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Building and Structural Surveys - Birmingham, West Bromwich, Redditch, Erdington, Bromsgrove


Example RICS Building Survey


24th September 2010

Dear Madam


The property is considered to be in reasonable condition for its age and type of construction.

However you attention is drawn to the following matters which are of particular concern:

1)         Substandard electrical system.

2)         Corroding lintel that supports the rear elevation of the kitchen outhouses and associated water penetration.

3)         The lack of mains gas that would be off putting to many potential purchasers.

4)         The construction of the rear lobby/ toilet area is such that it should be considered to be an outbuilding due to poor insulation of the walls and roof.

5)         Small lounge.


Circumstances of Inspection

The property was inspected between 12.30am and 2.30pm on Friday 24th September 2010. The weather was fine following overnight rain. The property was furnished and vacant. Floors structures were covered limiting inspection.


The property is situated in a small village among bespoke properties near to open countryside.

A stream runs close to the front of the property. No particularly adverse factors noted.


The Property

Type and age: The property is estimated to be 80 years old with later dining room addition.


Open Porch

L shaped lounge

Lounge             (Very small)

Dining Room


Rear lobbies and toilet.

Three bedrooms and a bathroom.

Garage and grounds:

The property has a sloping plot of typical size of the type and age of property. A drive leads to a below ground level garage. There is also an underground store below the lobbies/ stores and toilet that are attached to the kitchen.


The main part of the property is rectangular with a frontage of approximately 9.8m and depth of 7.6 m. To the south side a garage of approximately 3.3m by 7.0m the garage has been constructed at a lower level. The kitchen of approximately 3.3m x 4.0 has constructed above the rear of the garage. To the rear of the kitchen is the lobby/ toilet area which is approximately 4.0m wide and 2.0m deep and constructed over the underground store that also projects about a further 1.0m out under the rear path. The 3.3m x 3.1m dining room is believed to be a later extension over the front of the garage.

Ground to roof edge above the front of the garage is approximately 4.6m. The main part of the property along the front elevation has a height of approximately 2.9m to the roof edge with a further 2.6m to the apex of the roof.

The original and dining room external walls are believed to be of cavity construction with brick and render faces except for the kitchen lobby/ toilet area which is believed to be of 110mm single skin brick and render construction. The front and rear walls of the dining room and also the rear wall of the toilet/ store area are carried across the garage/ underground store by steel lintels. Other walls are believed to bear directly to ground. Internal walls are believed to be of 110mm masonry construction.

The main and kitchen roofs are pitched with clay tiles. The dining room extension and the lobby/ toilet area have flat felt covered roofs.

The pitched roofs are generally constructed of 75mm x 50mm rafters at 400mm centres. The rafters span up to 4.4m and are generally supported close to mid point by 175mm x 75mm longitudinal timbers that bear on the internal walls and the hip rafters at the corners of the roof. The maximum unsupported span of the longitudinal timbers is approximately 3.0m. The feet of the roofs are likely to be tied in by the ceiling joists but this could not be confirmed as they are covered with a considerable amount of insulation.

The construction of the dining room roof could not be determined. The rear lobby/ toilet roof structure is believed to be reinforced concrete construction.

There is a brick chimney stack with pot originating in the lounge. There was no trace of the bedrooms having had fireplaces.

Gutters and down pipes are of plastic construction.

Door and windows are PVCu framed with double glazing.

The lounge floor is of suspended timber construction with plank deck. The kitchen and rear lobby/ toilet floors are believed to be largely of suspended concrete construction with thermoplastic tile surfaces. The dining room floor is believed to be constructed of timber joists that sit directly on the reinforced concrete garage roof. It has a composite surface of unknown construction. The remainder of the floors are solid with thermoplastic tile surfaces except for the hall which has a timber block floor.

Internal doors are mostly of timber panel construction. Some internal doors have glazing panels


Electricity is provided by a supply terminating in the underground store. The supply is believed to by 415v three phase. Consumer units with fuses are located in the under ground store and also the garage.

Gas supply is believed to be unavailable in Hartshorne.

The stop tap for the water supply is in the garage. Visible pipes appear to be copper. It is possible that the original underground lead supply pipe remains. Kitchen and bathroom appliances are some years old.

Water heating is by electric immersion. The cylinder is in the bathroom and has a dated loose fitting jacket. The cylinder is supplied from a roof void tank of unknown construction. Space heating is by dated storage heaters except for the open fire in the lounge.

Drainage is believed to be to the mains but this should be confirmed. Most waste pipes are plastic although some original lead pipes remain. The vent pipe is believed to be of asbestos cement construction.


There is no evidence of significant structural movement of the property.

Timber Defects

No evidence of dry rot decay or beetle infestations was noted but the possibility of hidden defects can not be ruled out.


Random testing with a moisture meter was undertaken in ground floor surfaces, ground floor walls and skirting boards, chimney breasts, and on internal walls near to rain water goods and roof junctures.

Penetrating Dampness:

Apparent in the underground store from the ceiling probably due to a fracturing of the concrete path above but this could not be confirmed. The dampness should be controlled as it is corroding the steel lintel that supports the rear wall of the toilet/ store and reinforcing of the concrete roof.

Action: Obtain quotations before exchange of contracts.

Rising Dampness:

The property has an engineering brick damp proof course. Ceramics and other impervious coverings prevented testing in the bathroom and rear lobby/ toilet areas. Dampness noted in the rear skirting boards along parts of the rear wall and internal wall that divides the rear bedrooms. The cause is likely to be a poor juncture of the walls and floor. It is not considered to be a serious threat to the property and can usually be remedied by cutting a small section of plaster out from behind the skirting boards immediately above the floor slab.


No evidence of a significant problem within the living accommodation, roof voids or timber lounge and dining room floors. The single skin walls and concrete roof of the lobby/ toilet with be very cold and prone to condensation. The front bedroom and lounge to hall walls are likely to be single skin and also prone to condensation.

The underground store should be provided with ventilation in order to reduce risk of corrosion of the lintel and reinforcing of the roof due to condensation.


The solid walls of the toilet/ store area and side of the porch will be cold and loose heat quickly.

It may be possible to inject insulation into the cavity walls but this will require further investigation. If of importance to you confirm before exchange of contracts.

The roof void floors are general insulated to the current standard of 300mm. The amount of insulation in the dining room roofs if any could not be determined. The toilet/ lobby ceiling is unlikely to be insulated and will be very cold.

The Exterior

Roof Structure and Coverings:

The faces of the pitched roofs are generally true suggesting that the supporting structures are satisfactory. The pitched roofs are likely to be serviceable for many years. A slipped tile has been replaced with a different type of tile. This does not appear to be causing a problem.

The felt covering of the dining room roof could not be seen and should be checked as soon as possible. The felt toilet/ lobby covering is some years old and should be monitored frequently as felt has a relatively short life span.

There was no evidence of water ingress in any of the roofs at present.

Chimneys:  No significant defects noted.

Rainwater Fittings:

The cast iron sections should be presumed to be life expired and preferable replaced with plastic.

A down pipe by the front bedroom has broken and should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent waste spilling on to the wall. The gutter above the kitchen is believed to fall the wrong way and should be adjusted or the down pipe repositioned to ensure that water can not spill.

Main Walls:

The steel lintel that supports the rear elevation of the lobby/ toilet area is actively corroding and will have to be replaced. Expense is likely to be increased by the electrical supply cable running immediately below one end of the existing lintel. No other significant defects noted.

Action: Obtain quotations before exchange of contracts.

External Joinery and Decoration:

No significant defects noted.

The Interior

The Roof Voids:

No significant defects noted.


A number are likely to be original and may be prone to fractures or collapse if particular if the decoration is removed. The polystyrene ceiling tiles are a fire hazard and should be removed. This is likely to result in damage/ collapse of the ceilings such that extensive re-plastering is required.


Ensure that corrosion of the lobby/ toilet steelwork is controlled. No other significant defects noted.

Internal walls and partitions:

No other significant defects noted.Some plaster may dated and found to be in poor condition and prone to collapse especially if decorations are removed. A section of metal corner bead by the rear door is damaged and likely to corroded if not treated.

Fireplaces and Chimney Breasts:

The lounge has an open fireplace. No significant defects were noted but if the flue is particular importance to you have it tested before exchange of contracts.

Internal Joinery: The large glazing units in some internal doors and side panels should be replaced with toughened glass to reduce the risk of injury to anybody falling against them. No other significant defects noted.


Most would want to redecorate completely. Beware that the textured coatings that have been used on some ceilings can contain asbestos. Precautions may be required if disturbed. Removal can damage the face of the ceilings so that extensive re-plastering is required.



A number of substandard items and indications that parts of the system are old were noted. The system is likely to require considerable upgrading.

Action: An electrician should investigate and provide quotations to bring the system up to standard before exchange of contracts.


None on site.


If the underground lead supply pipe remains eventual replacement is likely to be expensive. Internal pipes appear to be satisfactory. The bathroom toilet flush has seized. Otherwise appliances are soiled and dated but functional. It would be preferable if the rear toilet had a hand basin between it and the kitchen to reduce the risk of contamination of food. The roof void tank is covered. Check that it is not of metal construction and likely to have corroded with age.


Presume to be life expired and in need of complete replacement. If the use of any of the existing equipment is important to you then have it tested by an electrician before exchange of contracts.


Above ground drainage appears to be satisfactory.

A chamber was located near to the bathroom. The ninety degree angle of the feed from the rear toilet is substandard but there is no evidence that this is causing a problem.

D 3 The site


The garage is satisfactory for its purpose. Damage to original concrete roof should be repaired to prevent water ingress that could encourage corrosion of the reinforcing steel. Lintel of the underground store door should be repaired for the same reason. The building is at risk due to the water ingress that is decaying the roof and lintel that supports the wall above.

Grounds and boundaries:

No significant defects noted. Beware that the uneven rise and going of the outside steps can encourage falls.

Legal Matters


Understood to be freehold.


Ensure that the dining room extension complies with local authority requirements.


Not aware of any.

Other matters

Check that drains are connected to the mains.


Urgent repairs. The following matters all mentioned in the report should be treated as urgent repairs to be remedied as soon as possible:

Up grading of the electrical system.

Damp ingress into the under ground store and corrosion of the lintel/ reinforcing.

Polystyrene tiles.

Rain water goods.

Tall glazing panels.

Further Investigations: The following matters all mentioned in the report should be investigated before exchange of contracts.

None noted.

Maintenance Matters:

Toilet flush.

Other significant matters:

None noted:

Action before Exchange of contracts.

You are strongly advised to obtain competitive quotations from reputable contractors before you exchange contracts.

Only when you have all the above information before you will you be in a position to make a reasoned judgement on whether or not to proceed with the purchase.

I must advise you that if you should exchange contracts without obtaining the above information you would have to accept the risk for any adverse factors which might come to light in the future.


The open market value of the freehold interest in the property is considered to be £180,000 (One hundred and eighty thousand pounds) or thereabouts.

The cost of reinstating the property in its present form for insurance purposes is estimated to be £150,000. The external floor area of the property is approximately 125 sq.mts.

Yours faithfully


S.J.M Butler, BSc, MRICS.


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Independent RICS Chartered Surveyors - Building and Structural Surveys  

Birmingham, West Bromwich, Redditch, Erdington, Bromsgrove.  





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