Surveys | Reports | Inspections

Products

We undertake a very wide spectrum of design and allied services for clients. Take a look below to view our complete overview of product services provided.

Property Surveys & In-depth Building Inspections

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR ALL PROSPECTIVE PROPERTY PURCHASERS:
Choosing the Right Chartered Surveyor for the Right Reporting
Most clients in the UK do not know, but the RICS has seventeen different disciplines. We are all ‘chartered surveyors’ but you need the right chartered surveyor for the job in hand with the right knowledge base and training. Therefore for all building surveys you need a Chartered ‘BUILDING’ Surveyor and no other RICS professional classification for a client’s own short-term and long-term benefit.

A detailed inspection of a property’s condition is essential for peace-of-mind at the offset. In this respect our surveyors or engineers inspects the property and tells you if there are major financial structural problems like unstable walls or subsidence issues, together with all defects. But added to this, our surveyor or engineer will also highlight any major repairs or structural compliance alteration works needed to a property, such as fixing a dangerous roof, non-compliant unsafe loadbearing structural elements that need replacing or sloping floors for the property’s overall assessment and its structural stability They will overall highlight any major repairs or alterations needed to ensure that a property and building is safe for occupation and use. Therefore when it comes to financial confidence in a property’s worth and its integrity, a detailed inspection of a property’s condition is therefore essential prior to purchase and for a lender’s security for its loans and mortgages, whether it be for a private or corporate client.

Surveys & Building Inspections for both commercial & residential clients

Over the years the ‘Practice’ has advised many commercial and industrial clients. These have involved private developers and established businesses.

This diversification has covered engineering works to the centralisation of group company headquarter office complexes.

Chartered Building & Structural Reports

Clients that require full and total peace-of-mind in knowing what they are buying into and to fully understand if a property has any severe building defects, the practice’s unique ‘combined’ chartered building and structural engineering reports are the gold standard. For no other reports by other chartered practices we have found over the years, include both building and engineering analysis within a single property report.

The reason for this we consider is that our practice professionals are both RICS chartered building surveyors and also civil/structural engineers with the relevant long-term knowledge and experience combined to provide a full in-depth understanding of a property and whether it is good or bad. Indeed, engineering assessment is just as important as building appraisal, if not even more so, as issues such as engineering movement problems for instance, are usually the most expensive to rectify if they are prevalent. But the knack is to determine these major faults and where that takes the knowledge-base and mind of an engineer. Indeed, rectification costs after purchase can and do go into tens of thousands of pounds or more and where the practice professionals provide an in-depth insight into the full structural integrity of a property, undertaking such things as for example, the property’s underlying ground stability assessment using the British Geological Survey (BGS) data and the Coal Authority (CA) information to determine whether there are major engineering  ground concerns with regard to mining or not and with regard to a property; using the combined mindset and specialist knowledge of an engineer and surveyor together. Therefore if you wish for the gold standard with full peace-of-mind, this report is for you and where it is in advance of the RICS highest reporting level 3, as it includes as detailed previously, not just building surveying (with basic structural comments where the chartered surveyor usually refers the buyer to a structural engineer when engineering issues are prevalent and where that involves further report cost), but also engineering analysis and stability determinations all in one comprehensive report. Therefore for peace-of-mind when especially buying a property, the commissioning of this advanced in-depth technical report is basically a must and where the additional cost is one well spent by our clients we have found over the decades, saving those who would not have normally had this standard of report, literally thousands of pounds on average after contracts have been signed. For once the horse has bolted there is respectfully no redress unless you can prove that the vendor, your surveyor or your engineer was negligent.

Engineering Reports of Structural Defects

When you require a property defect analysis report or engineering report that focuses solely on a specific issue or a few issues within a property this reporting standard is for you. For this in-depth inspection and report will determine the cause, the rectification works necessary and the cost to remediate the defect(s) observed and determined by the engineer. Note that these technical reports are classified as ‘limited’ professional reports, as they are limited to specific building or structural engineering defects and issues.

Building and Structural Engineering Reports

Houses and buildings are usually the most important and costly asset that anyone can own. Therefore owners need to know that their greatest asset is of a structurally sound condition and free from any major defects. More so when we are buying a property in the first place whether it be a new home, an old property, a new office building or an industrial plant. This ‘Practice’ undertakes both building and structural reporting on a combined exercise for all types of properties, but predominantly these are for domestic home purchases, as they are most numerous.

Types of Reports

This ‘Practice’ undertakes most forms of client reports and which include,

  • Home structural reports - for purchasers and sellers
  • Commercial & industrial building reports
  • Commercial & industrial structural reports
  • Structural integrity reports - for pre-purchase of properties
  • Structural integrity reports - for security purposes for financial institutions (banks & building societies)
  • Insurance claims Reports - subsidence and collapsed structural elements
  • Site investigation and reporting
  • NHBC foundation reports - selection of types
  • Expert witness reports for the County Courts
  • Expert witness reports for the High Courts
  • Expert witness reports for the Technology and Construction Courts (which sit four times a year at locations throughout the United Kingdom)
  • Second opinion reports - clients at times need the input of an independent and unbiased consultant's appraisal where there are differing views with the client's advisers. These differing views on construction types can mean the saving of literally thousands of pounds which has been achieved. Indeed, as an example in 2005, over £300,000 on one particular project alone and due to a single error in a column calculation by other chartered structural engineers.

Commercial Dilapidation Surveys & Schedules

(for Leaseholders and Landlords)

Many prospective tenants are not aware of the liabilities when taking on a Full Repairing Lease and quite often when they vacate are liable for substantial repair cost. Indeed some claims that the practice has had to deal with over the years have been hundreds of thousand of pounds and because the tenant never obtained an in-depth building report with photographic evidence prior to taking on the tenancy.
In this respect often ‘Contract Law’ requires that buildings are put in the condition of its initial construction and has no relation to the condition when the tenant took on the property. Therefore it is highly important that any new tenant commissions and in-depth building and structural report with full photographic backing or otherwise, they may end up paying for things that were nothing to do with them.
Landlords also need to know the state of the construction health of their leased properties, so that their buildings and structures do not fall into disrepair that eventually can and does end up costing large sums in rectification works. Indeed, the banks and all lenders require if mortgages or loans are involved, that landlords keep their buildings to a standard that maintains their ‘security’ for the landlord-bank guarantees in case of collapse or liquidations and bankruptcies.
Dilapidation reports undertaken to determine what remedial building and engineering works are required to bring a building or property up to an acceptable modern standard. They are predominantly provided for the client to determine whether it is financially more cost-effective for his investment, to either rectify the building or to demolish it and start with a brand new building.
They are therefore an important aid for investment decisions, as they incorporate the basis and extent of repair works necessary together with an accurate cost estimate to undertake such works. Most buildings and properties are more cost-effective to modify and remediate, but where at times it has to be analysed to whether a building should be demolished on cost grounds also, so as to save the client on his or her investment costs.
Another factor is whether a refurbished building will suit the operational or living requirements upon completion. In this respect it is no good to invest substantial investment sums, when the completed product eventually ends up highly unsatisfactory.

Dilapidation Reports consist of,

  • Client brief and discussions statement
  • Site survey
  • Feasibility architectural scheme drawings if necessary for costing purposes for the client's outline scheme
  • Compilation of a Schedule of Condition (SofC)
  • Engineering solutions
  • Estimated costings analysis
  • Recommendations to the client and reporting

Costs of Dilapidations Reports

Dilapidations reports vary considerably, depending on their complexity and the engineering solutions necessary to rectify a structure. Therefore these reports are usually undertaken on a diarised time and agreed hourly professional rate. These reports are factual and allow the client to make the right financial decision. They are therefore cost-effective documents that overall, save the client substantial sums in the long term. Indeed, the right information, whether buying or renovating a property, has saved clients literally tens and hundreds of thousands pounds in the past – for they were fully aware of what they were buying into in the first place. Many have been able on the basis of substantial detailed grounds, to reduce purchase prices and therefore their investment accordingly.

Expert Witness for the Client & ‘The Courts’

(all Courts up to the Court of Appeal)

The ‘Practice’ offers Expert Witness services for the client.
Unfortunately the building industry is ‘afflicted’ by bad workmanship and the so-called ‘cowboy builders’. If the client is affected by such problems it may cost thousands, tens-of-thousands and even hundreds-of-thousands to put right.

Indeed in some instances where the practice has had to deal with these dire building instances, local authorities through their building control departments have at times totally condemned the project works in their entirety and where all has had to be demolished and completely rebuilt. These things happen more than people really think or are indeed, aware of.

Some people believe that it is best to obtain at least three recommendations for a builder to obtain a good builder, but where this is fraught with risk. For this is a guide where the only secure way to know that you have not commissioned a ‘cowboy’ builder is through a professional firm like this practice who has determined over 30-years which builders can perform and which builders cannot.

For we have found through our court work over three decades that many references provided by builders are bogus and where people who are aligned to a cowboy building firm have issued them.

The 'Practice' offers,

  • Initial consultations (first half-hour is free)
  • Determination and analysis if the case is a strong one. In this respect we shall advise on the probability of success and the probable costs.
  • Client technical adviser
  • Site surveys for Court actions
  • Court reports and reporting
  • Introduction to the client of the specialist construction law solicitors
  • Liaison and advising the specialist construction law solicitors
  • Attending pre-court action protocol meetings in an effort in resolving cases
  • Attending Court as an expert witness
  • Supporting any post-Court work
  • Advising the client on 'competent' builders to put the works right and in obtaining competitive quotations
  • Inspections of the remediation works to a satisfactory completion
  • Professional building and engineering certification of any remediation works upon completion, for future sale or under the Building Regulations 1984 with amendments

For peace-of-mind and to start on the right foot, contact this 'Practice' for expert witness advice which is based upon decades of hands-on experience.

This professional service can range from an informal review of documentation through to the production of an Expert Witness report compliant with Civil Procedure Rules (PART 35 – EXPERTS AND ASSESSORS). With over 3-decades acting as expert witness for clients and the Courts, we guarantee a professional service that is second to none and where our clients using the practice’s reports, have to April 2020, never lost a case. This expert witness work over the years has been conducted in the County Courts, High Courts, Crown Courts, Technology & Construction Courts (High Court) and the Court of Appeal.
The practice procedure when it comes to cases in civil law, involves initially having a client meeting at the locus where the matter resides and then thereafter in a timely manner in our own time, we examine all documentation. Once the practice surveyor/engineer has studied the information provided, either from the commissioning client or from their solicitor, we determine which side on the weight/balance of probability is right or wrong. In this respect we do not lead people down the garden path and if the commissioning client is in the wrong, we tell them that they are and why. In that way clients are limiting their cost in any conflict dispute from the start.

But once a case has been made, the practice undertakes all necessary investigations, exploratory and exposure work to build a case for the commissioning client and ultimately for the Courts as expert witness. Within this process stage, continual but only necessary meetings are held with the client and at times, their solicitor, to provide professional updates and input. Thereafter once all information is at hand, the technical Court report is compiled and produced.

The above is the general procedure with Court cases that the practice undertakes, but where all legal cases differ depending upon the nature of the case and their complexity.

General Building & Engineering Advice for the Client

Structural engineering and building surveying advice is essential when, creating even a house extension to your home. Others include the opening of structural formations through a loadbearing internal or external wall where support beams etc are required under the modern Building Act 1984 with Amendments and the current-day Building Regulations.
But where all new-build and structural alteration works need the input of a chartered building surveyor (note that this is the specific RICS designation required and no others for building works) or civil/structural engineer so that the building and structure upon completion is indeed safe. For the Building Act is clear and where if property owners do not undertake the procedure under the Building Regulations, the structural works will be illegal forever – the Act is clear here and that is why under the Act there is the process called “Regularisation” to comply with the Act if illegal works are not notified). Therefore it is imperative that all structural works are undertaken under the Act of Parliament, as that is the Law of the land. Indeed if this is not complied with and property owners undertake structural works without permission under the Building Act, they will find that when they come to sell their property, the buyer’s surveyor and their solicitor will stop the sale. In this respect the practice has had to undertake many retrospective Building Regulations under the Act’s ‘Regularisation Process’ over the years so that property owners can actually sell their property. The unfortunate fact is that by the time the government’s regularization process is completed by surveyors or competent engineers which takes on average over 2-months, but by that time the buyer has in many cases decided to purchase another property as they cannot wait that length of time usually and the property and the sale is lost. Therefore these things are important in the long run to do right in complying with the Act, have statutory building control inspections undertaken and when the works are complete, the issuing of the ‘Completion Certificate’ under the Building Act so that your structurally altered property is safe and you can sell your property in the future.
Another fact is that you may have to ‘serve’ the Party Wall etc Act 1996 on your neighbour which is also an Act of Parliament that you have to comply with, so that you do not run foul of this law as well. In this respect the practice’s surveyor/engineer will guide you through this process also here and act as your party wall surveyor so that no contravention of this Act happens.
These are some of the pitfalls of building work when it is structural in nature and where therefore property owners need to know the correct and legal processes clearly and not just take the word of a builder as many do to their regret. For once the builder has been paid and you find out later that these Acts of parliament should have been observed, he will not really want to know based upon historical evidence and the property owner will be left with all the problems and costs that are involved to rectify matters (both from the local authority point-of-view and the cost of professional retrospective report submissions, which usually on average costs three-times the costs if all this compliance had been undertaken as it should have been initially).