Mr S wisely opted to order a Building Survey in London for an 80-year-old property. He was presented with a series of defects that were characteristic of the age of the home.
The three-bedroom semi-detached home dated back to the inter-war building boom that occurred in London in the 1930s.
The London home contained the following features that Building Surveys typically find in properties of this era:
- Brick walls – Most of England’s homes are clad in brick; especially in London. This is due to the shortage of timber during these years and the expense of importing it – mainly from Canada. Because of the abundance of clay soils in London, clay based bricks are very common in the capital.
- High ground levels bridging the damp proof course – older homes often suffer from a build-up of soil around the base of their walls. This can sometime rise too close to the damp proof course and provide access to rising damp.
- Blocked sub-floor ventilation – one of the air vents was obstructed with piping. The Surveyor considered this “poor practice” but it is very common for houses of this era to have blocked vents and air bricks. This can lead to rot in the under-floor space.
Other issues noted during this Building Survey in London included:
- The rendering was showing significant signs of ageing. This would need cutting out and making good.
- There were a number of leaking gutters. These were not the original gutters, however the plastic replacements showed signs of broken seals and joints. If not remedied, broken gutters can lead to a host of penetrating damp problems.
- There was no evidence of a damp proof course within the parapet wall. London homes often have parapet roofs. Their use was mandated after the Great Fire as they are useful in stopping the spread of fire. Unfortunately they are not as useful for retarding the spread of moisture. If not protected with adequate water proofing, they will often allow ingress to damp.
Loam, sweet loam in Home Buyers Survey in London
Abnormally to southeast England, the subject of this Building Survey in London was not built on clay soil. Instead it was founded on more stable loam. Our Chartered Surveyor noted:
“Loamy soils are usually very stable soils that show little change with increase or decrease in moisture temperature, the primary concern with foundations built on loamy soil is erosion. When soil underneath foundations erodes, they begin to be in appropriate strata for sustaining the weight of a foundation and home structure. ”
Mr S would have been glad he ordered this Building Survey in London as it highlighted a number of problems that he would need to take into consideration before purchase. Fridaysmove generally recommends that homeowners choose a comprehensive Building Survey in London (as opposed to a HomeBuyer Report) when assessing properties in excess of 75 years of age.