Category Archives: About Building Surveys

What type of Home Buyers Survey do I need?

Answer.

Different Types of Building Surveys

  • Visual Survey
  • HomeBuyers Survey
  • Residential Survey
  • Engineers Report
  • Building Survey
  • Pre-Purchase House Survey
  • Structural Building Engineer Report
  • Condition Report
  • Property Survey
  • Structural Survey
  • Full Structural Survey

Note, it is important to be aware that some Full Structural Survey Reports may actually contain less information then a Visual Survey. The different types of surveys as listed above will give a potential client little indication as to the extent or thoroughness of the survey. You should always request to see a sample of the home buyers survey that will be provided to you after the building survey and also to see the full terms and conditions of the survey that is to be carried out for you in advance of booking a survey.  Only by looking at a sample survey report will you better understand the extent of the survey that is to be carried out and more importantly is this type of report exactly what you are looking for.

types of homeowner surveys

There is no standard format or list of structures and services that must be inspected in any of the above home buyer survey types. Each building surveyor has their own way of presenting their report and the extent of the report is limited by the terms and conditions within that report.

Your home owners survey is only as good as the survey report you receive irregardless whether it’s called a full structural or visual survey.  The more detailed and thorough the survey is the better. A detailed home owners survey report can help you renegotiate with vendors or warn you off the property if serious defects are found.

A Thorough Home Owners Survey should use infrared camera’s, damp testers, carbon mon-oxide testers and other equipment during the survey. The infrared camera will picks up temperature differences in surfaces and will assist a building surveyor to identify problems that a human eye can not see.

What is a Mortgage or Lender’s Valuation Survey

This valuation survey is for the mortgage provider. The real estate agent will value the property to determine whether it is worth the amount you have negotiated, and whether the mortgage lender should give a mortgage on it.

The property valuer is only concerned with valuation issues that will affect the protection of the mortgage lender’s loan. The Mortgage Valuation does not inspect the building structure or services. The mortgage lender or bank simply want to know that they can get their money back on the loan, if the home owner is unable to repay his/her mortgage. There may be problems with the property but they will not appear in the valuation report.

Why is a building survey important?

Your new home is likely to be the most expensive and important purchase you will ever make, so it’s not worth leaving it to chance and not getting a detailed home owners survey to check that the house is sound. The home owners survey report and advice of a Building Surveyor could save you a huge amount of money in expensive repairs later on or possible stop you buying the property in the first place.

Cost of Home Buyers Survey

What is the Cost of a Homeowners Survey.

There are a few important things you should consider before engaging any building surveyor to carry out a home owners survey on your new property.

Without doubt, most people would not rely on a real estate agents brochure when deciding on what property to purchase. A potential home owner would first want to see the property before making any decision. The same consideration holds when comparing between different types of home owners surveys. Only by first seeing a sample homeowners survey report will you better understand to what extent the building surveyor will be inspecting and reporting on your property.

Don’t leave your homeowners survey to chance and expect that all surveys are the same. There are significant and major differences between homeowners surveys.

For example, you will find after reviewing samples of survey’s that some surveys will not cover what you had expected. This may prove costly to you in the long run. You will also find that when you request a sample survey report that they will not be made available to you.

Sample of a Property Survey Check list.

Property Survey Check List

The purpose of our How to Survey A Property checklist is to assist both sellers and buyers of properties to identify defects that the building surveyor will be looking for. If you have the skills and experience it may also save you the cost of a building survey.

If these defects can be identified and repaired before the house is placed on the market for sale, it should prevent renegotiation taking place at a very late stage in the sale process, which would likely adversely affect the sale of your property, including the purchase of the home you are looking to buy.

  1. Grounds
  2. Outside Sheds / Garages
  3. Septic Tanks / Secondary Treatment Systems
  4. Private Water Wells
  5. Exterior Finishes and Components
  6. Roof Coverings
  7. Attic Space
  8. Structure
  9. Fireplaces
  10. Bathrooms / Ensuites
  11. Kitchen
  12. Utility Room
  13. Livingrooms
  14. Hallway
  15. Kitchen
  16. Bedrooms
  17. Electrical
  18. Heating
  19. Plumbing
  20. Insulation
  21. Window Defects
  22. Door Defects
  23. Notes

How to Survey a House Checklist

Making the decision to sell or buy a home is a huge step for most people.  For sellers, once the decision is made to sell, then making your home Marketable should be your number one goal, especially if you want to stand out against all the other homes in the area that are also for sale!

House prices in most parts of the country are continuing to fall. Gone are the days of listing your house and its sells quickly. With the changed market, buyers are increasingly more sensitive to property condition and using building surveyors reports to hammer the vendor down on their price.
Our Survey a Property check list makes available to both buyers and sellers of homes exactly what a Building Surveyor will be looking for when he comes to survey a property. The how to survey a property guide educates both parties on the condition of the property which will be or has been placed on the market, and lets them know what minor and major issues and potential expenses that will come to light when their property is surveyed. By following our Property Health Check guide a seller can decide early on what to do in order to improve the condition of their property.

The check list allows the seller to anticipate any potential problems in the structure, attic, roof, grounds, walls, floors and services such as heating, electrics and plumbing- and head off most potential “deal-breaker” issues.  By following this guide will put you in a much better position and will reduce the likelihood of your potential buyer coming back to you trying to reduce the price after their building survey is carried out.

There are enormous benefits to carrying out your own building survey before putting your property on the market. If you suspect that you my be selling or buying a house with pyrite it is advisable to get professional advice from a surveyor experienced with pyrite identification and pyrite testing.

By implementing our checklist your property could sell faster and for more money without any renegotiation’s, because defects that would have been raised by the buyers building surveyor will have been put right ahead of time

Benefits of the How to Survey a Property Checklist

Identify defects and make repairs ahead of time. By identifying possible defects early on, the seller is in a position to handle repairs prior to placing their house on the market, making the house more attractive and more saleable. This may mean more money to the seller and a faster sale. Making repairs ahead of time will limit objections over defects during the negotiations. Some defects may be regarded as minor concerns in the eyes of a prospective buyer, but when numerous small defects are added together they can often become deal breakers, especially is a more serious defect comes to light during a building survey.

  • No building surveyor bringing up minor and major issues after the deal is done.
  • Your home could sell faster!
  • Your home could sell for more money!
  • No more buyers walking away because they think there is a problem with the house.
  • No 11th hour renegotiation’s based on the building surveyors report.
  • No more buyers getting cold feet when they find out the home is not perfect.
  • It allows you to resolve any major issues in conjunction with your estate agent and your building surveyor before you put your house on the market.
  • By following our checklist it allows you to fix any problems you like or recognise the problem and reflect it in the purchase price – take it off the table as a negotiating tool against you.
  • You have time to get several quotes for those items that you choose not to fix, no more high quotes for carrying out repairs from potential buyers at closing time because they know you’re up against the wall.

The guide is broken down into sections covering all the different parts of the property. The guide is not exhaustive, but covers most of the main problems found in properties.

What should Sellers and Buyers know when organizing a full building survey if defects are found.

The type of building survey that the seller / buyer is seeking to have carried out will depend on the age and condition of the property. In many cases the seller or buyer will not know enough about building surveying to be able to give clear and complete instructions at the outset. In these cases the building surveyors first task is to acquaint the client with the nature and extent of the options available and advice as to which is most suitable.

How to survey a property and when not too. 

Surveyors are expected to have the professional skills and experience to carry out surveys. They should also have a good working knowledge of the law in relation to all areas of their profession. In some cases buyers or sellers may not understand the significance of a crack in a wall, if they have any doubts about their overall understanding of building structure it would be safer to engage the services of a building surveyor. If you have doubts about any defects that you have found you can fill out our survey quote form from Property Health Check.

There is no universally accepted scale of fees for surveying. At present when setting fees, surveyors generally take account of a number of factors, including the length of time they expect the work to take, the complexity of the task, having regard to the age, type, size and location of the property.

It is very important that fees and the extent of the survey should be clearly stipulated and agreed with the client at the outset.

Planning Permission Certificates and Certificates of Compliance with Building Regulations.

During your survey you should note any alterations, extensions, attic conversions, sheds, garages and any other structural changes that come to your attention.

The “how to survey a property” has a number of primary concerns which covers two particular areas,

  • Do the alteration / extensions comply with building regulations
  • Do these changes or extensions require planning permission or certificates of exemption from planning permission

Far to often sellers leave it to the last minute to obtain these certificates and this will almost certainly delay the sale of a property if non-compliance with planning or regulation issues are noted.

In most cases building regulation issues can be resolved by making certain changes to the building. Issues that relate to planning permission may necessitate contacting the local planning department. If there is a planning permission issue it can take at least three months to sort out. It is advisable not to ignore possible issues in the hope that they won’t be spotted.

Planning permission and building regulation issues concerning changes to all properties are going to be raised when the solicitors exchange final contracts on the property.

Closing your eyes to these questions in the hope that these issues won’t be raised is one of the main reasons that house sales fall through.

There is no quick fix in dealing with planning permission issues, therefore it is important to make sure that the property is fully complainant with planning permission and building regulations as soon as any issues come to light. Hopefully if there are any issues, they can be resolves before final contracts are to be signed.

Ignoring or waiting to deal with potential planning permission and building regulation issues until the sale is agreed will almost certainly delay the sale of the property for at least three months while planning permission issues are been sorted.

This will almost certainly see the sale of your property fall through as your potential buyer may consider looking at or buying other properties and it may also affect your purchase of another property that you may have been looking at.

Area’s to be inspected during survey, CHECKLIST

This guide is not exhaustive, but covers most of the problems found in properties.

Grounds

❏ Foul Drains.

Check for blockages, adequate access points, slope of drains, cracks.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Rain Water Drains.

Check for blockages, adequate access points, slope of drains, cracks.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Note, Foul drains and rain water drains should be completely separate, certain exception apply in older properties.

❏ Grading:

Ground levels around the property should if possible slope away from the building. If this is not possible proper underground drainage system should be in place.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Driveways and paths

Check for cracks, disintegration, settlement and lifting.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Retaining Walls

Check retaining walls for bulges or loose areas. Make sure the weep holes built into the wall are clear.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Patios and decks

Check patios and decks for settlement, loose rails or boards, and damaged steps, trip hazards. Check to make sure the timber deck posts are still firmly in the ground and not loose or rotten.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Steps and Rails

Check to see if steps are secure, even distance between steps and that a secure handrail provided if more then three steps.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Gates

Check to see if gates open and close properly and are not rotten or rusted

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Large Tree

Check to see if tree limbs are over hanging the property. Tree planted too close to houses can also cause settlement problems or heaving issues if removed.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Boundary Walls

Check condition of masonry, metal and timbers fences for adequate expansion joints, piers, cracks, movement, leaning and rot.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Oil Tank

Check for condition of oil tank and leaks

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Planning/Neighbour Issue

Is shed built entirely inside your boundary or built on the boundary wall or does roof, gutters overhang boundary walls

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Outside Sheds, Lean-Too’s, Garages.

❏ Outside Sheds/Buildings

Check general condition of walls, floors, roof and services

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Roof Water Discharge

Check does roof water discharge into drain or soakaway

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Septic Tanks / Secondary Treatment Systems.

❏ Requirements between septic tank and well water

Check the distance between septic tank and well water, does it meet minimum regulation requirements

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation of treatment system

Check the ventilation of septic tank system

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Access to septic tank

Check ease of access to septic tank and that cover is secure

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Service requirements

Check for up to date records for service contracts / maintenance of septic tank

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Shared Waste System

Check and provide upto date paperwork if waste system is shared.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Percolation Area

Check that percolation area is within boundary or furnish access rights through solicitor.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Note, for further information on septic tanks, biocycle systems and the upcoming legislation of septic tank licensing for domestic dwellings check out our blog “About Septic Tanks” on our website.  www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

Private Water Wells

❏ Shared Private System

Check and provide upto date paperwork if private well water system is shared.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Sealed Well House

Check that well head is sealed and the pump, plumbing are in a secure shed with adequate insulation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Requirements between septic tank and well water

Check the distance between septic tank and well water, does it meet minimum regulation requirements

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Water Quality

Check water quality and have upto date certificate available showing water quality

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Exterior Finishes and Components

❏ Staining

Check for stains on walls, which could be a sign of a water leak problem or a roof issue

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Wildlife

Check for signs of insect or bird nests in soffits, eaves or attic vents. If you see signs of rodent waste in a certain area, look around for the nest or debris.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required _______________________________________________________________

❏ Peeling paint

Check for peeling paint on rendered walls

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required _______________________________________________________________

❏ Wood Joinery / Trim

Check condition of exterior timber joinery for rot, cracking and peeling paint.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required _______________________________________________________________

❏ Masonry wall finish

Check for loose or cracked rendering and same for pebble dashing. Also check the condition of pointing to brickwork.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required _______________________________________________________________

❏ Exterior Doors

Check for damage to doors, frames, cracked glazing, poor sliding of patio doors and door draft proofing

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required _______________________________________________________________

❏ Windows

Check for fire opening egress, rots, rust, faulty hinges, failing double glazed seals, putty and paint.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required _______________________________________________________________

❏ Gutters and Downpipes (see also under Roof Coverings)

Check gutters and downpipes for asbestos material, rust, stains, debris, missing or loose sections or inadequate slope, and leaks especially during a rain shower.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Exterior Water Tap

Check for secure tap and water flow

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required _______________________________________________________________

❏ Exterior Electrical Socket and Wiring.

Check condition of socket and that wiring is suitable for outside use

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required _______________________________________________________________

❏ Gas Meter

Check the condition of Gas Meter and utility box

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Electrical Meter

Check the condition of Electrical meter and utility box.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Soil Stack vent

Check the plumbing vent and were it terminates

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Note, for further information on the Exterior Finishes and Components check out our website and blog at,  www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

Roof Coverings

❏ Roof tiles / slates

Check for cracked roof tiles / slates, missing tiles / slates, crumbling slates.  Check flat roofs for blistering, alligatoring, holes, water ponding and splits.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Roof Flashings

Check for loose, cracked flashings and flashings separating from intersections and chimneys

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Cement Pointing / Parging

Check for loose or cracked cement parging under roof ridge tiles and at edges of roof.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Skylights

Check for leaks around skylights and poorly fitted roof tiles around same

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏Roof mounted equipment

Check for poorly fitted solar panels, aerials, satellite dishes

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Gutters and Downpipes (see also Exterior Finishes and Components)

Check gutters and downpipes for asbestos material, rust, stains, debris, missing or loose sections or inadequate slope, and leaks especially during a rain shower.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏Chimneys

Check for cracks in chimneys, failing point in brick chimneys, damaged flues, damaged chimney capping and vegetation growth.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Roof ventilation

Check for cross flow ventilation openings in both flat and pitched roofs

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

 

Attic

❏ Traditional Cut Roof Timbers

Check out rafter, roof purlins, struts, hangers and collars for adequate support and bracing including splitting, sagging and woodworm infestation.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Roof Trusses

Check out roof trusses, make sure that no roof trusses or cords have been cut or removed. Check gussets for rust. Also check trusses for woodworm, secure bracings between trusses and metal ties to gable walls.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Vents

Check that toilet soil stacks and bathroom vents do not discharge directly into attic

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Dropped ceiling Lights

Check that ceiling lights are not a fire hazard

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Wiring Splices

Check that wiring splices are not a fire or electrical hazard

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Insulation

Check depth of insulation and insulation around water storage tank and all plumbing

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Moisture Penetration

Check for moisture penetration in particular at flashings, roof penetrations and gaps / holes in roof tiles.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Fire Walls between Attics

Check for adequate fire walls between adjoining attics, looking for all gaps in party walls and including inadequate fire material that is often mistakenly used to fill gaps. ie. fibreglass insulation.

Also check if the house is a timber framed construction that the joints and dry-lining is correctly finished which is a common defect.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Sarking Felt / Breathable Membrane

Check that membrane fitted under roof tiles is secure and not torn, also that membrane is correctly and securely finish around roof penetrations including the chimney

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Chimney

Check for cracks in chimney brest and that there is no water penetration coming below roof level into chimney breast. Common issues are poor flashings, inadequate or no damp tray fitted and poorly finished roof membrane to chimney brest.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Water Storage Tank

Check condition of water storage tank, is it old and made of galvanised metal, condition of ballcock, overflow pipe. Is the tank properly covered to prevent dirt from entering tank.

Is there adequate support under the tank, All these issues are common

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Note, for further information on Roof Coverings and Attics check out our website and blog at,  www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

Structure

❏ Structural Walls

Check for cracks in all exterior and interior structural walls from foundation level to roof level. Some cracks maybe a result of initial drying of the structure. Other cracks may be the result of settlement in the foundations. Most cracks in masonry walls are almost always structural cracks. However in most cases these cracks will not affect the stability of the structure and only minor repairs maybe required. The main concern with cracks is to determine whether or not they are likely to be ongoing.

All large cracks first started off as hairline cracks and deteriorated over time. A simple leak in a drain close to a foundation can occur at any time. This can pull away soil from under the foundation resulting in settlement in the foundation and cracking in walls. Nothing cracks in walls is important and immediate remedial work is normally significantly less expensive then waiting for the problem to develop.

Note, It is advisable that cracks in structural walls are not repaired until the exact reason for their existence is understood. If a vendor is going to undertake repairs to an existing cracked wall before placing a house on the market, a building surveyor for a potential purchaser will automatically become suspicious as to whether the underlying problem which caused the cracks in the first place have been fully repaired, or is the vendor of the property just papering over the cracks in an attempt to hide them.

If an experienced building surveyor can see the cracks in the wall in their raw state, there are numerous telltale signs, which may indicate to the building surveyor whether the crack is minor or serious. The building surveyor is likely to assume a worse scenario then may have been the case if these telltale signs were not covered up in the first place.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Timber Framed Houses

Check that there is adequate ventilation in all exterior walls at ground level and at roof level

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Terraced Houses

Check expansion joints in walls

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Condensation Vents

Check vent openings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation under timber floors

Check out cross flow vent openings under suspended ground timber floors.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Steel RSJ’s Universal Beams and Columns, UB’s and UC’s

If a building extension has been added, or interior walls have been removed or the existing attic has been converted it is likely that steel UB’s have been fitted. Before a solicitor or bank will complete the paperwork a Certificate of Compliance with Building Regulations will be required to confirm that these works have been carried out to proper standards. An assurance or guarantee from your builder that the extensions works have been carried out correctly is not acceptable by solicitors or banks lending on the property.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check timber floors for springiness, may indicate undersized floor joists or rot in older houses. Check floors for sags, settlement especially were interior walls or renovations have been carried out.

Check timber floors for woodworm.

Check concrete ground floors for settlement including slopes in floors.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Stairs (see also Interior Hallway and Landing sections)

Check out condition of stairs in particular that the treads, risers and stringers are corrected fitted and measured. Other problems include hazards for children were they can get trapped or fall between gaps in railings, missing or inadequate handrails and inadequate headroom under stairs to ceiling above.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Pyrite

Check concrete floors for evidence of lifting / expansion. Check if doors are catching on door frames and against floors.

Note, Check out our website for more information on Pyrite at www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Radon Vent

Check out location or existence of radon vent

See our website for more information on Radon at www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Note, for further information on Structure check out our website and blog at,  www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

Fireplaces.

❏ Fireplace (Location 1,_____________)

Check condition of fireblock, does the fireplace / flue need to be cleaned. Is there evidence of inadequate draft from chimney. Is the hearth adequately sized

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Fireplace (Location 2,_____________)

Check condition of fireblock, does the fireplace / flue need to be cleaned. Is there evidence of inadequate draft from chimney. Is the hearth adequately sized

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Fireplace (Location 3,_____________)

Check condition of fireblock, does the fireplace / flue need to be cleaned. Is there evidence of inadequate draft from chimney. Is the hearth adequately sized

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Note, for further information on Fireplaces including smokey fireplaces, check out our website and blog at,  www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

Bathrooms / Ensuites.   (Location 1,____________________)

❏ Bathtub / Shower

Check condition of seal around bathtubs / shower and check units for damages

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Bathroom walls

Check tiling / waterproofed wall around bathtubs / shower. Watch out for cracked tiles in the shower area or around sinks. Tap on tiles looking for loose or hollow ones, which could be masking rotted backerboard behind them.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Wall, floors, ceilings

Check general condition of walls, floor and ceiling.

Note, Look at ceilings for stains, which could indicate a roof or plumbing leak. This applies to all ceilings throughout house.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation, extractor vents

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: ______________________________________________________________

❏ Check operation of lights, electrical switches, windows and doors and closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Fixtures and Fittings

Check for cracked, broken, loose, fixtures and fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Bathrooms / Ensuites.   (Location 2,____________________)

❏ Bathtub / Shower

Check condition of seal around bathtubs / shower and check units for damages

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Bathroom walls

Check tiling / waterproofed wall around bathtubs / shower

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Wall, floors, ceilings

Check general condition of walls, floor and ceiling

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation, extractor vents

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check operation of lights, electrical switches, windows and doors and closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Fixtures and Fittings

Check for cracked, broken, loose, fixtures and fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Bathrooms / Ensuites.   (Location 3,____________________)

❏ Bathtub / Shower

Check condition of seal around bathtubs / shower and check units for damages

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Bathroom walls

Check tiling / waterproofed wall around bathtubs / shower

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Wall, floors, ceilings

Check general condition of walls, floor and ceiling

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation, extractor vents

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check operation of lights, electrical switches, windows and doors and closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Fixtures and Fittings

Check for cracked, broken, loose, fixtures and fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Bathrooms / Ensuites.   (Location 4.____________________)

❏ Bathtub / Shower

Check condition of seal around bathtubs / shower and check units for damages

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Bathroom walls

Check tiling / waterproofed wall around bathtubs / shower

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Wall, floors, ceilings

Check general condition of walls, floor and ceiling

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation, extractor vents

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check operation of lights, electrical switches, windows and doors and closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Fixtures and Fittings

Check for cracked, broken, loose, fixtures and fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Kitchen.

❏ Sink

Check condition of sink for damage

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Seal around sink, kitchen worktop.

Check tiling / waterproofed wall around sink and worktop

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors and wall units / closets

Check general condition of walls, floor, ceiling, windows, doors and wall units / closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation, extractor vents

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check operation of lights, electrical switches,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Utility Room.

❏ Sink

Check condition of sink for damage

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Seal around sink and worktop.

Check tiling / waterproofed wall around sink and worktop

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors and wall units / closets

Check general condition of walls, floor, ceiling, windows, doors and wall units / closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation, extractor vents

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check operation of lights, electrical switches,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Livingroom.  (Location1,_______________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Livingroom.  (Location 2,_____________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Livingroom.  (Location 3,_______________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Livingroom.  (Location 4,______________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Livingroom.  (Location 5,______________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Hallway.

❏ Handrails

Check condition and firmness of handrails

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Steps

Check condition and equal rises and size of steps

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Safety Rails

Check gaps between a height of safety rails

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required; _______________________________________________________________

Landing

❏ Handrails

Check condition and firmness of handrails

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: ______________________________________________________________

❏ Steps

Check condition and equal rises and size of steps

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Safety Rails

Check gaps between a height of safety rails

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Bedroom.  (Location 1,_____________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Built in Closets / Wardrobes

Check condition of built in wardrobes / closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Bedroom.  (Location 2,______________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Built in Closets / Wardrobes

Check condition of built in wardrobes / closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Bedroom.  (Location 3,_______________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Built in Closets / Wardrobes

Check condition of built in wardrobes / closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Bedroom.  (Location 4,_______________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Built in Closets / Wardrobes

Check condition of built in wardrobes / closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Bedroom.  (Location 5,_______________________________)

❏ Walls

Check condition of wall

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ceiling

Check condition of ceiling.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Floors

Check condition of Electrical fittings

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check condition of Windows and Doors

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Ventilation

Check for adequate ventilation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Check operation of smoke alarms,

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Built in Closets / Wardrobes

Check condition of built in wardrobes / closets

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Electrical

❏ Electrical Breaker or Fuse Panel

Check condition of electrical panel or fuse box, or there adequate circuits, are the fuses or breakers correctly sized, is there room for expansion, is there a RCD fitted. Open the panel cover and look for scorch marks around breakers or fuses which could be a sign of loose and sparking wires.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Electrical Wiring

What type of wiring is fitted, are there adequate circuits, are plug sockets earthed, are there exposed or loose wiring. Is there a reliance on extension leads.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Smoke Alarms

Are the smoke alarms battery and mains operated

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Switches and Sockets

Check condition of the switches and socked, Is there a sufficient number of plug sockets for modern standards of living. Also check plug sockets and switches for scorch marks, which could be a sign of loose and sparking wires.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Note, for further information on Electrics check out our website and blog at,  www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

Heating System

 

❏ Boiler

Check condition of boiler, are recent service records available

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Controls / Thermostats

Check condition and operation of heating controls

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Radiators

Check condition of radiators, or all valve operational, any water leaks from radiations/valves

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Plumbing to Radiators

Check condition of plumbing supply, are pipes minicore, gun barrel, pvc or copper

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Flue to boiler

Check condition of flue, is made of asbestos

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Note, for further information on Heating check out our website and blog at,  www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

 

Plumbing

Note, Plumbing issues are also included in the, Septic Tanks, Private Water Well, Attic Space and other sections in this Guide.

 

❏ Look for signs of corrosion, which could indicate a problem with the water, or with the pipe itself. Watch for green stains around brass and copper fittings and on shutoff valves, a sign of either corrosion or electrolysis caused by different metals. This will cause leaks and bad connections if left uncorrected.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check the water pressure. Low pressure could mean a problem with the plumbing line or just sediment buildup in the shower head and taps.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Check drains for speed of drainage – a slow drain may have a clog or a blocked vent pipe. Look for a full swirling drain; bubbling drains are a sign of a problem.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Flush the toilets to make sure they operate properly. Open their tanks and look for worn or missing parts. Then wait around for a few minutes to see if the toilet runs after a pause, a sign of a slow leak.

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Note, for further information on Plumbing check out our website and blog at,  www.PropertyHealthCheck.ie

Insulation

❏ Attic Insulation

Check depth and coverage of attic insulation

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Insulation on Copper Cylinder

Check insulation on copper cylinder

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Insulation over attic trap door

Check insulation on same

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Draft seal around Attic trap door

Check draft seal around same

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Draft seals around exterior doors

Check draft seal around same

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Draft seals around window frames

Check draft seals around same

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ Exterior wall insulation

If exterior wall insulation has been upgraded, locate paperwork

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

❏ BER, Building Energy rating Certificate.

Check if BER cert recommends easy upgrades and consider implementing

Note Concerns:   ________________________________________________________________

Actions Required: _______________________________________________________________

Notes

What should Sellers and Buyers should know when organizing a building survey

Answer.

This post will assist buyers and sellers of properties identify defects and other potential issues that the building surveyor will be looking for when your property is surveyed.

If certain defects can be identified and repaired before the house is placed on the market for sale, it should prevent renegotiation taking place at a very late stage in the sale process, which would likely adversely affect the sale of your property, including the purchase of the home you are looking to buy.

Making the decision to sell your home is a huge step for most homeowners. But once the decision is made to sell, then making your home Marketable should be your number one goal, especially if you want to stand out against all the other homes in the area that are also for sale!

By implementing a detailed checklist a seller can decide early on what to do in order to improve the condition of their property. It is important for a seller to know exactly what a Building Surveyor will be looking for when surveying there property. By implementing what is normally a detailed but simple set of tasks the seller will become more educated about the condition of their property including what minor and major issues and potential expenses that will come to light when their property is surveyed.

There are a number of checklists freely available on the internet which will show potential defects in the structure, attic, roof, grounds, walls, floors and services such as heating, electrics and plumbing. These defects if not corrected are potential “deal-breaker” in the sale of any property. By implementing a pre-sale checklist, it will reduce the likelihood of your potential buyer coming back to you trying to reduce the price after their building survey in carried out.

Benefits of the implementing a detailed pre-sale checklist.

Identify defects and make repairs ahead of time. By identifying possible defects early on, the seller is in a position to handle repairs prior to placing their house on the market, making the house more attractive and more saleable. This may mean more money to the seller and a faster sale. Making repairs ahead of time will limit objections over defects during the negotiations. Some defects may be regarded as minor concerns in the eyes of a prospective buyer, but when numerous small defects are added together they can often become deal breakers, especially is a more serious defect comes to light during a building survey.

  • No building surveyor bringing up minor and major issues after the deal is done.
  • Your home could sell faster!
  • Your home could sell for more money!
  • No more buyers walking away because they think there is a problem with the house.
  • No 11th hour renegotiation’s based on the building surveyors report.
  • No more buyers getting cold feet when they find out the home is not perfect.
  • It allows you to resolve any major issues in conjunction with your estate agent and your building surveyor before you put your house on the market.
  • By following a professional checklist it allows you to fix any problems you like or recognise the problem and reflect it in the purchase price – take it off the table as a negotiating tool against you.
  • You have time to get several quotes for those items that you choose not to fix, no more high quotes for carrying out repairs from potential buyers at closing time because they know you’re up against the wall.

A professional checklist should be detailed and broken down into sections covering all the different parts of the property. Checklists would not be exhaustive, but should cover most of the main problems found in properties.

What should Sellers and Buyers should know when organizing a building survey

The type of building survey that the seller / buyer is seeking to have carried out will depend on the age and condition of the property. In many cases the seller or buyer will not know enough about building surveying to be able to give clear and complete instructions at the outset. In these cases the building surveyors first task is to acquaint the client with the nature and extent of the options available and advice as to which is most suitable.

The Role of the Building Surveyor

Surveyors are expected to have the professional skills and experience to carry out surveys. They should also have a good working knowledge of the law in relation to all areas of their profession.

There is no universally accepted scale of fees for surveying. At present when setting fees, surveyors generally take account of a number of factors, including the length of time they expect the work to take, the complexity of the task, having regard to the age, type, size and location of the property.

It is very important that fees and the extent of the survey should be clearly stipulated and agreed between the client and the surveyor at the outset.

Planning Permission Certificates and Certificates of Compliance with Building Building Regulations.

A Building Surveyor will note any alterations, extensions, attic conversions, sheds, garages and any other structural changes that come to his attention.

The building surveyors concerns cover two particular areas,

  1. Do the alteration / extensions comply with good building practices
  2. Do these changes or extensions require planning permission or certificates of exemption from planning permission.

Far to often sellers leave it to the last minute to obtain these certificates and this will almost certainly delay the sale of a property if non-compliance with planning or regulation issues are noted.

In most cases building regulation issues can be resolved by making certain changes to the building. Issues that relate to planning permission may necessitate contacting the local planning department. If there is a planning permission issue it can take at least three months to sort out. It is advisable not to ignore possible issues in the hope that they won’t be spotted.

Planning permission and building regulation issues concerning changes to all properties are going to be raised when the solicitors exchange final contracts on the property.

Closing your eyes to these questions in the hope that these issues won’t be raised is one of the main reasons that house sales fall through. Also ignoring or waiting to deal with potential planning permission and building regulation issues until the sale is agreed will almost certainly delay the sale of the property for at least three months while planning permission issues are been sorted.

There is no quick fix in dealing with planning permission issues, therefore it is important to make sure that your property is fully complainant with planning permission and building regulations as soon as you decide to put your house on the market. Hopefully if there are any issues, they can be resolves before final contracts are to be signed.

Contents of Check List

  1. Grounds
  2. Outside Sheds / Garages
  3. Septic Tanks / Secondary Treatment Systems
  4. Private Water Wells
  5. Exterior Finishes and Components
  6. Roof Coverings
  7. Attic Space
  8. Structure
  9. Fireplaces
  10. Bathrooms / Ensuites
  11. Kitchen
  12. Utility Room
  13. Livingrooms
  14. Hallway
  15. Kitchen
  16. Bedrooms
  17. Electrical
  18. Heating
  19. Plumbing
  20. Insulation
  21. Notes

What are some of the common types of structural defects in older houses that are expensive to repair?

Answer.

General Structure.

The structure is by far the most important part of a building survey. In many instances, structural problems are expensive to repair. The structural part of the building survey involves examining all the visible parts of the exterior, the roof, interior walls, ceilings, floors, attic spaces, doors and window frames. Particular attention is paid to visible evidence of past or present movement such as cracks, settlement, bowing, lifting and heaving.

 

Foundations.

Foundations are the most important structural element of a property. Older properties would normally have stone foundations. Common types of foundations are now of poured concrete and are generally termed strip foundation, raft foundations and pier and beam foundations. As foundations are not visible during a building survey the building surveyor will be looking for visible evidence of settlement / movement in the walls, floors, arches, etc to determine the likelihood of foundation movement. Most older properties may have settled to some extent. The main concern here would be recent or ongoing settlement or movement.

Walls

Walls are divided into structural walls and non-structural / partition walls. Outer walls are almost always structural bearing walls while inner walls maybe either structural or non-load bearing partition walls. Alterations to walls should not be carried out until such time as it has been confirmed that the wall to be altered in not load bearing. If is not unusual that the original damp proof course that would have been fitted, would have now failed or not be fully effective.

Floors

Floors should be designed to take the dead and imposed loads imposed on them.  Most floors in older houses would be constructed form significantly smaller timber floor joist,s then would be used in more modern buildings. Its very common to have rot in timber floors due to rising and lateral dampness in the structure.

 

Floor Ventilation

Adequate ventilation is required under suspended timber floors to remove excessive moisture. Excessive moisture in the crawl space under the timber floor is a common reason for decay in floor joists and floor boards.

What should you expect from your building surveyor?

Answer.

What To Expect: Many home buyers sometimes buy their home on impulse. Experienced building surveyors can help home buyers avoid buyers remorse by reporting on building defects and problems before the home buyer finds them after closing. All detailed surveys should provide clients with the tools they need to make an educated choice regarding the quality and condition of their potential new home.

Buyers Benefits: A professional pre-purchase Building Survey is the best way for potential home buyers to effectively evaluate the risks of a property purchase. A major concern of home buyers is being suddenly confronted with major and costly problems after they take possession of a property. A professional pre-purchase building survey can reduce anxiety by screening for problems and itemizing them in a comprehensive report.  The general result of a professional building survey is that the property buyer will make a significantly more informed purchase.

Screening for Problems: Most homes have strong and weak points, they are not always what they seem. Gain the perspective and sound information you need to make better decisions with a detailed building survey. An experienced building surveyor will use both his experience and also work through a checklist of potential concerns to identify the major and minor deficiencies in the home.

Credentials: Like any other professional, building surveyors have varied degrees of expertise. All building surveyors, architects and engineers should be carefully screened before engaging their services. Not all survey reports are equal and vary from almost useless to very informative.

Many people without specific building surveying qualifications offer pre-purchase building surveys. Likewise, qualifications are not always what they seem. Engineering, surveying and architectural qualifications alone do not prepare anyone to competently survey homes and communicate the findings. A helping attitude, good communication skills, and mature judgement must supplement technical competence AND EXPERIENCE. Make sure you work with a registered building surveying company that shows you upfront a sample report which specifies both what is offered and what limitations apply before you engage that company. Most verbal “warranties” offer little comfort.

 

What does a typical building survey cover?

  • Movement or settlement in the house foundations
  • Movements or cracks in the house’s exterior walls
  • Condition of windows and exterior doors
  • The roof of the property, including roof coverings, flashings, chimneys and gutters
  • Interior attic space
  • Interior walls, ceilings, floors and stairs
  • Standard of insulation throughout the property
  • Inspection of exterior aspects to the property, including drainage, paths and driveways and boundary walls / railings
  • An overview of the plumbing, heating and electrical system

FAQ, about building surveys

Q: What is a “House Survey”?

A: house survey is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Our building surveyor’s report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home’s roof, attic, roof coverings, insulation, exterior, grounds, heating system, plumbing and electrical systems; interior walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors and visible structure. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up.

Q: Why you should choose to have a Professional House Inspection?

A: We cannot emphasize enough the value and necessity of a professional home inspection. Many home purchasers, either in the desire to save the €300 to €400 that a good inspection costs, or due to simple ignorance, have spent enormous sums of money repairing items that any good building surveyor would have pointed out.

Any offer to purchase you make should be contingent upon a professional house survey with a satisfactory report. Do not let anyone, not your family or friends, and especially not the seller or builders dissuade you from having the property thoroughly inspected! Not only will you sleep much sounder after you have moved into the house, a professional inspection can give you the ability to opt out of a contract on a defective house. If the contract is written contingent on an acceptable inspection, any defects in the home must be either repaired or monetarily compensated for. If you are not satisfied, you have the option to cancel the contract.

Don’t wait until you have placed an offer on a house before you begin the search for a building surveyor. If you start trying to find a building surveyor at the last minute, you may not find an acceptable one to schedule it in the necessary time frame, you will only have two choices: go with an surveyor that is not your first choice, or run the risk of not getting the house professionally surveyed. (which could void any chance of having the seller take care of repairs). Neither is an acceptable alternative!

Q: Why do I need a building survey?

A: The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, a building survey will also point out the positive aspects of a home. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and will be able to make a confident buying decision.
If you have owned your home for a long time, a house survey can identify problems in the making and recommend preventive measures which might avoid costly future repairs. In addition, home sellers may opt for having a survey prior to placing the home on the market to gain a better understanding of conditions which the buyer’s building surveyor may point out. This provides an opportunity to make repairs that will put the house in better selling condition.

Q: How much does a house survey cost?

A: The house survey cost for a typical single family residence varies. The building survey cost will depend upon the size of the house, particular features of the house, its age, and possible additional services, such as wells or septic systems.
However, do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a house survey, or in the selection of your building surveyor. The knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest priced surveyor is not necessarily a bargain. The inspector’s qualifications, including his experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be the most important consideration. If you require a bank valuation from auctioneers in dublin or any other county you should consult a local auctioneers.

Q: Can’t I do it myself?

A: Even the most experienced home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a professional building surveyor who has inspected thousands, of homes in his or her career. A building surveyor is familiar with all the elements of home construction, their proper installation, and maintenance. He or she understands how the home’s systems and components are intended to function together, as well as how and why they fail.
Above all, most buyers find it very difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this may affect their judgment. For the most accurate picture, it is best to obtain an impartial third party opinion by an expert in the field of building surveys.

Q: Can a house fail a survey?

A:No. A professional building survey is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. A building surveyor, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.

Q: How do I find a building surveyor?

A: The best source is a friend, or perhaps a business acquaintance, who has been satisfied with, and can recommend, a building surveyor they have used. In addition, your Solicitor or estate agents are also generally familiar with the service, and should be able to provide you with a list of names from which to choose.
Whatever your referral source, be sure to ascertain the building surveyor’s professional qualifications and experience.  Always make sure you see a sample copy of a building survey report and the terms and conditions covering the survey before you make your selection.

Q: When do I call in the building surveyor?

A:A building surveyor is typically called right after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed, and is often available within a few days. However, before you sign, be sure that there is an building survey clause in the contract, making your purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional building survey.

Q: What if the report reveals problems?

A:No house is perfect. If the surveyor finds problems, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. A seller may be flexible with the purchase price or contract terms if major problems are found. If your budget is very tight, or if you don’t wish to become involved in future repair work, this information will be extremely important to you.

Q: What if I find problems after I move into my new home?

A: A building survey is not a guarantee that problems won’t develop after you move in. However if you believe that a problem was already visible at the time of the survey and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call and meet with the surveyor to clarify the situation. Misunderstandings are often resolved in this manner.

All building surveyors should carry professional indemnity liability insurance. The minimum amount of insurance coverage should cover the cost of re-instating your house if the surveyor misses something that he should have reported on.

Q: If the house proves to be in good condition, did I really need an inspection?

A: Definitely. Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property. You will also have learned a few things about your new home from the surveyor’s report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Above all, you can feel assured that you are making a well informed purchase decision, and that you will be able to enjoy your new home the way you want to.

Rotten floor joists

What are some common areas of concern during structural surveys?

Answer.

The structure is by far the most important part of a building survey. In many instances, structural problems can be very expensive to repair. The structural part of the building survey involves examining all the visible parts of the exterior, the roof, interior walls, ceilings, floors, attic spaces, doors and window frames. Particular attention is paid to visible evidence of past or present movement such as cracks, settlement, bowing, lifting and heaving.

Movement or structural settlement can occur at any time. Regular monitoring of the property should be undertaken.
Foundations

Foundations are the most important structural element of a property. Older properties would normally have stone foundations. Common types of foundations are now of poured concrete and are generally termed strip foundation, raft foundations and pier and beam foundations. As foundations are not visible during a building survey the building surveyor will be looking for visible evidence of settlement / movement in the walls, floors, arches, etc to determine the likelihood of foundation movement. Most older properties may have settled to some extent. The main concern here would be recent or ongoing settlement or movement.

Walls

Walls are divided into structural walls and non-structural / partition walls. Outer walls are almost always structural bearing walls while inner walls maybe either structural or non-load bearing partition walls. Alterations to walls should not be carried out until such time as it has been confirmed that the wall to be altered in not load bearing.

Floors

Floors should be designed to take the dead and imposed loads imposed on them. The scope of a pre-purchase building survey does not carry out calculations to confirm the structural effectiveness of the floor, but whether the floor appears to be in a structurally sound condition.

Floor Ventilation

Adequate ventilation is required under suspended timber floors to remove excessive moisture. Excessive moisture in the crawl space under the timber floor is a common reason for decay in floor joists and floor boards.

Flooding

Previous damage caused by flooding would normally have been repaired and flooding damage may not be obvious to a building surveyor at a time of a building survey. It is important to check with people living in the immediate area, the local authority and insurance companies who insure properties before purchasing a home.

Some basic tips on how to choose a building surveyor?

Answer.

Check if the Building Surveyor specialises in pre-purchase building surveys on new and old properties. Also check if the surveyor is qualified to certify that building works are in compliance with building regulations and compliance with planning permission.

Check if your surveyor is Registered as a building Surveyor. Register building surveyors have attained considerable experience in their area of practice.

In our case we specialise in pre-purchase building surveys and have carried out in excess of 10,000 building surveys and structural surveys.

Your building survey / structural survey will be carried out by Peter Sweeney and not a trainee. Before engaging any company to survey your future home you should obtain from them a sample survey report so you will know exactly what they will be inspecting, a copy of their “scope of inspection” including what are the limitations to the survey and a copy of their professional indemnity insurance.

Far to often home purchasers look at getting a building survey done as just another requirement in the house buying process that needs to be ticked off and leave it to the last minute to try and find somebody to “do it” for them. Often we get calls from potential clients saying that you we have been quoted a lower price elsewhere or that your price is less then other quotes I received and therefore your survey may not be as comprehensive. Before you engaging a company to survey your future home you should insist an a number of questions been answered,

Ask for the name of the person in their company who will survey your property, what are their qualifications and what experience do they have in carrying out pre-purchase building surveys.

Also, you should obtain a sample survey report so you will know exactly what they will be inspecting, a copy of their “scope of inspection” including what are the limitations to the survey and a copy of their professional indemnity insurance.

By not requesting this information you may obtain a building survey report that is not worth the paper it’s written. A report maybe written using very technical language, including exclusions and limitations that a lay person is likely not to fully understand.

As almost all pre-purchase building surveys are predominately visual inspections it is of paramount importance that the individual building surveyor you choose to inspect your future home has significant experience in pre-purchase building surveys and carries out building surveys on an ongoing basis.