Should I convert back to a real fire or not?
We are Independent Building Surveyors
Our highly qualified Building Surveyors can offer you advice and help on buying a property. We carry out building surveys (also known as Structural Surveys), engineer’s reports and home buyers reports. We also do Specific Defects Reports on such things as chimney problems, dampness, cracking and much more. We can also carry out Independent Valuations but please note these are not for bank lending but are to advise you how much we feel the property is really worth.
Please free phone us on 0800 298 5424 and a surveyor will call you back. All our surveyors are independent and are not attached to an estate agent, bank or building society.
Free phone 0800 298 5424
Gas Safety Certificates needed
We recently carried out a refurbishment of a property where we had the dilemma of whether we should move back to having a real fire. This dilemma was not brought about by us wanting a real fire, but by the Gas Safe Engineer. When they came to check our boiler, he pointed out that we needed a Gas Safety Certificate for all appliances and we would need one for the real look gas fire with the ability to arrange the coals in the lounge. It did look very nice. We were more than happy with the look of the gas fire, it just needed a Gas Safety Certificate. Unfortunately the Gas Safe Engineer was unhappy to give a certificate without having the original documentation for the gas fire and not being able to establish exactly what sort of make and model it was. So we are now in a situation where the gas fire was condemned as unsafe which we thought was slightly unfair because it meant it was really the Gas Safe Engineer couldn’t identify what make or manufacturer the gas fire was.
Get the chimney swept by a professional chimney sweep
Checking the roof space
Onto a slightly different theme but still talking about chimneys is the original ingle-nook fire place. We recently carried out a survey where there are two large inglenook fireplaces, which made impressive features in the property.
Structural problems with chimneys
Of course, you do need to check that the chimney still runs from the top of the building to the bottom of the building. This may sound strange, but many strange things happen to chimneys over the years such as them being removed to gain more space and they can be removed in all sorts of ways.
What do we look for when examining a chimney?
We are looking for any cracking and depending upon the pattern of that cracking, will indicate to us the potential problems of the chimney.
We use photos and surveying sketches in our building surveys
We use a camera with a x16 optical zoom to take photos externally and internally during our survey which we add into the survey report, we also back this up with our surveying sketches to help explain what we are discussing. We also use red ovals and circles to help show things such as cracks or areas of damp.
Loft conversions are a major alteration and should be considered carefully
From a building surveying point of view we can see loft conversions carried out in a number of ways, from the traditional way where the roofs are constructed in timber to a more modern way where there is a metal structural frame added to the property. We have even come across roof extensions which have had a further rear extension added in what is often referred to as a pod room. This means that the rear room that you have be it a bedroom or study doesn't look over the back roof but instead is an additional room.
The feedback that we get from our clients is that they like our reports because we make them so clear and simple to understand because we write in plain English and don't over use technical terms, and we define terms when we do use them but most of all we use sketches and photos to help them understand the problems with the property. This in turn means that they can negotiate with the estate agent from a point of strength (remember the estate agents job is to sell the property and negotiate against the buyer) and what is more they can also explain to the builder what needs doing and believe it or not, lots of builders do require very detailed explanations about what they need to do.
We would add that our reports have an Executive Summary which advises of the problems, these are divided into immediate problems where you need to take action, minor problems where something needs to happen and problems where you should walk away from the property. In addition to this we use the terms Action Required and Anticipated Cost to explain what you need to do, (sometimes we give options on this) and the likely cost. As mentioned, all of these are divided into a Priority list of problems which we call The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – because everyone remembers this.
If you have got any problems whatsoever with chimneys please free phone us on 0800 298 5424 and we will be more than happy to have a chat.
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