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Common defects

As experienced surveyors a comment that we often hear is: 'I'm so glad I had the survey done - you have saved me much more than your survey fee'. Whilst some defects are obvious to the untrained eye it is only with training and experience that one learns about the common problems in the whole range of housing stock over the years.

As an example, post war property usually had load-bearing timber or metal window frames and no lintels. When these are removed and replaced with flimsy, plastic framed windows structural movement is often a problem where these frames cannot support the brickwork above.

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As we use zoom lenses and binoculars we are able to spot defects in their early stages and before they are often visible to the naked eye. Ridge caps become loose over time as their cement pointing and bedding erodes. Once this has started it is not long until they leak and then they can be dislodged in high winds. As well as being a costly repair they can be dangerous to passers by.

It is not just old house that have problems. The photos below to the left are of a house that we saw that was less than two years old. It had a whole host of problems stemming from an incorrectly installed roof. The roof was open to the outside world and daylight could be seen from inside the roof space.

The valley gutter was not discharging properly and water was pouring down inside the cavity of the house. The external wall was soaking wet and the dampness was tracking into the house across the cavity. The owner had to sue the builder and get the NHBC involved.

Once we started looking in detail other serious errors and omissions were found which could have a long term effect on the property.

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