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Building Surveys of Residential Property (Level 3 Surveys) - Conditions of Engagement

Specific details of the contract

The terms on which I will undertake this service are set out below.

Based on the inspection as defined below, I am a Chartered Surveyor and I will provide you with a written report that describes my opinion of the visible condition and state of repair of the identified property. I will carry out my duties with the skill and care that can be reasonably expected from an experienced Chartered Surveyor.

Assumptions

Unless otherwise expressly agreed with me, while preparing the report I will assume that:

1. the property (if for sale) is offered with vacant possession

2. the property is connected to mains services with appropriate rights on a basis that is both known and acceptable to you; and

3. access to the property is as of right based on terms both known and acceptable to you.

Dangerous materials, contamination and environmental issues

I make no enquiries about contamination or other environmental dangers. If I suspect a problem, I will recommend further investigations.

I will assume that no harmful or dangerous materials have been used in the construction, and I do not have a duty to justify making this assumption. However, if the inspection shows that these materials have been used, I must report this and ask you for further instructions.

I do not carry out an asbestos inspection or act as an asbestos inspector when inspecting properties that may fall within the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. With flats, I assume there is a 'dutyholder' (as defined in the regulations), an asbestos register and an effective management plan all in place and none of these presents a significant risk to health or need any immediate payment. I do not consult the dutyholder.

I will note the presence of lead water supply pipes and give general advice if these materials can be seen. However, you must appreciate that materials are often concealed within the construction of the building. If I am concerned about lead pipes I can see, I may recommend a specialist inspection and report.

I will advise if the property is in an area where, based on information published by the Health Protection Agency, there is a risk of radon. In such cases, I will advise further tests to establish the precise radon level.

I will advise if there are transformer stations or overhead power lines that I can see during the normal course of the inspection. If present, I cannot assess any possible effect on health. For obvious reasons, I cannot report on any underground cables.

I will advise on any other hazards to health and safety which are identified during the course of the inspection of the property.

Consents, approvals and searches

I will assume that the property is not subject to any unusual or especially onerous restrictions or covenants, which apply to the structure or affect the reasonable enjoyment of the property.

I will assume that all building regulations, planning permissions and other consents required have been obtained. In the case of new buildings, alterations and extensions which require statutory consents or approvals, I will not verify whether these have been obtained but I will identify where these consents may have been required. You should ask your legal adviser to follow up on these matters. I will not inspect drawings and specifications unless you specifically ask.

I will assume that the property is unaffected by any matters which would be revealed by a local search and replies to the usual enquiries, or by a statutory notice, and that neither the property, nor its condition, its use or its intended use, is or will be unlawful.

Restriction on disclosure

The report is for your private and confidential use. You must not reproduce it completely or in part. Third parties (with the exception of your professional advisers) cannot use it without my express written authority. Any other persons rely on the report at their own risk.

As a RICS member I may be required to disclose the report to RICS Regulation as part of its work to ensure that RICS professional standards are being maintained.

Complaints

I shall do my very best to provide you with an excellent service. However, if you believe that you have cause for complaint, my company has a complaints procedure, a copy of which can be given to you on request.

Specific terms and conditions

General description of the Building Survey

This level of service is for people who are seeking a professional opinion about the condition of a property and is based on a detailed assessment. Therefore, my inspection is more extensive than for other levels of service and I will spend a considerable time at the property.

I will closely inspect all parts of the dwelling and I will assess the interdependence of the different parts of the structure, especially the way in which the roof, walls and floors act together.

Where I am concerned about a hidden problem or defect, I will try to identify these and explain the risk they pose and what action you should take. Recommendations for further investigations will usually be the exception.

This level of service will suit any domestic residential property in any condition, depending on the competence and experience of the practitioner.

A survey report is an expression of opinion as to the state of a building and the probability of defects being present, concealed, or to develop, following a non-invasive inspection that involves no opening up. There is much of the construction of a building that is concealed - hidden items cannot be established as being present or in a sound condition unless there is evidence of the consequence of failure visible at the time of the inspection.

The inspection

The extent of an inspection will depend on a range of specific circumstances (including health and safety considerations). The following critical aspects may help you distinguish this from inspections at other levels of service.

Windows

I will attempt to open all of the windows.

Roofs

I will have a ladder of sufficient height to gain access to a roof hatch or to a single storey roof, not more than 3.0m above the floor or adjacent ground. It might therefore not be possible to inspect roofs above this level; in such cases, pitched roofs will be inspected by binoculars. The Surveyor will follow the guidance given in Surveying Safely issued by the RICS in April 1991, which incorporates the guidance given in Guidance Note GS31 on the safe use of ladders and stepladders issued by the Health and Safety Executive. Roof spaces

I will carry out an inspection of roof spaces that are not more than three metres above floor level using a ladder if it is safe and reasonable to do so. I may remove lightly secured access panels to roof spaces as long as the owner agrees, it does not take too much time, and it does not cause damage to the property and its finishes. I will enter the roof space and visually inspect the roof structure with particular attention paid to those parts vulnerable to deterioration and damage.

Although I will not move thermal insulation, I will lift small corners if I consider it safe so its thickness, type and the nature of the underlying ceiling can be identified and assessed.

Where I have the permission of the owner, I will move a small number of lightweight possessions so a more thorough inspection can take place.

In recent years, the lofts of many homes have been insulated with thick layers of thermal insulation. Usually, it is not safe to move across this material and this may restrict what I can look at in the roof space.

Floors

I will closely inspect the surfaces of exposed floors and I will lift the corners of any loose and unfitted carpets and other floor coverings where practicable. I will assess all floors for excessive deflection and I will remove lightly fixed floorboards and access panels as long as the owner agrees, it does not take too much time, and it does not cause damage to the property and its finishes.

Where the boards are lifted, I will look in the space beneath by way of an inverted 'head and shoulder' inspection. If it is safe to do so, I will enter the under-floor area to carry out a more thorough inspection as long as the access panel is big enough, the space beneath the floor is deep enough, and it is safe to do so.

Furniture and occupiers' possessions

I will move lightweight, easily moveable, non-fitted items where practicable, safe and where the owner/occupier gives permission.

Services (for example, heating and hot and cold water)

I will not perform or comment on design calculations, or test the service installations or appliances but I will observe their normal operation in everyday use. This usually means:

∙ operating lights and extract fans

∙ turning on water taps, filling and emptying sinks, baths, bidets and basins, and flushing toilets to observe the performance of visible pipework

∙ lifting accessible inspection chamber covers (where it is safe to do so), identifying the nature of the connections and observing water flow where a water supply is available. On dry days, this may involve pouring water into open gullies so drainage layouts can be identified.

I will advise you that further tests and inspections will be required if the owner/occupier does not provide evidence of appropriate installation and/or maintenance, or the client requires assurance as to their condition, capability and safety.

The grounds

I will carry out a thorough visual inspection of the grounds, and, where necessary and appropriate, from adjoining public property. My assessment will include such external features as retaining walls, gardens, drives, paths, terraces, patios, steps, hard-standings, dropped kerbs, gates, trees, boundary walls, fences, non-permanent outbuildings, rights of way, and so on.

My inspection will also include the inside and outside of all permanent outbuildings not attached to the main dwelling. This includes garages, summer houses, substantial greenhouses, follies and leisure buildings, but not the leisure facilities inside, for example swimming pools, saunas, fitness gyms, and so on.

Specific defective features and other matters associated with the grounds can be costly to resolve and may affect your purchase decision. Consequently, I will fully account for these. Examples include assessing retaining walls in danger of collapsing, deeply sunken paths or driveways, dilapidated boundary walls or fences and the legal and insurance implications.

Photographs

I will take various photographs to record the condition of the property, subject to consent from the owner/agent as appropriate.

The Building Survey report

My report will reflect the thoroughness and detail of the investigation and I will:

∙ describe the form of construction and materials used for each part of the building in detail and outline their performance characteristics. This is especially important for older and historic buildings

∙ describe obvious defects and state the identifiable risk of those that may be hidden

∙ outline remedial options and, if I consider it to be significant, explain the likely consequences if the repairs are not done

∙ propose a timescale for the necessary work including recommendations for further investigation prior to commitment to purchase (only where appropriate and necessary)

∙ discuss future maintenance of the property and identify those elements that may result in more frequent and/or more costly maintenance and repairs than would normally be expected

∙ identify the nature of risks of the parts that have not been inspected.

I will also make it clear that you should obtain any further advice and quotations I recommend before you enter into a legal commitment to buy the property.

I will not provide estimates of costs in respect of the recommended repair or renovation works.

I will not provide a market valuation of the property nor an assessment of the reinstatement cost of the property for insurance purposes.

Generally

I will inspect as much of the surface area of the structure as is practicable but will not inspect those areas which are covered, unexposed or not reasonably accessible.

I will identify any areas which would normally be inspected but which I was unable to inspect and indicate where I consider that access should be obtained or formed and, furthermore, I will advise on possible or probable defects based on evidence from what I have been able to see.

Flats

Unless otherwise agreed, I will inspect only the subject flat and garage (if any), the related internal and external common parts and the structure of the building in which the subject flat is situated. Other flats or properties will not be inspected. I will state in my report any restrictions on accessibility to the common parts or visibility of the structure. I will state whether I have seen a copy of the lease and, if not, the assumptions as to repairing obligations on which I am working. The Client is reminded that, particularly in the case of large blocks, the object of the inspection is to give guidance on the general standard of construction and maintenance, pointing out those items which will require attention within, say, the next decade and not to list those minor points which would normally be taken care of in the course of routine maintenance. (Many flats form part of large developments consisting of several blocks. In such cases the I will be inspecting only the one block in which the flat is situated.)

Fees and Expenses

The Client will pay the Surveyor the agreed fee for the report and any expressly agreed disbursements in addition.

Restriction on Disclosure

The report is for your private and confidential use. You must not reproduce it completely or in part. Third parties (with the exception of your professional advisers) cannot use it without my express written authority. Any other persons rely on the report at their own risk.

As a RICS member I may be required to disclose the report to RICS Regulation as part of its work to ensure that RICS professional standards are being maintained.

NOTE

A survey report is not a guarantee - it is an opinion as to the state of the building following a non-invasive inspection.

This service is delivered in accordance with the Home Survey Standard (1st edition) RICS professional statement and is equivalent to level three. Details of the service, including a comparison with the level two service for inspection of residential property, can be viewed on my website at www.tjwallace.co.uk.

I do not pay a referral fee or equivalent to any party who may have recommended my services.

T.J. WALLACE FRICS is regulated by RICS for the provision of surveying services. This means I agree to uphold the RICS Rules of Conduct for Firms and all other applicable mandatory professional practice requirements of RICS, which can be found at www.rics.org. As an RICS regulated firm we have committed to cooperating with RICS in ensuring compliance with its standards. The firm’s nominated RICS Responsible Principal is T.J. Wallace, 01235 832740

This service is broadly equivalent to RICS Level Three which is described on their website at www.rics.org/conditionsurveys.