Home

We are an established and local firm of chartered building surveyors, and carry £2 million of Professional Indemnity insurance, are regulated by the RICS, and members of the Surveyors Ombudsman Service.

We undertake:

  • Building Surveys
  • Structural reports
  • Party Wall Awards
  • Specific Defect Reports
  • Expert Witness Reports
  • Dilapidations
  • Building Specifications
  • Project Co ordination
  • Disputes
  • Building Regs. & Planning Applications

MARKET NEWS

OUR OPINION OF THE MARKET AS AT NOVEMBER 2022

We have recorded a downturn in the market attributed to rises in interest rates and the increased cost of living index, together with increasing inflation which is predicted to increase substantially by the end of 2022 and into 2023. The Bank of England has also confirmed a possible recession and we see the property market turning into a buyer’s market which is reflected in current price adjustments, reductions and further renegotiations, and in some areas there is also more stock coming onto the market.

We consider that the affordability criteria of lenders is restricting the amount that they are granting on a mortgage which will restrict the buying power of many purchasers, and even if they are prepared to pay a high price to secure a house if the mortgage funds are not available then they cannot proceed unless the price is renegotiated accordingly.

We also consider that proposed changes in the EPC rating could force many Landlords to sell their buy to rent flat investments rather than improve them, and again with more stock coming on the market and increased costs to purchasers then again prices would be expected to fall.

THE MARKET AS WE SEE IT AT JUNE 2022

We have noticed that in some locations due to the shortage of stock there have been some price increases, but there are concerns due to the rise in interest rates and the rise in the cost of living index including the Russian conflict that could all affect the property market and we will usually recommend expert valuation advice.

We still have Covid 19 with us but without a lockdown situation, but the risk of a recession with an increase in unemployment could also affect the housing market, and independent valuation advice should be obtained although how the market will react to some economic and political factors are unknown.

We are also not economists but consider that the economic uncertainty and the challenging market environment could reduce demand and prices could fall, as we have recently recorded some purchaser’s resistance in the current climate and seen some adjusted prices due to the likes of repairs.

STRUCTURAL MOVEMENT

We sometimes identify structural movement which can be historic or longstanding but in some inspections progressive and ongoing, and in the latter then we often recommend that a structural engineer reports due to signs of structural damage.

We advise that trees and vegetation close to a property on shrinkable clay can increase the risk of damage and an arboriculturist report is sometimes recommended due to tree root action or of ground heave if trees have been removed.

In some cases common findings like shrinkable clay or structural repairs in the post code that you are buying are known, and if structural movement is identified then a more detailed and invasive investigation is needed on factors that cannot be seen from the visual inspection for example soil analysis and the condition of the drains.

We advise that sometimes cracking or defects identified to a building are not always structurally related for example distortion to a window head could be a decayed timber bressummer where remedial repairs would resolve, so it is important to know the condition and what you are buying.

The building condition inspection we offer is between an RICS level 2 and 3 report and usually provides enough information to determine do you proceed or not. The average report on say a three bedroom house produces around a 35 page report of A4 text and contains a photographic schedule of around 65 photographs.

Please note our reports are dictated and typed from the inspection, and enquiries made post inspection go into the body of the report, and we do not use pro forma reports.

A FEW ITEMS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING

If you are buying a property based on the size then the agents or EPC measurements need to be accurate and to be compliant with the RICS code of measurement especially if you are comparing the cost per Sq ft, as houses and flats even in the same road are usually completely different, and we sometimes note that the estate agent and the EPC measurements are different.

The EPC (Energy Performance Rating) shows the energy rating of the property with ‘A’ as high and ‘G’ as low and it is illegal to rent a property if the energy rating is ‘F’ or below.

We usually find on used housing stock that the average energy rating is a ‘D’, although there are pending proposals to increase all rented accommodation to a ‘C’ rating.

We advise that Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive and damaging plant that is known to cause structural damage and could be concealed in the garden as we have seen Japanese knotweed in a number of post codes, and therefore a specialist should report, as if identified some lenders will often not grant a mortgage.

We usually recommend that your solicitor obtains an Environmental search that should show the history, ground condition, contaminations issues or flooding risks of the property.

In preliminary enquiries your solicitor should check if there is a Chancel repair liability for the collection of a tithe payment, although we make no enquiries in this respect but advise it is usually possible to identify against a claim.

We visually inspect for deleterious materials like Asbestos that could be contained within the structure although sometimes this material is concealed by later finishes and in some cases Asbestos chimney flue liner cannot be seen, but we will make recommendations in the report on what action should be taken.

We advise that different construction periods often have different defects for example cavity wall tie corrosion and failure is a fairly common finding on houses prior to stainless steel wall ties being used, and the spalling of concrete and corrosion of rebar is a common failure on 70s build blocks of flats.

If we identify high level disrepair, defects and dampness and the property will require a programme of repairs to bring up to a good habitable condition, then this will require a budget, and we usually recommended that you obtain a builder’s quotation or surveyor’s budget costing.

We usually advise that your solicitor obtains all of the approvals, consents and certification requested and that your solicitor approves the legal items identified in the report, and that budget costings are provided for any defects identified and that you renegotiate accordingly due to the issues that were not known when your offer was submitted.

SOME COMMON ISSUES WITH FLATS

We consider that a fairly common defect with converted flats is a lack of fire separation and fire stopping to the unit.

We also consider that one of the main issues with converted flats is noise in the building and a lack of sound proofing or acoustic reducing materials.

We sometimes find stored items on the common parts, which should be kept clear as stairs and corridors are the means of escape in the event of a fire, and they should also have emergency lighting, signage and an Asbestos register.

The Landlord not maintaining or painting the exterior or the common parts under S20 legislation can reduced the saleability and value of the flat due to the condition of the building.

Check the years outstanding on the lease as below say 85 years then you could extend under the leasehold enfranchisement legislation, but to have another 90 years added on to your lease will require that you pay a premium, so this should be factored into the purchase price that you pay for the flat.

For further information contact one of our surveyors.

For a professional service and competitive fees contact
Adams Chartered Surveyors

Head office:
Telephone: 020 8360 9984 Email: info[at]adamscharteredsurveyors[dot]com
2 Farm Road Winchmore Hill London N21 3JA
Local surveyor: Peter Tasker MRICS MCIOB MFPWS mobile 07774 893780
Direct Survey Line: 020 8363 4000