After the Survey - Major Project

This example is from a survey of a neglected building. The resulting work will require careful planning and a large bank balance.

You may not wish to follow the UPVC suggestions, and care must be taken with finding un-biased damp and timber contractors, but otherwise this surveyor has made some good comments.

Structural Movement

I saw no evidence of structural movement in the property. The property has suffered previous movement denoted by deflections in window and door heads but I saw no evidence to suggest this is ongoing. The partitions have settled in the past causing some cracking and distortion of the door openings. This appears to be an established feature and is not considered unusual in buildings of this type. I consider the extent of movement to be within acceptable limits. Some first floor internal walls are supported off first floor timbers rather than from supporting walls or beams underneath. Unevenness is evident to the wall and some door openings at 1st floor level. Although this movement is considered to be longstanding and non progressive.

Dampness, Rot and Infestation

Dampness is affecting ground floor walls at low level; I suspect this is due to failure of the DPC Concealed timbers may be defective and all affected areas should be opened up and fully investigated. Penetrating dampness is affecting 1st floor accommodation. I suspect this is due to a defective roof covering. Concealed timbers may be defective and all affected areas should be opened up and investigated. You will need to consult a damp proofing and timber contractor to identify the extent of the problem and necessary repairs.

Rot is suspected to external joinery, i.e. gutterboards, bargeboards and soffits. Replace rot affected and replace with UPVC. Timber flooring to the ground floor is springy. This suggests defects in the concealed floor timbers and you need to replace affected boards. Wood boring insect infestation is affecting exposed timbers. A timber specialist will be able to provide details of the extent of the problem.

Condensation is affecting the property. I suspect this is due to inadequate heating and ventilation. You will need to get a better balance between the heating and ventilation and more insulation may be needed. I would recommend the installation of mechanical ventilators in the kitchen and bathroom to minimise condensation.

Chimney Stacks

Plant growth to the chimney stack to the two storey wing to the rear should be removed Defective mortar joints should be raked out and re-pointed.


The roof coverings are beyond repair. You need to get a roofing contractor to renew the coverings, provide suitable underlay and carry out any strengthening required to the roof structure. The valley gutters are in poor condition and should be repaired. The rooflight to the rear pitch of the main roof should be repaired. The roof space is not insulated. It should also be ventilated. Water storage tanks require covering and insulating to prevent frost action.

Rainwater Fittings

From ground level the gutters appear uneven and do not fall properly to the outlets and they should be realigned and fixed with additional brackets. The metal rainwater goods appear rusty and leaking at joints and require renewal.

Main Walls

Defective exterior render should be hacked off and replaced. The external rendering bridges the damp course and should be hacked off to a level above it to prevent dampness problems occurring. Defective brickwork at low level to the front bay which is weathered/spalled should be cut out and replaced. Sub floor ventilation is inadequate and additional airbricks should be provided.

Windows, External Doors and Joinery

The windows and doors that were opened operated satisfactorily during my inspection. Mastic seals into the gap between the windows and doors and surrounding masonry should be maintained in order to prevent wind blown moisture penetration occurring. The box bay window to the principal bedroom does not provide adequate means of a fire escape and should be replace or an alternative means of fire escape should be provided.

External Decorations

The UPVC windows will be maintenance free but will require periodic cleaning. The timber glazed rear entrance door and timber gutterboards bargeboards and soffits are gloss painted. The decorations are thin and peeling and require renewal. The render in part has a masonry paint, colourwashed finish. This is weathered and requires renewal. Rendered elevations are notoriously difficult to maintain and require renewal every three years to maintain saleability.

Garage and Outbuildings

The outbuildings to the rear garden are beyond repair and should be replaced. The rear lean-to is beyond repair and should be replaced. The rear entrance porch is beyond repair and should be replaced.

Outside Areas and Boundaries

The rear boundary wall should be repaired.


The soil stack is in poor condition and should be replaced. In view of the age of the house I would recommend you instruct a drainage contractor to check the drain runs.


The lath and plaster ceilings are in poor repair and should be renewed.

Internal Walls

The areas of large hollows and uneven plaster should be replaced.


Timber flooring to the ground floor is springy in places. This should be investigated and boards should be replaced where necessary. Solid flooring to the ground floor is damp. You need to identify the full extent of the problem. Adjoining fitting may require replacement. Solid flooring may be to be taken up and relaid incorporating suitable damp proofing. I saw no evidence of spring or deflection to the 1st or 2nd floor timber flooring to suggest major defects.

Internal Joinery and Kitchen Fittings

Internal doors need adjusting. Internal single glazed doors do not contain safety glass. The staircase to the attic room does not comply with building regulations and needs to be replaced. Due to the presence of rising dampness in the walls at ground floor level the skirtings, door jambs and base of staircase will be at risk from wet rot. Your damp proofing and timber specialist report will advise you further. Kitchen fittings are poor and should be replaced.

Chimney Breasts and Fireplaces

There is a gas fire in the lounge and dining room and gas fire in the kitchen/breakfast room with back boiler. Fixed ventilation may be required in these areas. Sealed flues to the 1st floor should be ventilated. The chimney breasts appeared to fully supported throughout with no intervening gaps or risk of collapse.

Internal Decorations

Internal decorations are poor and complete redecoration is required.


The electrical wiring system is old and does not comply with current standards. Complete rewiring is required.


The gas appliances require improved fixed ventilation. Gas appliances are dated and you should budget for replacements accordingly.


The plumbing system is unsatisfactory and should be replaced. The lead plumbing should be replaced with suitable materials. The sanitary fittings are worn and damaged and should be replaced. Stop taps should be tested in case of bursts or leaks.

Heating and Hot Water

The boiler is old. The central heating system does not extent to the whole property. Your CORGI registered contractor will advise you whether is practical to extend the existing system or whether you should budget for replacement.

How should you plan and cost the work?

Work from the outside - top down, then bottom up, then inside. Obviously some work inside might be done to make rooms comfortable but do not complete the decoration.

So deal with the chimney, roof and guttering issues first. Then focus on the drains, and low level issues e.g. spalling and damp, then the render outside. While this is going on, strip inside, treating any timber that becomes exposed - during re-wiring and re-plumbing. If ceilings are very bad and cornices have failed, then re-ceiling with plaster board and skim. Good plaster cornices are available at reasonable prices; it is cheaper to redo a whole room than match. If cracks are minor, then heavy duty lining paper is fine.

As long as you are game for it, then you will cope. But expect this to take longer than you hope and plan, and cost more than you hope and plan! If you have children then this can add complexity and stress to your family.