Buying a Victorian or Edwardian purpose

built Mansion apartment which is

leasehold or shared freehold


We have experience of carrying out surveys on Victorian and Edwardian Mansion apartments

Buying an apartment or house of any type is a very important step and also can be a very expensive process. Also it can be a very expensive mistake if you purchase the wrong property.

This article looks at Victorian Mansion apartments and Edwardian Mansion apartments which are a special type of building that is found in major cities. Victorian and Edwardian Mansion apartments are probably one of the first purpose built apartments that were built.

Victorian purpose built mansion apartments



What do the red ovals mean?

The red ovals are a system that we used within our structural surveys and building surveys to highlight problem areas so that you are not left wondering what the problem is. In addition to this if the photographs do not we believe explain the problem enough together with our survey report we also add in one of our own sketches such as the example that is shown here.

Victorian mansion apartment problem with roofs

Box gutter and parapet wall problems


Caveat emptor

Caveat emptor means buyer beware and is why you need to have a building survey to find out if there are any problems within the property; the estate agent certainly will not advise you of any.

Remember the building Surveyor that you employ will be the only person working for you with your interests at heart.


Meet your Independent Building Surveyor

Meeting your surveyor at the property to talk through any issues we believe is essential.

We are independent Surveyors that have carried out surveys on Victorian and Edwardian Mansion apartments and flats over the years. We understand the benefits that people buying these properties are usually looking for which is larger space and also often thought has been given to shared facilities as well as noise transfer. However there can be problems if thought has not been given to future planned maintenance requirements or where the property is generally not being managed and run very well. These are all the sorts of things that we can pick up and advise you on during the course of our survey as well as probably what most people understand is involved in a survey such as looking for structural issues.

Yes we do go into the roof space during our surveys


We, for example, recently came across a Victorian Mansion where there had been some underpinning work carried out however on looking at this the underpinning was to an area of the building that would not affect the particular property we were looking at. In fact there were much greater problems with the roof leaking.



Surveys on apartments and flats

With our building surveys and structural surveys of apartments we are very well aware you have a liability, albeit a percentage liability for the property as a whole and as such we not only look at the specific apartment that you are buying we also take time to look at the surrounding properties, roofs, walls and windows and how these could affect you. We are also more than happy to look at any specific requirements you may have if you wish to alter the property. Do remember you do need the landlord's permission to carry out alterations. Call us on free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat about your property.

We often find old electric fuse boards


When looking at Mansion properties there are many things to look out for example property problems can occur with...

Without doubt buying a property is a most important step and expensive. If buying your first property it can also be a very big learning curve, you do need to understand and appreciate who is working for you, who is working for seller such as the estate agent and who is working for the bank such as the bank's valuation Surveyor; these people are not working for you and do not have your interests at heart.
We find most people start off generally looking forward to buying their first property but fairly quickly realise the amount of time it takes to have a good look around different properties and enthusiasm can disappear quickly.

Cast iron downpipe and lead pipe joining this.

Generally we would say that the supply pipe needs to be replaced if lead and believe this is the legal requirement although drainage pipes need to be thought about


Buying your first flat or apartment or new home

This article is one of a series of articles that looks at the different types of properties that we thought would be of use to you when looking to buy a perfect property. This article explains some of the typical items that Surveyors will see when they carry out a building survey.

One of the main points we will advise is to make time available when the survey is being carried out to go and meet your Surveyor at the property.

We are of course promoting our services call us for a friendly chat on free phone 0800 298 5424.


Purpose built Victorian and Edwardian Mansion flats and apartments

During the Victorian and Edwardian eras and pre and post War mansion buildings were built intended as apartments from day one and as such gave consideration as to how multi-occupied buildings work. There were some great innovations at the time that these buildings were built for example some Mansion buildings had communal heating systems and others had communal water tanks. Although we do not know they seem to have given thought and consideration to fire requirements by having relatively wide communal hallways and stairs. In many Victorian and Edwardian Mansion properties we also find the stairs are concrete stairs which is one of the benefits we find.


Typical grand entrance to Mansion flats


Tiled entrance to Victorian Mansion apartments

Stairs within Victorian Mansion block


Buying a purpose built Edwardian flat which is leasehold or shared freehold

Buying a one or two bedroom conversion from a larger house which is leasehold or shared freehold


Keep a watch out for immaculately presented interiors.

Painted to sell

We use the term painted to sell and often properties can be much more than painting such as plastering over cracks and painting to hide dampness. We have come across furniture strategically positioned to hide defects.



Many older properties do suffer from dampness with the dampness ranging from rising damp (although this is nowhere near as common as damp proof companies would have you believe) to lateral dampness often caused by weathering or pointing or indeed wrongly rendered properties which result in properties not being able to breathe.

Dampness and old buildings

Lateral damp

Testing for lateral damp



Probably the most common form of dampness we come across is condensation often occurring at the bottom of properties and being wrongly called rising dampness. The problem is the amount of humidity being caused in the property with everything from cooking to bathing and showering to drying clothes. Be very careful you do not come across a property where dampness has been hidden only for it to reappear as soon as the property has been sold. With dampness come all sorts of issues such as black mould.



Condensation in cold areas


Drying clothes


Heat transfer



Surface temperature reading to base of the floor





Lower surface temperature reading to ceiling and wall area



When carrying out structural building surveys we often take surface temperature readings with the example above showing high readings as heat travels up from the properties below this apartment compared with the cooler readings taken at the top.

Mansion apartments often benefit from heat transfer from the other adjoining properties particularly if you are on the top floor.


Roof space

The roof space should always be viewed if at all possible; in this particular case whilst the apartment was gaining heat from the apartments below and to the sides there was no insulation present in the roof.

Roof with no insulation

Heat loss

To reiterate lack of insulation will mean that heat gained from the adjoining properties will be lost through the roof.



Often Victorian and Edwardian mansion properties have sliding sash windows which will usually be single glazed and again heat will escape through these.

Sliding sash window



Just be aware if you are on the top floor of a Victorian or Edwardian mansion apartment conversion unless there is a lift present in the property you will be doing a lot of walking which could be good if you wish to have the exercise!


Please see our surveying articles on:-

Why have a residential survey?

Structural survey, what does a surveyor do?

Why you have never seen any building surveys or structural surveys like ours

Should I have a structural survey?


Or call us for a friendly chat it costs nothing to talk to us on

free phone 0800 298 5424

or at the very least take a look around our website

Always make sure when you have a survey your meet your Surveyor at the property.


We can email you examples of our structural surveys

If you are interested in having a structural survey on a one or two bedroom mansion apartment please call us on free phone us for a friendly chat on 0800 298 5424. If you are a landlord please contact us as we would be happy to help you with Schedules of Condition or Structural surveys on apartments.


Phone us for an example of a property like yours

Whilst we cannot guarantee it we believe we have carried out surveys on nearly every type of property so contact us on 0800 298 5424 and we are sure that we will be able to send you an example survey of a similar property to the one that you are looking to buy so you can see what you will receive from us before you purchase.

No matter who you commission to carry out your structural survey we always recommend that you go along to the survey to have a chat with the Surveyor.

We would also be happy to email you some examples of our tailor made reports, Schedules of Condition, Structural Surveys and Property Reports. We also find that Specific Defect Reports can be use where there is one problem or issue that needs resolving between the landlord and tenant.

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

The content of the website is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision. Free phone on 0800 298 5424


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