Half Built House


Property television programme review

by an independent Surveyor


We are Independent Surveyors and Structural Engineers who take great pride in our survey work and are very proud of the high standards we achieve in our building surveys. As well as Building Surveys, also known as Structural Surveys, if you want to know what the property is worth we can also offer Independent Valuations, Engineers Reports, Specific Defects Reports and Homebuyers Reports. If you need help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects reports, dilapidations or any other property matters please free phone 0800 298 5424

As Independent Surveyors we note that there are many television programmes covering the property market aired on terrestrial and satellite television stations which we review in this section of our website. Our television review is our light hearted opinion of the television programme and may get you talking and thinking about what you see. In no way are we advertising the television programme or receiving remuneration for promoting it on our website we hope you find it of interest.

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Half Built House

Half Built House begins by telling the viewer in Britain we spend a staggering nine and a half billion pounds a year on DIY but for some home improvers it is anything but money well spent. Property entrepreneur and builder Sian Astley is coming to the rescue of some of Britain 's gun ho DIYers who have knocked a fortune off their homes.

Sian Astley, with the help of IWC, the GroupM Production for Channel 5, meets people who have taken on mammoth projects to have a go hopefuls and their long suffering partners. Each week DIYers hand over their keys and build to presenter of Half Built House Sian Astley who has fifteen years of property experience and can turn a project around within fourteen days on a tight budget. Mission : get back the DIY disasters and put back the lost value in the property stopping at nothing to bring a half built house into a dream home.

As Independent Surveyors we can help to give advice for any property issues whether it is when you are moving house and require a Structural Building Survey or if you have a property issue and require a Specific Defects Report we are here to help.


Please see our surveying articles on

Asphalt Roofs

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Half Built House presenter and builder Sian Astley

A property television with a difference as Half Built House features Sian Astley a lady builder who was born in Blackburn . With years of experience having started humbly with a new-build flat and building up her property portfolio to be worth million Sian Astley is a very knowledgeable and experienced lady builder who guides the viewer through the Half Built Houses that she has come to help to rescue.


Half Built House in Eastbourne, Sussex


Half Built House is in Eastbourne , Sussex with a young couple and their young son in their four bedroom house which they purchased recently. The husband started with good intentions getting stuck into every room stripping plaster and cutting back walls and ripping out fireplaces. There is a wake of destruction behind the husband on Half Built House in Eastbourne , Sussex as he has been rather like a bull in a china shop. Each room is unfinished the kitchen which should be the heart of the home is a danger zone and unsafe for their young son who finds tools to play with and falls down holes rather than playing safely. Everywhere the camera scans is half finished and hazardous and with another baby on the way the couple have no time to complete their home to make it habitable.

We are frequently conducting both residential and commercial building surveys in our role as Independent Surveyors in the Eastbourne area and throughout the South East.

Half Built House and Sian Astley have a huge challenge which many builders would not take on with the couple showing Sian around the bomb site that is their home and a building site. When Half Built House's builder Sian Astley asks the couple how long they imagine it will take to complete at first the husband indicates a year or eighteen months but then the wife states two years with Sian Astley joining in to say it will take some time and they need serious help particularly with a baby on the way.



Budget for Half Built House?

The project is a brave one for the couple to take on and a big project too for one man to accomplish. Half Built House asks the question regarding funds for the build which have already been eaten into with the husband planning on doing most of the work himself. Sian Astley is concerned particularly with the couple having another baby on the way that the house needs to be made safe and plans to tackle the whole of the ground floor. The young family move out of their home for two weeks leaving Half Built House and Sian Astley in charge of the work that is to be carried out on the DIY disaster.

When carrying out structural surveys for our clients we are often asked to comment on structural alterations and are always happy to give advice. Our full structural building surveys will outline if walls have been removed in a property or indeed if there is need for Planning Permission and Building Regulation Approval.



Estate Agent is called in to give a price on the property in its state of dilapidation compared to the similar properties in the area which have been fully renovated. The DIY disasters have affected the value of the house reducing the houses value by tens of thousands below its market value. The Estate Agent will return at the end of the fortnight to see the results of Half Built House's improvements and to give a new valuation on the property.

Half Built House has a conservative budget with builder Sian Astley expressing that she believes she can use this money to bring the house back up to standard and recoup some of the value lost by the DIYer.

As Independent Valuers and Building Surveyors we can help by carrying out a valuation on your property. We are independent from banks, building societies and mortgage lenders and will give you unbiased valuations.


Please see our surveying articles on:-

Buying a House

Why have a residential survey

What is an independent survey?


Half Built House team of builders

Half Built House team are on hand to turn the house around under the direction of Sian Astley. The Half Built House consists of the project manager who is almost other things in charge of the budget, handy man and carpenter. Big and ambitious plans are afoot with Sian Astley wanting to renovate the whole of the ground floor with a large kitchen/diner, living room and hallway.

Stripping out starts with Sian Astley looking for clues for the couple's taste as the house is in a building site dilapidated condition it is difficult to get an idea of the style that is dreamed of. Additional help arrives with this taking a hit on the budget with two plasterers getting stuck in to the huge space which is in desperate need of plastering.

Dot and Dab is the method chosen which is a quick and efficient way of lining a wall working well on uneven surfaces. Plasterboard is fitted directly onto the wall with the layer of adhesive in between ready for a layer of plaster to be added to the surface.

When carrying out structural building surveys for our clients as Independent Surveyors we frequently come across dry lining or false walls where renovation work has been carried out. In our surveys we give full written descriptions of any technical terms and illustrate in sketches to ensure that the techniques are clearly defined.

Dry Lining Defined

This technique is usually used on solid walls particularly where dampness is occurring. In older properties, where the internal wall is not flush, battens would be added and then lath and plaster. In more modern properties, the walls may be lined with plasterboard on battens or plaster dabs.



Dry lining

Builders and budgets

Trouble is aloft at the house as the project manager pours over figures believing that the budget will only stretch to one room with Sian Astley out at the kitchen suppliers choosing a kitchen for the house. Half Built House's team are to install a beautiful new kitchen which Sian Astley has chosen in a style she believes the couple will love. Back at the house Sian Astley and her project manager pour over the figures with disagreements over how long the plasterers will take and thereby the cost.

Half Built House highlights the builders' difference of opinion with Sian Astley at the centre trying to pull the project together but with the builders concerned about budget and time life is not plain sailing in Eastbourne , Sussex . Emotions are high and everyone is passionate about getting the project completed with the same end goal but it is tough and there is a lot to do.

Plastering being carried out with one plasterer on stilts and the other with boards on trestles, the stilts are uncomfortable and can be dangerous if caught on anything but a quick way of moving across a room.

A compromise is agreed with the hallway being left as the budget has taken its hold on the kitchen/diner and lounge.

The couple are staying with the husband's parent's family and enjoying life without any bare floorboards or dangers for their young son.

As Independent Surveyors we are frequently asked to advise on our clients plans when looking at a property to purchase. In our structural building surveys we can on request detail any design ideas that will help to improve the living space and to add value to the property.


Please see our surveying articles on:-

Can you trust a Surveyor's Valuation?

Homebuyers Report or Structural Survey?

Builders, building problems and roofs and how a Surveyor can help


Interior design

Interior design is next on the agenda with Sian Astley choosing a colour palette and hoping that some wallpaper she has selected will be to the couple's liking.

Budgets are tight and discussions take place with the carpenter and it is decided that he will help improve some flat packed pieces and Sian Astley finds a rocking chair which she sets about improving with distressing techniques.

Oak flooring is being installed in the kitchen hallway and lounge.


Hastings and the hunt for furniture

In Hastings Sian Astley is on a treasure hunt for some furniture in particular a corner cabinet but without finding this she brings back a toy chest instead. It is back to the drawing board on the corner cabinet or rather back to the carpenter who is short on time for all the jobs that remain to be carried out.


Last day of the build

On Half Built House last day of the build it is all action stations with loads to complete but all the Half Built House team are on hand and Sian Astley is in charge paying attention to final details.

The budget is reviewed and the Half Built House project this episode has gone over by £500 but the project is complete.

The couple return to see their home to see the reveal of the new bright, modern ground floor with beautiful wooden floor and stunning kitchen/diner in a Shaker style. The result is fabulous with only one question left to ask if the value has increased with the Half Built House team's improvements. The value has increased and when the first floor is renovated the house will be a perfect home.


Half Built House in summary

Half Built House is a slightly different slant at the DIY disasters across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom . Each episode a different property disaster is featured with Sian Astley and her team transforming the property in two short weeks in hands on style to the delight of the homeowners who have been living the nightmare.

Half Built House gives practical economical advice and whether it is a mammoth DIY task in a house in Exeter or a half finished house in Birmingham Sian Astley and her team carry out crucial work to bring the house back in line.


Please see our property television reviews

Location, Location, Location

Help, My House is Falling Down

Secret Shopper on Estate Agents

Beeny's Restoration Nightmare









Independent Surveyors

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a Surveyor with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, dilapidations or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a Surveyor to give you a call back.


Independent commercial property surveyors

If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com.


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 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.


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