building valuations


Buying and Selling

Victorian and Edwardian Houses


Always have an Independent Building Survey

You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, or send your child to a school without looking at the prospectus, meeting the teachers, etc, so we often wonder why people buy a house without having an independent structural survey?  Buying is house is probably one of the most, if not the most, expensive things you will ever buy so spending money and having an independent building survey makes perfect sense.

As Independent Building Surveyors we can provide you with help and advice with regards to potential property problems, offer you solutions to those problems and give you an anticipated cost of works to solve the problems.

Freephone us on 0800 298 5424 to speak to one of our building surveyors.

Free phone 0800 298 5424

Buying and selling a Victorian or Edwardian house – what could go wrong?

We think that buying and selling a house should be a fairly pleasant process.  Finding the right house for the next stage in your life in the right location and passing on your existing home to the right people helps them too.  However, we often find that due to other vested interest within house buying and selling and other pressures, this can all become a very stressful process.  We are sure we have read somewhere that moving house is one of the most stressful times in your life and it really shouldn’t be like this.

Photo of Edwardian houses

House built in Edwardian Era


Having an independent building survey should take away some of the stress, by finding any potential problems with the property and offering you solutions and anticipated costs of works, before you commit to purchase.


How can we help you when you are buying a Victorian house?

We are structural building surveyors and we can offer independent advice on structural problems within a property.  You may think that all surveys are the same; this is like saying that all cars, houses and people are the same.  They are very different. 

We are more than happy to send you a free example of our Victorian property survey.  We would just recommend that you have a survey carried out by an independent surveyor and look at an example survey before you choose them.  We would also add that you shouldn’t mistake a valuation for a survey.

Example of a building survey


We can send you an example survey


Why should you have an Independent Survey as opposed to a valuation survey?

These are two very different surveys, in fact we would say that a valuation is not a survey!  We have used the term Independent Survey above specifically because this means that the surveyor is not owned by a Bank, Building Society or Mortgage Company which the vast majority, by this we mean about 90% of surveyors are surveying companies.

Buying a Victorian or Edwardian house
What you need to look out for and where it can it all go wrong?

There are only a few types of Victorian and Edwardian property still in original condition. These are becoming rarer and rarer to find and when you do find them they tend to feel very tired, despite the ‘rose tinted spectacle’ view of how an original Victorian or Edwardian property is.

Edwardian house in London

Edwardian houses in London


High Level Problems to chimneys and roofs on Victorian and Edwardian Properties

Victorian and Edwardian properties that have had some up-dates/modernisations do not necessarily mean the property has been improved and we often find the problem with the property is due to these up-dates/modifications. 

Typical considerations would be high level problems such as chimneys and roofs, although original slate roofs last a long time the nails tend to rust away (this is known as nail sickness). 

Internally the services could be dated i.e. electric wiring and central heating.

Roof tingles


Thin copper tingles used for maintenance where the nails have failed



Roof tingle sketch

Roof tingles


Nail Sickness Defined

The weakening of the fixing nails to slates or tiles due to the nails which fix them to the battens rusting.  This is normally attributed to problems with slate roofs.


Victorian and Edwardian Properties that have had some updates

Victorian or Edwardian properties that have been updated and perhaps have had the original roof replaced with concrete tiles can add problems as these tiles are heavier than the original slate tiles and can cause roof spread unless extra supporting timbers are added in the roof space.

slate roof on Victorian house






Slate roof replaced with clay tiles on Victorian property

props added to a roof






Props added to roof structure due to heavier tile roof


Our unique building survey sketches

We utilise our sketches to illustrate problems. We have literally had hundreds of our own sketches drawn over the years.

Roof spread sketch

Roof spread

Chimney Flashings

All modern day repairs should have taken place such as concrete filler flashings rather than good quality lead flashing

lead flashing on chimney

Lead flashings are always better than concrete flashings

Sliding/Slash Victorian Windows – do you know what they look like or what problems they can have?

Also modern day repairs could have taken place such as concrete fillet flashings rather than a good quality lead flashing.  All these things have to be looked out for.  They may or may not on there own be a problem but combined with something else may well be.


Sash window

Often the original sliding sash windows have been replaced with double glazing and the original older style double glazing was relatively poor quality and poor strength and this can cause problems with bay windows and other such areas.


Circles and ovals in our survey reports

Our building surveyors regularly use circles and ovals on photos and survey sketches to emphasise a particular point and to make it easier for our clients to understand.


Properties that have been extended and altered

It is becoming more and more common to see properties that have been extended to the rear and also had a loft conversion.  When you have had both or one of these problems can occur with awkward roof layouts, awkward gutters and downpipes that don’t take the rainwater away and large poorly designed and built flat roofs.  

We have come across other alterations such as chimney removal and wall removal and conversion of old coal stores into rooms. 

victorian roof plan
Extension of Victorian roof

Gallows brackets

Gallows Brackets

Gallows brackets

Gallows Brackets

Problems on the outside that cause problems on the inside such as new driveways

Gardens have also been removed to make way for parking areas which then partially block air vent which then become gutters pouring water into the suspended timber floor. 

Airbrick acting as a gutter

Air brick acting as a gutter


Other surveying articles that may be of interest to you


Please see our surveying articles on:-

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

Why have a residential survey?

Structural Survey, what does a Surveyor do?

Should I have a structural survey?


Compare our Building Surveys but don't compare Apples with Thursdays

If you are looking to have a building survey (often referred to as a structural survey) we have a wealth of knowledge and experience as independent surveyors.  We are happy to send or email you a copy of one of our building surveys, although we fully appreciate all properties are unique therefore making all our surveys unique and tailored to your individual needs.

We have every confidence in our surveys and believe there are no other comparable surveys out there in the UK property and surveying market.

Having a survey carried out on the property by an independent chartered surveyor will give you extra peace of mind.

Victorian / Edwardian property problems with roofs and associated areas only

You may have noticed that the above concentrated on roofs and associated areas.  There are a similar number of problems for each area; we just wish to give you a flavour of what to look out for.


There is no need to remember all of this

There is no need to remember all of this, you can get a copy of our free Victorian Checklist if you Freephone us on 0800 298 5424 we would be more than happy to send / email you a copy.

Alternatively there are literally thousands of articles on the 1stAssociated website

Google search 1st Associated – If you type in the word 1st Associated and then the word Victorian it will bring up Victorian and Edwardian properties and their common problems.


Remember house selling and buying is big business

We tend to be a nation obsessed with houses.  The housing market is certainly big business.  Mortgage building societies compete for your business as it is such a good reliable business with everyone paying their mortgage if at all possible.  Houses are also our pension fund.  Buying a house and moving up the property ladder has always been seen as a very secure thing to do – hence the favourite saying of ‘best to put your money into bricks and mortar’.  Also living on an island that has limited space it of course makes sense to invest in property.


So how can you protect your biggest investment? By buying buy right!

Many people would say a house is not only a home but also an investment. The fundamental thing with regard to property investment is to buy right.  By this we mean buying at the right price and buying the right property in the right location for you.  It is also important to sell right as well.  You need to present the property the best you can to the market you are selling to. 


Get your own independent advice

We would always recommend an independent chartered surveyor and all of our Building Surveyors are members of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association as well as being members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and will therefore give you independent, unbiased property information and advice.

Please Freephone 1stAssociated on 0800 298 5424 for a Surveyor to give you a call back with regards to structural surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, defects report, including things such as cracks, dampness, condensation, foundation problems, etc, dilapidations, homebuyers reports or any other property matters.

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