Building Surveying

A full range of building surveys are offered, including the full building survey (formerly known as a structural survey), RICS Homebuyer Report, ISVA HomeSurvey Report and mortgage valuation:

The Mortgage Valuation Report:

The primary purpose of a mortgage valuation report is to provide an opinion to the lender as to whether a property is suitable security for the money to be lent. Whilst the valuer will, of course, take into account the general condition of the building, his/her valuation will be based on only a brief and superficial inspection of the property. On a pro-forma sheet the space allocated for comment on the condition of the building is very limited. Remember that the lender lends to a person and it is that person who is liable for the building, its condition and maintenance. Whilst the building is important, it is to some extent secondary for the lender’s purpose.

The ISVA Homebuyer Survey and Valuation

Alan J Young Ltd is a member of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association and as such we offer the ISVA HomeSurvey Report. This is similar to the RICS Homebuyer and again based on a format, but is a more ‘personalised’ survey. The ISVA report gives the prospective purchaser the following information:

• The general condition of the property.
• Any significant factors likely to affect materially the value of the property.
• The value of the property in the open market.
• The value for insurance purposes.

The information is provided in a simple and straightforward layout, easy to read and understand. It is based on a visual inspection of as much of the interior and exterior of the building as is accessible with safety and without undue difficulty, including roof voids, flat roofs accessible with a 3m (10ft) ladder, outbuildings, site boundaries, etc., and an overall impression of the services will be given. This type of report is suitable for most twentieth-century properties, but structures which are unusual by virtue of design or construction, and particularly large properties may require a more detailed report and may not easily fall within the format. Your Surveyor will advise you during the preliminary discussion. The cost of the report will depend on the size and type of the property, its location and value. It is often only slightly more expensive than the basic mortgage valuation report but is far more wide-ranging and gives the buyer the information needed to make a  considered decision on the purchase.

The Building Survey (often called a Structural Survey):

A Building Survey is an investigation into, and assessment of, the construction and condition of a building. It is based on a detailed inspection of the building in as much depth as is possible without damaging the building or contents. The exact extent and style of the inspection will be the subject of specific agreement with the individual Surveyor. It may include specialist reports (services, drains, etc.). The report will include guidance on maintenance and remedial works and often a detailed comment on individual defects. A Building Survey is essential when purchasing period buildings, those with unusual characteristics or of unusual construction. It is equally suitable for modern traditional buildings. Because of the individual nature of a Building Survey it is not possible to give any guidance on costs, as it is with the Homebuyers Survey and Valuation. The fee will vary according to the type, size, value and location of the property. Surveyors will always be willing to discuss the level of fees prior to making the inspection and will sometimes make a preliminary inspection to ascertain the extent of the survey prior to quoting a fee.

We are able to advise on aspects of the conversion/refurbishment of listed buildings prior to the carrying out of a survey;  and can give an estimate of the likely costs involved in potential projects and the feasibility of alteration or conversion works in regard to a building’s listed status.

Building Disputes:

Appointment as expert witness to investigate and report upon building disputes, to advise on the most cost-effective solutions for building disputes, including dispute resolution and dispute arbitration.

Schedules of Dilapidation, Condition or Repair:
In this modern litigious climate it is becoming increasingly important, if not essential, to have a thorough and detailed Schedule of Condition attached to any lease whether it be commercial or residential. The practice also undertakes Schedules of Dilapidation on determination of the lease in order to protect a tenant’s interest on commencement of the lease, and landlord’s interest on expiry of the lease. We have acted as expert witness in matters such as defective workmanship, defective materials, and disputes over building costs and matters regarding boundary disputes.   We are able to act as either a Joint or Single Expert Witness.   We would always ideally suggest mediation as a means of solving disputes rather than taking the dispute to Court which can be very expensive and time consuming,  we can mediate between parties if this is required.

Party Wall Matters

The Party Wall Act 1996 came into force on 1 July 1997 and applies throughout England and Wales. It provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavation near neighbouring buildings. It is based on some tried and tested provisions of the London Building Act which applied to inner London for many decades before the Party Wall Act came into force.

Anyone intending to carry out work (anywhere in England and Wales) of the kinds described in the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions. The Party Wall Act can be quite difficult and expensive unless it is dealt with in the appropriate fashion.

We are pleased to be able to offer a full service either acting on behalf of a building owner or an adjoining owner affected by any construction work relating to the Act. We are able to offer professional advice in relation to the Act and issue of appropriate notices, including schedules of condition, photographic evidence and administration of the provisions of the Act during the course of the construction work.