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As part of our Building Survey report, we summarise any building defects found by our chartered surveyors in a table. We prioritise them using our traffic light system and add an estimated cost for the  repairs.

We thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the most common building defects. Here are our top 4:


Poor Ventilation

This is a common problem and one that sometimes seems counter intuitive. ‘I’m trying to keep my home warm, so why would I want all the warm air escaping?’

However it’s the moisture in the air that needs to evaporate and without adequate ventilation, this becomes difficult.  The hotter months are on their way and attic ventilation will reduce the build up of heat. When it starts to turn cold again, vents will allow the heat and moisture to escape.

Have a look over your roof. Our surveyors use a pole camera system that allows detailed and safe access to check not just for vents but any other roof issues.  The roof is a key area we see lots of potential defects so here are a few to look out for;

  • Slipped/broken slates or tiles
  • Blocked roof valleys and cracked lead
  • Roof leaks and moisture
  • Poorly installed, torn, or weathered flashing
  • Ponding water
  • Overhanging trees

Damp problems

As part of our surveyor’s tool bag, we use a protimeter to take readings throughout a property. But the general rule is older properties tend to develop damp problems as the construction materials start to deteriorate.  We took a closer look at identifying damp in a property in this article.

Inadequate drainage

It seems obvious that any standing water around a property is going to cause problems, but often the signs are out of plain sight. These signs could be in the basement, or hidden behind a cabinet.

Look out for overflowing gutters, water stains in your basement, cracks in the foundations, and flaking on the walls. All of these point towards a drainage problem. Our surveyors take every opportunity to lift drain covers and check water flows. They are experts at recognising the signs our poor drainage and if they have any doubts, they will recommend a separate CCTV drainage survey.

Structural movement

Sometimes it may seem our chartered surveyors are a little obsessed by wall cracks, but they can often be the first sign that something more serious is happening. Examples include subsidence or expansion of building components. Subsidence is one of those words that can break a new home deal, so knowing what type of soil is prevalent in the area can help to reduce the risk. We reviewed subsidence risk in this post.

Buying a new home is one of those major life moments that doesn’t need to be a headache. Having a detailed Building Survey carried out which identifies any potential building defects can give you the confidence and knowledge to proceed with the purchase. It may be that you suspect there is some work needed with your new dream home and you want a professional second opinion to help create a repair budget. Or perhaps you are looking for some ammunition to negotiate a better price. Either way, a Building Survey from Chawton Hill will create a firm foundation for your project.

Request your quick Building Survey quote here.