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Commonly Observed Property Defects & Their Solutions


If you suspect you have a defect in your home, then take a look at our list of common property defects below.

  • Bracing is a support or strengthening within a property. A brace is a reinforcement of or to a building component.

    The most common reason for bracing being needed in a property is to improve stability of a part of the structure. It would most commonly be incorporated into roof timbers or timber floors to try and design out any inherent weakness, or to provide additional support for replacement roof coverings which may be heavier than originals. It may also be needed if specific heavy items of furniture are to be incorporated within a property - an example of which would be a king size waterbed - or to support timbers affected by rot or decay. Bracing may also be needed to long lengths of thin walls. Similar terms would be Pier, Buttress, Pilaster.

    Other reasons for needing bracing within a building would be inexpert DIY repairs such as removal of load bearing walls, also corroded wall ties in cavity construction buildings.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess whether parts of your building need bracing, which include careful inspection of visible timbers within the roof void, and commenting on whether replacement roofing products are adequately supported. A surveyor will help with guidance on addressing ‚??spring‚?Ě in floor timbers and checking internal and external walls for vertical alignment and any give away cracking or bulging. Similarly they will comment on any removed internal walls and whether there are structural issues as a result.

  • A simple definition of a cavity wall is a form of wall construction that uses two walls of single bricks or blocks, separated by a 50mm space or cavity, which are tied together with wall ties.¬†

    This form of wall construction was introduced to overcome the problems of penetrating damp which affected solid wall construction, and to improve the level of comfort/insulation within domestic and other buildings. 

    Cavity walls became common in dwellings in northern and western Britain at the start of the last century, and became much more widespread during the building boom of the 1920s, and was to become standard practice after 1945.

    Cavity wall construction can be recognised by the width of the wall usually 280mm (the old 11 inches) on older properties to 300mm plus for more modern properties.  The bond of the bricks, or pattern externally, can also be a good indicator, cavity walls most commonly use stretcher bond, where the full length of the brick is visible to all bricks, but this may not always be the case. Cavity walls generally incorporate a damp proof course at ground level to prevent rising damp.

    Therefore, you need to be careful as other more modern forms of construction, and timber frame construction can also look like this and mislead the layperson.  A professional surveyor will be able to determine the true construction of the wall. Sometimes cavities are filled with a foam or fibre type material to improve insulation, indeed most modern forms of cavity wall are now built with insulation to meet Building Regulation standards for insulation.

    If you need some advice or guidance on a cavity wall issue then our helpline team can offer support. Please give them a call free on 0800 169 9661.

  • This is an essential feature of a cavity wall to help reduce the risk of moisture penetration to the interior when the cavity has to be bridged, for example above an opening. A Cavity Tray damp proof course would usually be incorporated in the original construction but is often omitted during subsequent alteration/extension works, increasing the risk of damp penetration to the interior, especially on exposed elevations.

    Penetrating Dampness is a major problem in some houses but there is often no ‘quick fix’.

    One common reason for Penetrating Dampness is the lack of an effective Cavity Tray within a cavity wall construction. There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of any possible Cavity Tray deficiencies.

    If  you suspect you have a Cavity Tray problem, in your home and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Wall ties are used to tie the two leaves of a cavity wall together, they normally have a twist or depression in the middle to provide a water drip to prevent moisture passing across the cavity, and causing damp problems to the inner leaf.

    Over the years, various types of wall ties have been used.  Initially they were produced from a number of different materials, but by 1940 the mild steel twist-type tie or wire ties became the most commonly used. These were galvanised to prevent corrosion.

    The main structural function of the wall tie is to provide the stiffening element, by connecting the two leaves together.  Providing resistance to buckling, wind pressure and suction

    Over time the corrosion of wall ties has become a major problem in many houses, and failures can show up in a number of ways for example:

    - Horizontal cracking of the mortar bed joints;

    - bowing or bulging of the wall;

    - cracking and spalling of the render.

    The most common reason for this is as the wall tie corrodes it.  Since the expansion has no where to go, the result is to force the mortar bed apart, lifting the brickwork above it.  As the ties are spaced every 450mm up the wall, this can mean a considerable total expansion over the height of the wall.

    There are a number of checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of this problem.

    If you suspect that you have a problem with wall tie failure then please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Most houses have damp problems or damp patches.¬† Generally the older the property the more likely it is that it will suffer from some form of dampness. This is usually due to inferior or deteriorating building materials and/or the breakdown of a damp proof course or membrane.

    Dampness can take the form of wet rot, penetrating dampness, condensation and the more serious dry rot. There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your dampness.

    If you suspect you have a damp problem in your home and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Penetrating dampness is caused by inferior or deteriorating materials such as defective render on the outside walls of a property. Other reasons for this occurring include: worn mortar joints between the bricks, or defective flashing to the chimney stack.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of the penetrating damp within your property. 

    If you would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Mould is a fungus that grows in a damp environment, and is commonly referred to as Black Mould. Mould most commonly appears on the internal walls within your home when moisture in the air comes into contact with them. This is widely referred to as condensation. Mould can occur in any damp environment, or on a surface of a wall or roof timbers.

    There are a number of other reasons why mould may occur, and this is mainly due to damp being present on a surface within a property that is not cleaned or washed regularly.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your mould problem, analyse the seriousness and the cause.

    If you suspect you have mould in your home and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Wet rot is the fungal decay of timber due to periods of moisture and dampness. Unlike dry rot it does not spread to neighbouring timbers. It is often localised and the fungi will eventually die when the moisture problem is resolved. Certain expensive hardwoods can resist wet rot. There are various forms of wet rot, and there are several Latin names for the various fungi - the most common being “Coniophora cerebella “

    The most common reason for wet rot affecting timbers in housing is prolonged contact with moist walls and brickwork / masonry. Periods of moisture contact at levels of about 20% are normally needed for wet rot to appear.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of wet rot, such as testing internal walls and timberwork with sensitive moisture metres, and checking skirting boards for longitudinal cracks in the timberwork. Externally there should be a clear distance between ground levels and the damp proof course. If you suspect you have wet rot in visible timbers then please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Dry rot is a common and destructive form of wood rot caused by fungi.

    Dry rot is known to surveyors world-wide as “Merulius Lacrymans” and can cause severe weakening and decay to structural timbers which may result in a lack of mortgage funding or mortgage funds being retained by a lender until the outbreak is removed.

    The most common reason for Dry rot is when timbers come into contact with wet walls or there’s a lack of sub floor ventilation. A fairly high moisture reading of about 20% is needed for the fungus to start.

    Other reasons for Dry rot occurring is the fungal infestation spreading from an adjoining property.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of dry rot, such as checking air vents to suspended timber ground floors to included their extent, and whether they are blocked due to extensions, build up of garden soil etc. “Springing” to suspended timber ground floors is also some indication of problems, but really the only way the full extent of a dry rot attack can be assessed is by the full opening of the property.

    If you suspect you have dry rot and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Woodworm is a major problem in many houses, and some people believe there is an ‘”easy fix’’ to solving an infestation.

    A woodworm is not a specific species.  It is the larval stage of certain woodboring beetles. The most common reason for a woodworm attack is the existence of the required environmental conditions for the woodworm to lay its eggs, consume timber and complete its lifecycle. 

    Adult beetles lay their eggs on the wood surface, and when the larvae hatch they bore into it.  The larvae tunnel through the wood for up to 5 years before they pupate, and emerge a number of weeks later as adults, creating the small round holes associated with woodworm.

    Finding exit holes in the surface of wood does not necessarily mean that there is an active infestation.  It certainly does not mean that the structural integrity of the property is threatened.  It may well be that the holes remain from an old infestation which has long died out. 

    Before any work is carried out to resolve a woodworm issue it is therefore important to ensure that the infestation is active.  One good indicator is the presence of bore dust under the emergence holes.

    Timber which may be at risk of woodworm has a moisture content of over 18%, although an attack can tolerate moisture contents as low as 12% for short periods. However, at lower moisture levels the rate of colonisation tends to be low, and infestation will die out with prolonged periods of reduced moisture levels. Therefore, by correcting a structural or environmental problem that allows damp conditions or relatively high humidity levels to exist, the pest problem can be solved too.

    Other reasons for an infestation occurring may be from old furniture that has been infested in a previous house and brought into a new property. 

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your common furniture beetle, which include;

    - Confirming the species involved;

    - deciding whether the infestation is still active;

    - deciding which timbers have been structurally weakened and need treatment or replacement.

    If you suspect you have woodworm and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • When a common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum) attack takes place it is most commonly as a result of the existence of the required environmental conditions for the Woodworm to lay its eggs, consume timber and complete its lifecycle.

    The adult beetles lay their eggs on the wood surface, and when the larvae hatch they bore into it.  The larvae tunnel through the wood for up to 5 years before they pupate, and emerge a number of weeks later as adults, creating the small round holes associated with Woodworm which are approximately 1-2mm diameter.

    The common furniture beetle generally attacks the sapwood of softwoods and European hardwoods.  Despite its name, the common furniture beetle is just as likely to attack building timbers (such as joists and floorboards) as it is to attack furniture.

    Finding exit holes in the surface of wood does not necessarily mean that there is an active infestation.  It certainly does not mean that the structural integrity of the property is threatened.  It may well be that the holes remain from an old infestation which has long died out. Before any work is carried out it is therefore important to ensure that the infestation is active.  One good indicator is the presence of bore dust under the emergence holes.

    Timber with moisture content over 18% is at risk, although an attack can tolerate moisture contents as low as 12% for short periods.

    However, at lower moisture levels the rate of colonisation tends to be low and infestation will die out with prolonged periods of reduced moisture levels.

    Therefore, by correcting a structural or environmental problem which allows damp conditions or relatively high humidity levels to exist, the pest problem can be solved too.

    Other reasons for this occurring may be from old furniture that has been infested in a previous house and brought into a property.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your common furniture beetle which include:

    - confirming the species involved

    - deciding whether the infestation is still active

    - deciding which timbers have been structurally weakened and need treatment or replacement

  • Death-watch beetle, also known as Xestobium rufuvillosum, and a major problem in many houses throughout the UK. The most common reason for a death-watch beetle attack is the existence of damp conditions, and when combined with fungal decay of the timber will often lead to a rapid development of infestation.

    Infestations are frequently found in joist ends embedded in masonry and generally where the timber members in a property are prone to dampness.

    Therefore, by correcting a structural or environmental problem which allows damp conditions or relatively high humidity levels to exist, the pest problem can be solved too.

    Established infestations will invariably cause substantial structural weakening of timbers, often resulting in the hollowing out of large dimension timber beams.  Damage is often more extensive than expected from the external appearance.

    The death-watch beetle has a strong preference for hardwood timbers such as oak, elm, ash and chestnut, and is concentrated principally in Southern and Central England.

    The life cycle of this beetle can vary enormously, from as little as 4 years where conditions are ideal, to as long as 12 years where a slow infestation of drier timbers occurs.

    The adult beetles emerge from timber during the period from March to June following pupation.  Exit holes are round and of approximately 3mm diameter.

    Following mating, the female will lay up to 50 eggs on the surfaces and in the crevices of surrounding timbers.

    To attract mates, the death-watch beetle creates a tapping or ticking sound.  They are therefore associated with quiet, sleepless nights and are named for the vigil (watch) kept beside the dying or dead with the superstitious therefore naming it the death-watch beetle.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your death-watch beetle attack which include;

    - confirming the species involved

    - deciding whether the infestation is still active

    - deciding which timbers have been structurally weakened and need treatment or replacement

  • Condensation occurs when moist air meets a cold wall or other surface, cools and in doing so leaves water droplets on the cold surface - called condensation. This most frequently occurs in your home when there is a lot of moisture in the air within a room or space. Other reasons why this might occur includes not having good ventilation to a room to allow in fresh, dry air. Drying clothes indoors, boiling a kettle or having a shower all produce moisture in the air and make condensation possible.

    You may suspect that you have condensation within your home but only a qualified chartered surveyor will be able to tell you the crucial difference between condensation damp and rising/penetrating dampness. There are a number of simple checks a professional surveyor can undertake to identify the extent of your condensation problem. They should be able to identify the likely cause of the problem and confirm that the damp is not, for example, coming into the house from the outside.

  • The term 'double glazing' generally refers to a window that comprises of two sheets of glass that are separated by a small gap (usually filled with air or other insulating gas) and sealed at their perimeter in order to form a single complete unit or system, which is commonly referred to as ‘sealed unit double glazing’. Such double glazed units offer significantly enhanced sound and thermal insulation in contrast to older style single glazing.

    ‘Sealed unit double glazing’ should not be confused with ‘secondary double glazing’, which is merely the application, or fixing, of a proprietary piece of glazing or plastic onto the inner side of an existing single glazed window. This is commonly used as a budget solution for improving sound or thermal insulation. However, in certain circumstances, secondary glazing may be the only viable option for improving insulation in properties that are historically listed (as there may be restrictions on whether modern Double Glazing can be installed) or where there is a desire to maintain period leaded or coloured single glazing.¬†

    Common problems with double glazing include failed or misted sealed units, damaged or loose fitting handles/hinges, poorly fitting framework due to poor design or sub-standard workmanship.

    There are certain situations/locations where safety glass (toughened or laminated glass) will need to be incorporated into double glazed units, in order to cope with the weight of a person falling against it.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent and identification of faulty double glazing.

    If you suspect that you have older or faulty double glazing you should seek professional advice from a qualified surveyor. The e.surv helpline is here to provide advice and guidance if you think you have an issue with your Double Glazing, so please call free 0800 169 9661.

  • Double glazing is formed with two sheets of glass separated by a gap, usually containing air or other insulating gas. The two glass sheets are then sealed at the perimeter to a form a combined unit, and so are commonly described as ‘sealed unit double glazing’. Any failure or breakdown of the perimeter seal (which can occur for a number of reasons) will allow moisture to enter between the glass sheets forming as condensation (known as misting), which cannot be removed and shows as an unsightly ‘fogging’ of the window.

    Failed double glazed units need to be replaced. However, in most situations it is not necessary to replace the window ‘frame’ within which the double glazing sits.¬†

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess if the double glazing has failed. If you suspect that you have failed double glazing you should seek professional advice from a qualified Surveyor.

  • A Flashband is an aluminium foil faced tape with a backing of tacky bitumen, which is used by some as a cheaper alternative to properly repairing or replacing a defective or substandard flashing detail. (See Flashing or Lead Flashing).

    Although the manufacturers make great claims about the longevity (lifespan) of Flashband material, it should really be regarded as a temporary solution to a water penetration problem, as only a properly formed flashing detail can deliver a robust and longstanding weathertight seal, particularly in situations where different materials come together and have a propensity to expand and contract at different rates, in a variety of weather conditions, which Flashband would struggle to cope with. There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your Flashband defects.

    If you suspect that you have problems with Flashband you should seek professional advice from a qualified surveyor.

  • Flashings are weatherproofing materials which are fitted at junctions/openings of roofs and walls to prevent water entering a building. Defective flashings are a major problem in many houses and some people think there is an “easy” quick fix. The most common reason for flashings failing are general weathering, wind damage, poor adhesion to masonry and poorly specified materials e.g. Flashband. Other reasons for defective flashings are poor design and workmanship. This results in water penetration to the interior of the building causing dampness and associated problems.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your defective flashings, including a visual inspection of the components externally and moisture readings taken internally. If you suspect that you have problems with flashings you should seek professional advice from a qualified surveyor.

  • Flashings form the weathertight seal in situations where two different elemental parts of a building or materials of a different kind come together - such as where the tiles of a roof meet the brickwork at the bottom of a chimney. Lead is presently the most common material used for such a purpose due to its inherent waterproofing qualities, long life and the way it can be shaped to form a successful weathertight seal.

    Water penetration into the inner fabric of a building can be a major concern, so it is very important that all external weathertight seals are maintained intact and are repaired or replaced with adequate materials such as lead when the need arises. Where water penetration has occurred, repair or replacement of flashings should only be undertaken following a thorough inspection of adjacent areas to establish if any serious water damage has occurred. 

    The most common reasons for lead flashing defects are weathering to adjacent masonry joints or the drying out of very old flashing material (leading to cracking and becoming porous) which can happen with age and wind damage. Other causes of water penetration arise from initial poor design, or poor workmanship.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your lead flashing problems including making a visual external inspection of the component and testing internally for damp penetration.

    If you suspect that you have problems with lead flashing you should seek professional advice from a qualified chartered surveyor.

    If you would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Floor cracks can be a major problem in many houses and some people think there is an ‘’easy fix’’ to putting them right, and this isn’t always the case.

    The most common reason for floor cracks is the upward or downward movement of the ground that will directly affect the floor.

    A downward movement of the floor slab may occur because of compaction of the hardcore (material such as broken bricks, clay tile and gravel laid beneath a floor slab), or drying out of a clay soil.  This is most likely to take place in the first few years after construction.

    The hardcore must not include any material that may swell, such as plaster, pieces of wood, colliery shale or thermal blocks.

    Sulphate attack does happen where the hardcore has contained water-soluble sulphates.  These are leached into the concrete floor slab, which then expands.  The floor domes and cracking can then occur.

    Where the cause is colliery shale, other buildings will be affected in the area.

    Other reasons for floor cracking occurring are from cement screeds.  The quality of the base upon which the screed is applied will affect the screed.  Also, the screed should be given at least a week to cure or there is a risk of cracking taking place.

    Sometimes screed is laid over timber flooring to form a base for a tiled floor.  As a result of the weight on the floor or thermal movement in the timbers, movement may be transferred into the screed and cause cracking of the floor finish.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your floor cracks which include; visual inspection, measurement and checking if whether the floor is level.

  • Lintols (or Lintels) help to form an opening by providing support to the structure above. As a consequence, their complete or partial failure can have a detrimental effect on the structure of the building.

    The most common reasons for failure of the lintol is either due to deterioration of the material used to form the lintol itself i.e. rot to timber or corrosion and expansion of metal, or the actual size of the lintol not being of sufficient  dimension to carry the walls/floors above. Issues also occur where the size of window/door opening is increased with little or no consideration given to the issue of lintol support.

    Many older properties do not incorporate adequate lintol support above window and door openings as the original door/window frames provided a degree of support to brickwork/masonry above. Replacement of the original timber frames with weaker (usually) non-loading bearing PVC double glazing can lead to failure of the brickwork above if a suitable lintol is not included at the time of replacement or the replacement frames have not been designed with structural support incorporated.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your lintol/lintel failure.

    If you suspect that you have lintol/lintel failure, you should seek professional advice, as if not addressed the damage to your home will worsen.

    If you would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Masonry walls are usually secured in place by sticking the bricks, blocks or stones together with lime mortar (older properties) or cement mortar (modern properties). The outer face of this mortar is usually referred to as the pointing, and this must be maintained in good condition otherwise moisture can quickly penetrate the wall, increasing the rate of deterioration, weakening the wall structure and causing dampness internally.

    The pointing can be renewed by raking out the mortar joints to a suitable depth and repointing. This is a job for a good, experienced bricklayer to ensure a satisfactory finish. It is important for the mortar used to be of the correct type and mix.

    Poor or defective pointing can be a major problem in some houses but there is no easy ‘quick fix’.

    The most common reasons for poor or defective pointing are: general weathering of the walls over time, particularly in exposed locations, excessive wetting due to frequent wind driven rainfall or leaking gutters, especially where there is subsequent frost action and unduly weak mix mortar or previous repointing.

    If you suspect you have an issue with pointing at your property and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • When hardcore containing sulphates has been used as a base for a concrete floor slab which subsequently becomes damp then sulphate attack can occur. If sulphates are present in this hardcore then they can react with the concrete, and this allows the floor slab to expand, causing damage to the floors along with external and internal walls - potentially weakening the structure.

    Other reasons for sulphate attack occurring include deterioration, or absence of the damp proof membrane (common in older properties), or dampness caused by a leak which can lead to, or accelerate the process of sulphate attack.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the likelihood of sulphate attack being the cause of a problem. By making observations of dampness, cracking, movement or distortion to determine the tell-tale signs of Sulphate Attack, alongside widespread local knowledge and whether similar properties in the area have also experienced symptoms, one of e.surv's surveyors can help you assess the likelihood of your property suffering Sulphate Attack. 

    If you would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • The most common reason for this problem occurring is when part of the chimney breast has been removed at ground floor and/or upper floor levels and inadequate or no support has been provided to take the weight of the remaining brickwork at the floor levels above, or within the roof void.

    Other reasons for this occurring could have been due to DIY work that may have been carried out by potentially unqualified previous owners or at a time when Building Regulations were less stringent. Unsupported chimney breasts can pose a serious health and safety risk if left untreated.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of the works carried out and to advise whether further strengthening works are required.

    If you would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • This is a major problem in many houses and the most common reason for Structural Alteration is when homeowners have altered the layout of a property, or have made changes to structural elements of the building during extension works, for example, knocking through a load-bearing wall without fully considering the effects on the structure of the property as a whole.

    Other reasons for this occurring can be if the owner has decided to combine separate rooms into one to create an open plan layout, or if walls have been removed and rebuilt/reinstated, without obtaining the necessary statutory consents.  This often happens as fashions or family requirements change over the years.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of any alterations that have been made to the structure, by identifying any weak points or cracks that could suggest whether work had been carried out incorrectly or whether the alterations are substandard.

    If you would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • An external render is in effect an impervious covering to external walls. What this means is a coating or covering to the exterior or your property, and a render can be smooth with a fine plain finish or roughcast and pebbledashed, with several versions in between. It is found on all class and calibre of property, and can add style and presence to a building. It is usually a mixture of various combinations of cement, lime and sand mortar

    Rendering can become a major problem in many houses, and some people believe that there’s an easy answer to a rendering problem. The most common reason for rendering an external wall is for it to act as a moisture barrier, but it can also be applied to improve the overall appearance of a property and / or disguise structural defects. It can also be used to improve insulation qualities of the property.

    The most common reason for defects in render is neglect, poor application or incorrect original mixture or surface preparation.  Over time the render can shrink and crack, allowing moisture to penetrate and transmit to inner faces. High level render on parapets and chimney stacks is very exposed to the weather and deterioration often occurs in these areas. When that happens the render becomes loose and unkeyed.

    Other reasons for damage to a render can be amendments and alterations to a property where making good to the original render has been compromised - e.g. removal of an older style lean to, or incorrect detailing and sometimes damage when replacement windows have been installed.

    A professional property surveyor can make a number of checks in order to assess the extent of damage to a render, which would include observing and noting any cracking to the external surface, any bulging or “blowing” to the outer face and tracing any external wall cracks around openings. Tests internally with a damp meter would also indicate whether water is penetrating through to inner faces.

    If you suspect your render is hiding issues deeper within your property, and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • The most common reason for defects in residential buildings is the lack of planned maintenance or repair programmes. The implementation of a cyclical planned maintenance programme is vital to ensure the structural stability of the structure and the longevity of the buildings elements.

    The other reasons for this occurring include:

    - Poor/incorrect specification of materials<

    - Poor workmanship - on site and off site

    - Natural deterioration - all elements have a shelf life and natural deterioration of the element is inevitable, leading to eventual replacement

    - Poor manufacturing quality - lack of quality control in the factory

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property Surveyor can make to assess the extent of your building defect. More frequent inspections may be required after bouts of heavy snow, which often cause elemental failure of buildings.

    If you suspect you have a building defect or an associated problem, you should consult a professional property Surveyor for professional advice. If would like one of our RICS qualified chartered surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Most houses have damp problems or damp patches.¬† Generally the older the property the more likely it will suffer from some form of dampness. This is usually due to inferior or deteriorating building materials. Rising damp causes issues, particularly where there is a breakdown of a damp proof course or membrane.

    If you suspect you have rising damp in your home and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • Sagging is a generic term, usually used in reference to the distortion of ceilings, floors, roof slopes or other elemental parts of a building. Sagging can occur as a result of the particular element (such as a ceiling) becoming detached from the fixing above, or some form of building movement (whether significant or insignificant) bringing about such distortion; or perhaps is a reflection of the original build quality of the property.

    It is common to see sagging of elemental parts of older properties i.e. those generally built before modern building regulations standards, which is not usually in itself serious, but could to an experienced surveyor be the tell-tail signs of a more serious problem developing.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of sagging problems within your property. If you suspect that you have parts of your property that are affected by sagging you should seek professional advice from a qualified Surveyor.

    If you suspect you have a sagging problem at your property and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • The most common reason for sloping floors in a property is the result of movement within the building. This can occur shortly after construction as the building “settles” on its foundations, but is most common in older buildings. It is often the result of subsidence of the ground upon which the building stands, or failure of foundations. This may have occurred due to past mine working, tree root damage or defective drainage. Another reason for this occurring may be the result of decay and/or pest infestation (woodworm, death watch beetle etc) of supporting timbers.

    There may have been initial poor workmanship at the property (‘cowboy builders’) which has resulted in sloping floors which have always been there. In certain areas of the country the presence of clay subsoil, which expands or shrinks with excess or shortage of water can cause sloping floors. Additionally, incorrect materials used in floor construction or hardcore beneath concrete floors may be the underlying cause of an issue with sloping floors.

    If you suspect you have sloping floors in your home, and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look at your property, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • A simple definition of a solid wall is a form of wall construction that uses bricks, blocks, stone or other forms of masonry components to build a solid wall.¬† Solid wall construction has been around for thousands of years.

    These walls are made of varying thickness, dependant on the material used in their construction, and this is usually determined by what is available in the region i.e. stone or clay to produce bricks. Typically, most standard/conventional solid brick walls measure approx 230mm (9 inches) thick.

    These types of wall can suffer with numerous defects, many of these defects can be due to their age, for example they may suffer from weathering of the external component, penetrating damp, movement etc.

    Many early solid walls may not have incorporated a damp proof course to prevent damp rising from the ground, affecting the wall above and any adjacent timber floor.

  • The most common reason for structural movement is Subsidence/Movement to the ground.

    Subsidence usually refers to problems whereby a building is damaged by a failure in the ground, whereas settlement refers to failure of the components of a building. 

    Mining subsidence, landslips, earthquakes, trees and moisture changes due to clay shrinkable soils for example can all cause cracking to properties. Cracks occur because part of the building is displaced from the rest without any change in the actual size of materials.

    Other reasons for this occurring are as follows:

    Shrinkage cracks: Minor shrinkage cracks form as the newly constructed building commences the drying out process.  Normally, these can be filled as part of a redecoration programme.

    Overloading: Overloading can occur to the ground, to the building itself and to parts of the building resulting in cracking. 

    Effect of changes in temperature: Changes in the temperature, the expansion and contraction of the building components takes place, which results in the change and size of the components.  .

    Vibrations: Vibrations cause cracks in buildings, but the intensity of the vibrations need to be high.  Typical residential examples include earthquakes, traffic or sonic booms.

    There are a number of simple checks made to assess the extent of your defect, which include an inspection of the internal and external envelope by a professional property surveyor. If you suspect you have a structural problem or an associated problem, you should consult a qualified property surveyor for professional advice.

    If you suspect that you have structural problem with your property and would like one of e.surv's RICS qualified chartered surveyors to visit and inspect your home, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • The most common reason for settlement in a property is when properties have been altered or extended.¬† The ground below the new structure or alteration naturally compresses as it takes up the additional load.¬† Whilst this usually stabilises this can cause cracking; usually minor within the new structure.

    Another reason for this occurring is cracking to external walls, usually above larger openings.  This can occur where lintels above the openings have either moved on old mortar beddings or in some cases failed as the steel reinforcement has rusted, compromising the ability of the lintel to support the masonry above. 

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of structural movement in a property.  The width of the cracking can be checked with the use of a measuring gauge.   The extent of the cracking is recorded by way of detailed annotated sketches.  If necessary the use of a spirit level will confirm how extensive the movement is in relation to level and plumb.

    If you suspect that you have structural movement it is important to consult an experienced building surveyor, and advise your Building Insurers.  The e.surv helpdesk can provide further advice so please call free 0800 169 9661 if you suspect you have a problem.

  • Subsidence occurs when there is a failure of the foundations of a property due to ground movement.¬† This is usually caused by clay soil drying out and not supporting the foundation above.¬† This results in cracking in the walls above the foundations which, if significant, can compromise the stability of the wall.

    Other reasons for this occurring are found in gravel based sub soils.  Here serious leaks from cracked drains scour soil from beneath foundations.  The foundations can lose their support, fail and cause cracks to appear in the walls above.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your structural problem.  The width of the cracking can be checked with the use of a measuring gauge. The extent of the cracking is recorded by way of detailed annotated sketches which can also show the significance of movement aided by a spirit level and plumb bob.

    If you suspect that you have subsidence then the e.surv helpdesk can offer further advice and information so please call us free on 0800 169 9661.

  • The most common reason for bulging and bowing is where, in older properties main walls over the decades have reacted to the inherent loading within the wall and pressure from the roof by outward movement.

    Bulging and bowing can also occur where there is a deterioration of cast iron cavity wall ties in older properties.  Wall ties hold the outer and inner skin of brickwork of the main walls together.  In exposed locations or where very porous mortars have been used in the construction, moisture penetrates and rusts the metal.  As the metal deteriorates it expands and in conjunction with horizontal cracking causes the wall to bulge to accommodate the movement.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your Bulging.¬† A simple visible inspection where the surveyor initially looks along the line of the wall by placing their head against the wall.¬† A “straight edge” can then be placed on the wall to check the extent of the distortion.

    If you suspect that you have bulging/bowing in the first instance you should contact a chartered building surveyor or structural engineer who will be able to advise you further as the to significance of the distress.

  • It must be accepted that buildings move to some degree, and to a great extent this has been eliminated in modern construction due to learning from past experience and implementing new design methods.

    Cracks to a building can often happen soon after construction, when the materials used to build the property are drying out. Most of this cracking is not of a structural significance, but is unattractive and causes concern. In many cases it can be repaired and is unlikely to recur to any great extent. However, certain cracks are more serious and need to be properly diagnosed.

    Cracks can occur for the following reasons, and within these headings it may be due to different causes:

    - foundation movement, for example settlement or subsidence of the structure;

    - shrinkage or expansion, for example thermal movement;

    - deterioration of materials, for example rusting to wall ties;

    - overloading, elements of the building for example too much weight on beams or floors.

    Other reasons for this occurring include impact damage, explosion and wear and tear.

    There are a number of checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the cracking to a building, some can be simply diagnosed, and others may need to be monitored for a considerable time.

  • The primary reason for weathered brickwork is its age or the natural deterioration of the element. One of the most common and serious problems to affect brickwork is uncontrolled water ingress. Salts are a major cause of deterioration, with the most obvious signs of the presence of salts being the efflorescence, which appears as a white powdery deposit on the brick.¬† In severe cases a thick build up of white crystals can form.

    A serious sign of a structural fault in brickwork is cracking. This can be caused by structural movement, unstable foundations, tree roots or defects in the original construction, or potentially a combination of all these factors. 

    Bricks vary greatly in their ability to withstand frost, which can also cause serious harm to properties up and down the UK. Sometimes brickwork was poorly constructed and defects inherent in the original construction can lead to latter problems. And occasionally vegitation can be harmful to brick structures if left unattended to.

    There are a number of simple checks that can be made to assess the extent of your defective brickwork, which include minimum annual inspection of the external brickwork by a professional property surveyor. If you suspect you have weathered brickwork or an associated problem, you should consult a professional property surveyor for professional advice.

    If you suspect you have a problem with the brickwork at your property and would like one of e.surv's surveyors to take a closer look, please call us free on 0800 169 9661

  • This is a major problem in many houses and some people think there is an “easy” fix, however this is rarely the case.

    The most common reason for creaking floors is that the timbers or chipboards within a property are loose and as you walk on them, the edges of the boards rub together. Other reasons for this occurring can be poorly secured flooring which was lifted to allow access to repair or replace wiring, plumbing or installing central heating systems often being nailed rather than screwed in place. The use of inappropriate materials for domestic flooring will also often result in creaking.

    There are a number of simple checks that a professional property surveyor can make to assess the extent of your creaking flooring, which will include pressure testing and a visual inspection.

    If creaking floors in your home are giving you a headache, and would like one of our surveyors to take a closer look to see what the problem is, please call us free on 0800 169 9661


 
 

RICS Condition Report
 

The RICS Condition Report is a survey report which includes an inspection of your home, along with a section which provides you with advice for your Solicitors and a clear summary of the key risks associated with the purchase.

Please call one of our Survey Experts free on 0800 169 9661


RICS Homebuyer report
 

The RICS HomeBuyer Report will give you information on the condition of your property and advice to your Solicitor, plus a market valuation and insurance reinstatement cost. There will also be a dedicated section to provide advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance requirements.

Please call one of our Survey Experts free on 0800 169 9661


RICS Building Survey
 

The RICS Building Survey comprises a detailed property inspection with clear and impartial reporting on issues which should be taken into consideration. This comprehensive report will identify and analyse defects whilst providing options for remedial measures.

Please call one of our Survey Experts free on 0800 169 9661