I recently had the opportunity to ask the uber-experienced chartered surveyor 'Laurie Gavaghan' a few questions about some of the things he has noted in his 25 years on the job:
Is there anything in the areas/s you cover that you think is peculiar to the geographical areas in which you have practiced?
( e.g. Parapet walls in London, West Country Granite Walls, Termites in Devon)?
Answer: The Isle of Wight has very varied ground conditions to the point that adjacent properties can be effected in different ways i.e. one can have suffered subsidence to the point of needing to be
demolished and the other can be totally unaffected and may be unlikely to be affected in the future. Also the earliest examples of cavity wall construction can be found on the Isle of Wight.
This makes carrying out surveys on the Island extremely interesting and challenging and it is vitally important that if you are buying a property in this area you chooses a surveyor who has an intimate knowledge of the area.
Fortunately having been born on the Island and worked here for a fair proportion of my career, I fully appreciate these subtleties.
Understanding that listed buildings are different! When surveying listed buildings it is important that both the potential purchaser and the surveyor appreciate that they are different.
That’s to appreciate that the floors and walls may not be level/vertical and this may not be a problem, it is important to understand how different building materials react over time and how this may or may not be a problem in the future.
Listed buildings are different and need to be surveyed taking this into account.
What are the top 10 defects you encounter when conducting a survey
( e.g. Flat roof problems, settlement due to clay soil etc)?
- Wall tie failures/problems.
- Timber infestations by wood boring insects.
- Timber problems from fungal attack i.e. wet rot and dry rot.
- Flat roofing problems.
- Rising Damp.
- Foundation problems (Listed Buildings)
- Subsidence caused by local ground conditions.
- Various Structural problems (Listed Buildings)
- Problems with flashings to roofs.