A condition survey is just what it sounds, a survey to establish the condition of a building or structure or more usually part of the structure.
Typically we undertake condition surveys of roofs, chimneys, masonry, windows, and internal components such as staircases, floors and plaster. There are a number of reasons why this type of survey is completed. Often it is in response to a request by the Planning Authority. We also undertake them for architects, designers and developers to help them prepare repair specifications or as part of a redevelopment plan.
The level of detail that can be obtained within the confines of a listed building survey is not normally sufficient to be able to prepare an accurate repair specification. A condition survey of a slate roof, for example, may include a limited amount of opening up to look at the type and condition of nail, slating battens and lead sheet. We also record roof pitch, head lap and orientation. The survey report will also include an accurate count of slipped, missing or damaged slates. We will also discuss the options for repair, total or partial stripping or replacement.
Windows which are sometimes painted shut or are too dangerous to open are inspected in great detail by our condition surveyor. We record their construction, significance, defects and options for repair. Despite the dilapidated appearance of some old windows, it is rare to find that they are beyond all repair. Armed with the right information a good joiner can normally make all of the necessary repairs and retain one of the most important elements of any historic building.
Peace Of Mind & Verbal Condition Reports
Some people are prepared to buy a building without any sort of survey. In our view, this is a mistake. For those who are looking for some reassurance on certain aspects of the property, we will meet them on site and give a verbal condition report. We use the same protocols as a building survey but concentrate solely on any major defects. This type of inspection is more suited to developers.
We are sometimes asked to undertake a quality inspection to compare the standard of workmanship and materials against the approved specifications. This sometimes arises as a result of a dispute between the client or their agent and the contractor. We also carry out this type of inspection following works that have been completed as the result of an adverse survey. It is common to find that a vendor will try and fix a problem as cheaply as possible, sometimes without recourse to the conservation officer.
If you are about to put a property onto the market, consider asking us to carry out a piece of mind inspection first. Many sales evaporate after the buyer receives an adverse report. Even quite minor problems can be enough to put some people off. We highlight any areas that need attention and suggest cost-effective measures to help avoid any problems. We help you make the property as marketable as possible
Essential for large buildings such as hotels, public houses, schools and other commercial buildings. Problems relating to water ingress, detaching masonry, render and chimneys are common in historic buildings. The problems can become magnified in larger, complex properties where owners and managers tend to concentrate on running the business. They then react to any problems with the building as they occur. When a historic building is central to business, the last thing you want is for unplanned expense and costly business interruption The best way to avoid this is to inspect the entire building on a regular basis. We inspect the building envelope in detail, including the hard to see high-level details. We then advise you on current and future maintenance requirements, helping you to budget and ensure the building remains in good condition and open for business!
Condition Surveys – Measured Survey
If you are planning any sort of development to an older building then a measured survey is normally essential. The degree of accuracy depends on the intended use of the measured survey. If the plans are to be used for preparing quantities then a high degree of accuracy will be required. For some other purposes, accuracy is not quite as critical.
In the majority of cases, we measure using a combination of laser distance measures, hand tapes and photogrammetry. The deliverables vary but usually include elevations, floor plans, roof plans and site plans. These are used as part of a submission for building consent, planning permission or for producing detailed drawings for contractors and Building Control. These type of drawings are also used in the preparation of maintenance plans and to accurately record important features of a building.