impregnated felt or plastic.

Many older properties do not have a DPC at all and a local change in ground conditions can increase the level of moisture in the foundations leading to rising dampness in the property. DPC's may be "bridged" by allowing soil levels to extend above the level of the membrane.


Penetrating Damp is the ingress of external moisture either horizontally or vertically into a property through the walls or roof, rather than from below ground. The source of the moisture should be eliminated and the exterior walls can be protected by repainting, rendering or the application of an invisible silicon water repellent.

Condensation. Modern living creates more water vapour in properties than ever before. These days we are all encouraged to insulate our properties and keep heating costs down. This may lead to condensation problems in many properties, most often found in bathrooms and kitchens and on the north elevations of a building. The desire to eliminate draughts and save heating costs often results in air bricks being removed or blocked thus restricting airflow to the sub floor voids. These should be replaced or cleared to allow air to circulate. Since warm moisture laden air loses its ability to hold water when it cools it will deposit the water when it comes into contact with a cold surface such as an outside wall. Mould will then use this damp surface upon which to germinate. Condensation is a very common form of dampness found in properties and due to the efficiency of insulation and double glazing it often affects both modern and older houses with replacement double glazing and with blocked chimney flues.



Pic 3

Timber Decay Dry Rot (Serpula Lacrymans - weeping fungus -) because of its apparent ability to grow in dry areas, this clever fungus has developed the ability to soak up moisture from timber, totally drying it out, and then develop strands (hyphae) which can travel across and through bricks and mortar to other timbers. Dry rot is very distinctive and both difficult and expensive to eradicate. Wet Rot is the generic name given to a family of fungi which attack wet timber. They vary in severity of damage but none possess the ability to pass through inert material to spread to other damp timbers like dry rot. Thus wet rot is in localised areas where timbers are exposed to considerable amounts of water ingress. Externally exposed timber, timber in contact with wet soil or masonry, or timber subject to a damp atmosphere can all suffer from wet rot. Some wet rots look very different from dry rot - the timber looks bleached and does not crumble. Others look very similar to dry rot and an expert surveyor is needed to make a diagnosis.


Externally exposed timber, timber in contact with wet soil or masonry, or timber subject to a damp atmosphere can all suffer from wet rot. Some wet rots look very different from dry rot - the timber looks bleached and does not crumble. Others look very similar to dry rot and an expert surveyor is needed to make a diagnosis



Woodworm Wood boring insects such as the Common Furniture Beetle and Wood Boring Weevil are often known under the generic term "woodworm". The Common Furniture Beetle will attack all types of structural timber and accounts for the majority of all insect damage to properties. It is most commonly found in older properties although the beetle can also be found in more modern properties. Very old properties can have flight holes which became inactive many years ago and to the layman are difficult to distinguish from active infestations which need treatment. Woodworm can significantly reduce the strength of structural timbers.

Wall Ties From about 1900 onwards most buildings were constructed with cavity walls. Wall ties are used to tie the inner and outer skins of the wall together and reach across the cavity between them. Until relatively recently wall ties were manufactured from mild steel. These days the ties are zinc coated, but the coating corrosion protection deteriorates with time. Corrosion of the mild steel can cause the tie to fail and expand in size significantly. The expansion can cause lateral cracking which is often clearly seen on exposed elevations.