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Home buyers Survey Photographs of a 1900 terrace House by our Independent RICS Chartered Surveyors


Front view. 1900's end terrace. The property and the attached one have been re-roofed with concrete tiles and both have been clad with artificial stone which was very popular in the 1980's. The property on the let has a second front bedroom over the entry tunnel. The subject properties bathroom projects over the entry at the rear so that the first floor interlocks over the entry. This creates problems trying to convey the properties. Does one have ownership of the entry and the other easements, do they both share the entry to the middle with both having easements or does the ownership of ground level follow the first floor interlock with both having easements? There is no hard and fast rule. All three sides are valid. I have also seen cases where both properties are sold with easements but the original owner retains the entry tunnel for ever more as it is forgotten.

Poor gully arrangement. There is plenty of opportunity for water to escape between the clay pipe and channel with grille over. The dark line on the side of the property is a damp proof course made up of clay tiles. It should really have a second course of tiles placed so that their centres are above the joints of the tiles below.


Note the two steps immediately beyond the door. The steps being beyond the door is a trip hazard especially in entering in the dark. Also the level of the pavement is is above the level of the floor by almost both of the steps. There is a high risk of damp penetration unless some hidden membrane has been incorporated into the wall. The risk is increased by the poor gully arrangement.


Old open fireplace typical of the coal mining areas where gas fired central heating was late to catch on due to availability of subsidized coal to those in the mining industry.

Note the grille behind the chair. It can just be seen next to the clay pipe on the side photograph. The floor is below the level of the tile damp proof course seen on the outside of the property. There is this a high risk of dampness at the base of the wall.

The chimney still has four open pots. These may encourage water ingress and birds to nest. Redundant ones can be capped and vented to keep water out but allow warm air to flow up the chimney both removing moisture from the interior and keeping the chimney dry. Note the lean of the chimney. It could be a sign that the chimney breast has been removed and the stack not properly supported but in this case is is probably due to rainwater causing sulphate contaminated cement to expand on the side the rain comes from. The sulphate contamination occurs due to old flue contents containing sulphates. This chimney stack has also split slightly .

General view of the rear. Note the flat roofed section which is an in-fill between the original property and outbuildings to create a larger rear recpion room. the kitchen in now in the nearest outbuilding to the in fill extension.

Note the modern bricks of the cavity wall in fill. The window on the left is of the kitchen which has a single skin wall

The kitchen window opening showing the narrow wall.

The window has been expanded beyond its original width possibly to hide past mining subsidence which may have distorted the opening. The frame is in very poor condition and there is no means of escape in the event of a fire. The roof edge guard suggests that there may have been a glass roofed conservatory where the in fill building is. The vegetation suggests that the gutter falls the wrong way causing silt to accumulate, possibly due to the past subsidence.

Inside the roof void looking towards the attached property. The off set walls show the lines of the entry. The bathroom of the subject is under the large timber sitting on the centre of the ceiling joists

Salts on the face of the roof void section of the chimney breast. The interior is likely to be in very poor condition and active flues should be provided with steel liners to ensure that fumes can not escape and prevent further attack of the bricks from acidic condensates.

The polystyrene tiles are a fire hazard due them both burning at a high temperature and due to the toxic fumes produced. There removal is likely to severely damage an old ceiling.

Low ceiling in the former outhouse that is now a kitchen.

The proximity of the hob to the corridor increases the risk of a pan being knocked off or other burn injury due to collision with the oven

Damp skirting board. Probably due to the plaster touching the juncture of the wall and floor from which it can sponge damp.

A low socket that will be vulnerable to damage from a vacuum and a wandering cable that is a trip hazard. Sure signs of an amateurish workman.

1980's early 1990's fuse boxes. There are two fuse boxes as the property has a separate fuse box for storage heaters. Note the glass door which should have toughened glazing panels.

Quarry tiles. They can often sit on soil in which case they can be damp or low quality concrete in which case the joints may be damp. In both cases they can be vulnerable to movement particularly in areas where there is a high foot fall such as hall ways or near to doors.


Plastic membrane in the kitchen which is in the former outhouse. Surprisingly when a moisture meter was pushed into the membrane it was dry as even if the floor structures are sound the sheets can trap condensation.

Both showing the slope on the bathroom floor due to past mining subsidence.

Short stair treads creating a high risk of a fall particularly as the stairwell area has no natural light.


Extracts from the report

Overall Opinion

The damp, subsidence and single skin walls may prevent many lenders lending against the property restricting purchasers to those with cash only. This is likely to affect the value of the property. The severely sloping floors may also be off putting to potential purchasers and will be expensive to improve/ rectify. The property requires other extensive expenditure to modernise it. Investigate fully and obtain quotations of remedial works before exchange of contracts.




E1 Chimney stacks




No serious defects or urgent repairs noted.

The stack has split and leans towards the property. The movement is unlikely to be progressive but should be monitored. The split could be tied with stainless steel ties set in the horizontal mortar joints as a precaution and possibly at some expense due to height.

Redundant flues can be capped and vented to keep them dry and help remove moisture from the property.

Small areas of missing pointing do not require attention at present.





E2 Roof coverings





No serious defects or urgent repairs noted.

The flat felt extension roof is some years old and should be monitored carefully as felt has a short lifespan.





E3 Rainwater pipes and gutters






The front drain pipe drains to a gully that is above the floor level of the property. The gully appears to be substandard/ not working and could encourage water to penetrate the walls below ground level. Check the gully before exchange of contracts to make sure that it drains water away from the property.

Vegetation suggests that the rear gutter may be blocked and the end cap is suspected of being missing. The fall may require adjusting so that water drains to the downpipe.





E4 Main walls





The front elevation of the property is below the pavement level and at high risk of water penetration. Seek expert advice as to how the walls can be made water tight. Ideally a trench should be constructed in front of the property to separate the wall from the pavement.

Original damp proof course arrangements are largely unclear. Tiles set in the west side elevation appear to be above the floor level of the lounge and thus ineffective. A chemical injection damp proof course at the front and east side of the property has a similar problem. Mortgage companies may demand satisfactory damp proofing reports before lending.

The walls are likely to be of solid construction and cold and prone to condensation.

The wall of the kitchen and entry tunnel are of single skin construction and will be particularly cold. The single skin walls will have to be maintained carefully to ensure that they are water tight. The extent of the single skin walls particularly the kitchen may be off putting to mortgage companies.

Improvement of the insulation of the walls will be difficult and expensive.

The structure particularly the rear parts has suffered significant distortion due to historic movement. The movement is unlikely to progress. Mortgage companies may demand satisfactory engineers reports and confirmation that the property can be insured against all risks before lending due to the distortion.

Part of the west wall requires repointing at some expense due to height.





E5 Windows





There is no means of escape from the rear bedroom window which is in poor condition.





E6 Outside doors (including patio doors)





No serious defects or urgent repairs noted.

Only the rear door was tested.





E7 Conservatory and porches





None noted.





E8 Other joinery and finishes





No serious defects or urgent repairs noted.





E9 Other





None noted.













Inside the property                                                        


Limitations to inspection



Floors structures were covered. The main roof was inspected form the hatch are due to access difficulties.





F1 Roof structure





No serious defects or urgent repairs noted.





F2 Ceilings





The polystyrene tiles are a fire hazards and will dmage the ceilings when removed.

Many ceilings may be original and prone to fracturing as seen in the front bedroom and even collapse. Most would want to replaster throughout.

There is a limited standard of insulation above the first-floor ceilings where seen. The kitchen ceiling may not be insulated.

The kitchen has a very low ceiling height.





F3 Walls and partitions





Dampness was noted at the base of many walls. The cause is unclear. You should presume that extensive damp proofing works will be required and investigate and obtain quotations before exchange of contracts.

The fire break wall is missing from the roof void.

Plaster may be in poor condition and prone to fracturing and collapse with age. Most would want to replaster throughout.





F4 Floors





The lounge floor sounds hollow and may be vulnerable to impact damage. The kitchen floor is covered with a plastic membrane although moisture meter readings through the membrane were low. Presume that the floor may need to be water proofed although his should be relatively easy as it is lower than the extension floor. The joints of the understairs quarry tile floor may be damp and should ideally be kept well ventilated. It may thus be best replace the quarry tiles.

There are significant slopes of the rear bedroom and bathroom floors. Levelling them is likely to require some disturbance and expense.

The steep step being immediately beyond the front door is a hazard. Really a landing should be constructed within the room at street level.





F5 Fireplaces, chimney breasts and flues






No serious defects or urgent repairs noted.


If the use of a fire is important to you have the fireplaces and flues investigated before exchange of contracts. The interiors are likely to be in very poor condition and should not be used without steel liners being inserted.


Unused flues should be vented to help keep the interiors dry and remove moisture from the property.





F6 Built-in fittings (e.g. built-in kitchen and other fittings, not including appliances)




No serious defects or urgent repairs noted. They are some years old and basic. Most would want to update them





F7 Woodwork (e.g. staircase and joinery)





The stairs have extremely short treads and are difficult to use safely. Improvement would require major reconfiguration of the stairs and stairwell at some expense.


Glass doors should be replaced with ones that have toughened glazing panels.






F8 Bathroom and kitchen fittings





No serious defects or urgent repairs noted. The bathroom fittings are basic and dated. Most would want to upgrade them.





F9 Other





None noted.















Services are generally hidden within the construction of the property. This means that we can only inspect the visible parts of the available services, and we do not carry out specialist tests. The visual inspection cannot assess the services to make sure they work efficiently and safely, or meet modern standards.



Limitations to inspection




There were no major restrictions




G1 Electricity Safety warning: The Electrical Safety Council recommends that you should get a registered electrician to check the property and its electrical fittings and that a periodic inspection and testing is carried out at the following times: for tenanted properties every 5 years or at each change of occupancy, whichever is sooner; at least every 10 years for an owner-occupied home. All electrical installation work undertaken after 1 January 2005 should have appropriate certification. For more advice contact the Electrical Safety Council.





The meter and the consumer unit are under the stairs.


Have the system tested before exchange of contracts unless there is a satisfactory service record.


Parts of the system are many years old and there is no RCD protection. Skirting board mounted sockets are vulnerable to damage.

Ensure that both floors have interlinked mains wired smoke alarms.





G2 Gas/oil Safety warning: All gas and oil appliances and equipment should regularly be inspected, tested, maintained and serviced by an appropriately qualified Gas Safe Engineer or Registered Heating Engineer and in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. For tenanted properties by law a 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue. A gas safety check will make sure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use. This is important to make sure that the equipment is working correctly, to limit the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning and to prevent carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from leaking into the air. For more advice contact the Gas Safe Register for gas installations, and OFTEC for oil installations.






None seen. Find out the cost of providing a supply if important to you.






G3 Water





The stop tap is believed to be in the corner of the rear reception room but confirm in case of emergency.

No serious defects or urgent repairs noted.





G4 Heating





There are coal fires and somewhat date storage heaters.

Both fires should have carbon monoxide detectors. Modern storge heaters have more efficient controls. Have them tested unless there is a satisfactory service record.





G5 Water heating





From a cylinder with immersion. No serious defects noted but have the system tested before exchange of contracts unless there is a satisfactory service record.





G6 Drainage




Above Ground Drainage. No serious defects or urgent repairs noted.

Below Ground Drainage. No covers found. Access may be difficult in the event of a blockage.





G7 Common services





Parts of the drains may be shared. Maintenance of these sections is likely to be the responsibility of the water company or landlord.








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