Gnome Record


We are Independent Building Surveyors

Our highly qualified independent surveyors can offer you advice on your property problems and can carry out a building survey on your prospective purchase; whether it is residential or for business. We can prepare a schedule of condition and property report in relation to your lease. We carry out dilaps reports for landlords or tenants.

If you have a property problem we may even already have written and article on it and would refer you to our home page

Please free phone us on 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat.

Free phone 0800 298 5424



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We were recently travelling around doing our building surveys when we came across a garden the likes of which we have not seen before. The entirety of the front garden was filled with gnomes, possibly a few elves and some other figurines that you may describe as statues. It brought a smile to our face although it may not be great if you are a neighbour.



Garden Gnomes

Gnomes, elves and more gnomes


Planning problems put a shark through your roof

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It did remind us of the shark going through a roof that we saw many years ago that we believe relates to a planning dispute that has now become almost a tourist attraction. If you are ever in the Oxford area it is worth a visit.

It also does raise interesting questions about our planning laws which we won't get into here.


Planning Permissions

We did wish for this article to have a slightly serious note that's with regard to local authority approvals. We define these falling into two areas with regards to homes and commercial properties that's planning permission and building regulations.

Planning Permission Defined

Planning Permission looks at the aesthetics of how alterations blend in or affects adjoining properties and the location.

Building Regulations Defined

This looks at the way the alterations have been carried out from a good practice point of view and health and safety point of view.

Whilst the local authorities still give approval for the planning regulations there are various options with regard to building regulations. You can deal with a local authority surveyor or you can go to a private building control surveying partnership / practice / company. We would refer you to another article that we have done with regard to this;

Approved Inspectors -v- Local Authority Building Control Officers


Here are some other articles on our website that go into more detail with regard to these various issues;

Building Regulations

Building Control Approval

Sorting out Property Problems with Solicitors and Surveyors


And don't forget if you are affecting a neighbouring property you will probably need the party wall etc. act

Time waits for no-one, be they the Building Owner or Adjoining Owner, Section 1 of Party Wall etc Act 1996

Time waits for no-one, be they the Building Owner or Adjoining Owner, Section 2 of Party Wall etc Act 1996


Should solicitors be giving opinions on planning and building regulation permission? C:\Users\earl\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\GCQ4MG8C\MC900024465[1].wmf

We recently had two cases where solicitors had given opinions on planning and building regulations where we have advised as part of our survey that they haven't got planning and building regulations.

In one case the solicitor quite rightly referred it back to us for further advice and we explained the situation to the solicitor. In the other case the solicitor advised the client to not be overly concerned with the lack of planning permission and building regulations as after so many years it would be approved. Our point was that the solicitor had missed the point!

The reason we have planning permission and building regulations is whilst they are not perfect they are there to help everyone to some extent. They are there to protect the client from unscrupulous builders and the neighbours from unscrupulous developers.



Is planning permission and building regulations neeC:\Users\earl\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\FRJ0AXGH\MC900434859[1].pngded for a loft conversion?

For example in this particular case the house had been extended into the roof space and into the garage. Whilst both extensions were originally well done and the roof windows that the loft conversion had did not overlook anyone, they were the only ones we could see to the front of the property and the road that did look different. The garage conversion that they had done effectively had a window looking down the road at an angle. Because it was in the garage it was unusual (side window) although in our opinion it is unlikely to get planning permission, however we only do have an opinion and without drawings and formal approval no one will ever know. It may get approval but the fact is that it doesn't have approval at the moment we feel causes concern when selling the property. Equally the building regulations which we would say to some extent have had to save builders and developers from themselves didn't have approval. This causes much greater concern as it means that materials may have been used that are not suitable or strong enough.

Unfortunately despite crawling around the roof space and viewing the roof with a times 16 digital camera/ binoculars and a very good appreciation of how the property was originally built we simply couldn't see all the elements to confirm that the loft conversion had been built to planning permission and building regulation standards.


Pre-fabricated Trusses

Whilst we are on the subject of loft conversions let us talk a bit more about modern roof construction. The roof timbers now are absolute minimal in size compared with what we see on older properties. They are what we term as an engineered roof. Over the years we have seen these get thinner and thinner.

We could see some elements that definitely hadn't where roof timbers had been cut to allow access to different areas. In our experience all roof timbers are absolutely necessary particularly on a modern engineered property where there is next to no tolerance in roof trusses unlike the older roof trusses that were over designed; they are the roof trusses or the cut roofs that were simply over designed.

So this leaves us in a situation where the legal advisor is saying carry on and they can insure against any problems which is quite true and we are saying that the planning and building regulations approval have not been obtained and where we have checked we could see that there are problems with the way it has been constructed.


No building regulations and planning permission often means no sale or great difficulty in selling in future years

The reason why we are particularly concerned with this one is that we had also dealt with a case earlier that month where building regulation and planning permission had not been granted. Our solicitor simply said walk away from the property. The people in the property had already had several people pull out of buying their property and when our client pulled out they were not particularly surprised however they still felt that they would get someone sooner or later. However some two months later when our client was now in their new property a phone call came through on the mobile phone saying would you be prepared to negotiate on the price so obviously they were still having problems selling the property.


Friendly help from Surveyors

If you need help and advice with regard to structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects reports, dilapidations home buyers reports or any other property matter please call 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat.


Why we recommend you have a building survey?

If you are moving house or having any property issues then an independent Surveyor can help provide a comprehensive survey report on a building whether that be residential or commercial.

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


Our photos and sketches, circles and ovals

We use many photos and sketches which we have commissioned in our building survey reports to make the problems as clear and as easy to understand as possible. We also highlight certain areas with ovals and sketches to make the problem area as clear to you as possible like the example below.

Chimney with moss.jpg

An example of one of our photos
An example of one of our sketches


Commercial Property

If you have had a project go wrong you may want to visit our sister website and for Dilapidations Help then please visit our website.


Our articles

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 contents of the web site are for general information only and are not intended to be relied upon for specific or general decisions. Appropriate independent professional advice should be paid for before making such a decision.


Our rights

All rights are reserved the contents of the web site is not to be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or part without the express written permission of


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We have thousands of free property articles to help you - or call us freephone on 0800 298 5424

We have been working in the property industry for many years and have been
providing free property articles for over ten years. All for free and to help you with buying your next property.

House and Home Surveys and Useful Information

All you need to know about Building Surveys

Building Control, what do they do?

Designers and Architects will they save me money or will they cost me money

Enviroment, Your Building and Garden Gnomes

Estate Agents help sell houses and work for the vendors

Have a Structural Survey to protect you against structural problems

Home improvements, builder problems and ideas for you on how to solve them

How a Surveyor values a property, Chartered Surveyors and Regulated Valuers

How Chartered Engineers and Building Engineers can help you

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

NHBC National House Building Council

Structural Surveys and How We Can Help You

Traditional and Non-Traditional Houses and Mortgage Problems

Valuations and how much is the building worth?

Whats the difference between a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Surveyor and an Independent Surveyor

Useful property problem articles by Chartered Surveyors explaining building issues to avoid

External - Helpful information on building problems on the outside of the property

Chimney issues and problems

Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Flat Roof Problems, how we can solve them

Foundations and Structures and Settlement and Subsidence and Underpinning

Pitched Roofs Problems and Solutions

Roof Problems

Wall Problems

Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

Internal - House problems we have investigated inside

All you ever need to know about floors

Asbestos in your home, what you need to know

Ceiling Cracks and Structural Problems

Condensation, Damp and Black Mould Problems

Cracking and Movement Problems and Surveying Solutions

Windows and Doors and Fascias and Soffits and Wet Rot and Dry Rot and other problems

Woodworm is it a problem or not? Is it active or not?

Services - Building help and advice on costly services

Drainage, what's underground can affect what's above ground

Heating; I just can't get my house warm enough or alternatively I just can't get my house cool enough

You can't mess around with the electric, you need an expert


Commercial Property Services

Building Terms Explained and Directories

Commercial Property Surveys

Commercial Structural Surveys

Leisure Facilites

Offices Large and Small

Shops and Retail

Warehouse and Industrial Buildings

Dilapidations Help and Advice What is a Dilapidations Notice?

A Beginner's Guide to Dilaps

Damp Mould and Condensation

Dampness Rising Damp Mould Black Mould Condensation

Dilapidations and Negotiations

Dilapidations Claim by a Landlord

Energy Saving what can I do?

Finance what is a Financial Adviser (We are not Financial Advisors)

Fire Risk and Help

Health and Safety Risks

Insurance how do I get the correct property insurance?

Landlords Surveying Advice

Property Investment how can I invest in property?

Property TV Reviews by an Independent Surveyor

Schedules of Condition Leasing a Commercial Property

Scotts Schedule and Section 18 Valuation

Tenants Surveying Advice

Weather how does weather affect my property?



Snow and Ice

Strong Winds

Reviews from clients on Commercial Building Surveys

Churches and Charities, helpful reviews from our clients

Industrial Buildings and Warehouses and what our clients say about us

Offices Large and Small, reviews and feedback from our clients

Pubs, Restaurants, Hotels and other Leisure facilities we have surveyed over the years

Shops and Retail, helpful reviews from our clients


First Time Buyers

Buying a Leasehold or Shared Freehold Home

Buying and Selling Houses for the experienced house and home purchaser

First Time Buyers how do I go about buying my first house and home?

Improve your property knowledge with our presentations on house, homes and commercial property

Building Surveys

Building Surveying Useful Information


Dilapidations Presentations in Detail

Final Year Building Surveying Exams for University Students or those that would like to know more

How old is your Building? Which era was it built in?

Party Walls

Surveyors and Design Tools

Disputes and Party Walls

Boundary Disputes

Building and Property Disputes

Party Wall Book Reviews

Party Walls Your Rights and Responsibilities

1stAssociated Surveyors Review for Structural Surveys and Building Surveys

Building Surveys, reviews and feedback from satisfied customers

Buy to let property clients, what they say about our structural surveys

Buying at auction, review of the survey

Buying bungalows and retirement properties and how our surveyors can help

Both at work / busy couples, how we can help and some 1stAssociated client reviews

Families with a young person flying the nest, reviews and feedback

First Time Buyers, what they say about us

Listed buildings, structural surveys

Older buildings, a review of buying an older house

Families with children looking for a new home, feedback and reviews

Buying a Non-Traditional Property

Residential Surveys

House and Home Surveys

Commercial Building Surveys

Commercial Surveys

1st Associated Surveyors Are Also Available in the Following Areas:

East Anglia and East

South and South East

West Country and South West


North and North East



London Markets

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Areas of Britain

1stAssociated Independent Expert Property Surveyors

Specialists in Home Buyers Reports, Building Surveys and Structural Surveys and Schedules of Condition

All Surveyors are Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors qualified and RICS regulated

and are Members of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association

Putting the Client First

We do not accept service of documents by email or fax