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Building Surveyors Detailed Procedures


One of the first things building surveyors need to do when inspecting the property is to take notes of the character and description of the property, that is, whether detached, semi-detached, terraced, end of terrace and number of storeys. It is recommended to take note of the overall length of the terrace, if terraced house, and check for any signs of movements or rebuilding to other parts of the terrace.

building surveyDetached structure does not normally require provision for movement unless it is very large. With properties like large block of flats or long terrace, building surveyors need to consider many elements and check if the design of the building has been done correctly to resist the forces that can include ground movements and thermal expansion and contraction.

Many of terraces of old houses were built with no provision for movement. It is always a good idea to look at the flank walls at each end of a terrace for signs of leaning or bulging. Notes of the general lie of the land and the gradient which the property stands on are very important as buildings on the loping sites are more likely to suffer from structural movement compared to buildings that stand on the level ground. Building surveyors will always look for signs of past structural movement.

Age of the property is one of the most important matters for building surveyor as this information will help to establish what to look for during the detailed inspection. Properties built in different eras will have different defects.

Detailed inspections need to be carry out

Roof Spaces

- depth and type of ceiling insulation should be noted as well as the layout of the roof timber, its size and spacing.  Surveyors also need to take notes of the chimneys area, accessible wiring and plumbing checked.

Room by room inspection

 - building surveyors need to make a sketch and mark type of ceilings, walls, floors, windows and fittings. Lighting points and radiators are also marked. Experienced building surveyor will decide what material is the wall and ceiling made of by just tapping it. If the result of this tapping is inconclusive or he can't confirm type of ceiling, walls or floor, surveyor should mark it in his report and additional advice will be necessary.

Basements, cellars and Sub-Floor Areas

-these places are for surveyors full of information about the house but they need to take some extra care as these places are commonly unsafe (beetle attacks and rot to timbers)

External inspection of roofs

-Chimney flues should be traced to the fireplaces below. All redundant flues (removed fireplace) should be provided with air-vents to ensure a flow of air. Flues that are in use should have flue linings confirmed and a smoke test carried out.

The Elevation

-each elevation should be sketched using simple drawing. Sketch should also show any cracks that are present.

The site and surroundings

Surveyor should make notes of the condition of boundary walls and fences, especially any retaining walls. Driveways and other paved areas should be also checked.


Soil vent pipes and other drainage must be also inspected by building surveyors as well as drainage system below the ground. However surveyor is not expected to remove manhole covers which are tightly rusted to their frames or to lift heavy duty covers which cannot be conveniently removed by one person.


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