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Why even new and nearly new houses need Surveys

Nick Booker, our qualified Building Surveyor, recently inspected a house built just 4 years ago for a prospective purchaser and found a serious defect in the roof space where the plasterboard lined timber framed party wall was heavily damaged by trapped moisture and mould.  The damage was such that the wall will need to be entirely rebuilt for fire safety purposes.  Whether this was a construction defect or damage due to works undertaken to the adjoining property is yet to be determined but the works required will be disruptive to both sides.

It is not often our Building Surveying Department receives enquiries for surveys of new and nearly new houses, purchasers generally assuming that there cannot be any issues or that these will be covered by another’s liability.

Unfortunately this is often not the case.  A recent enquirer for a survey decided not to proceed as the balance of a  NHBC Warranty was in place.  But you need to identify the defect first in order to make a claim!

By way of example, Nick has been involved in producing a report for a client in order for them to claim on their NHBC Warranty.  After he discovered a damaged roof truss, leaking valley gutters and separately a significant issue with dampness to the ground floor, the latter caused by the contractor building the patio and path too high.

Nick has also assisted in advising on a block of flats with damp issues (the block only 12 years old) which had suffered excessive condensation caused by a faulty air valve at the top of the foul stack pipe.  This was causing damage to the interior of the top floor flat and significant mould growth in the area.

Another new house survey was almost perfect other than that the kitchen sink had not been connected to the pipe below!  A minor issue but one that could have resulted in significant damage.

Some examples of other issues discovered elsewhere include:

  • Faulty and leaking heating systems.
  • Damaged heating valves.
  • Blocked and leaking gutters.
  • Missing restraint straps to roof structures.
  • Missing and damaged roof tiles.
  • Incorrectly installed roof insulation.
  • Poor quality construction such as protective plastic film left in place and plastered over.

All the above demonstrate that the “expense” of a survey is well worth the outlay.  Otherwise the excitement of your new home could be ‘dampened’ and you could be faced with hefty costs of repair and/or face significant inconvenience.

For advice regarding surveys please contact Nick Booker at booker@graves-jenkins.com.

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