What is the value in a HomeBuyer’s Report?13/01/20
If you are about to purchase a building, it is very important that you have it thoroughly checked out by a qualified Chartered Surveyor first, to make sure you are not making an expensive mistake. Anyone who has had an offer accepted on a residential property should seriously consider the benefits of commissioning an RICS HomeBuyer’s Report, which can identify any number of potentially expensive pitfalls in a property.
Unlike brick, block or concrete, wood is vulnerable to insect and fungal infestation that can effectively destroy a property, if left unchecked. The amount of timber used in the construction of a house differs from property to property but you may be quite surprised to find how much wood has been used in the construction of your potential purchase.
What is dry rot?
Dry rot or to give it the official Latin name, Serpula Lacrymans, is the most destructive fungus in Europe. It breaks down and feeds on the cellulose contained in wood, leaving the wood brittle and weakened. Affected wood becomes light in weight and has a dull brown colour.
Where is dry rot found?
Mostly occurring in old buildings, particularly those that have long been neglected, dry rot can appear anywhere. It is commonly found in areas exposed to high levels of moisture, affecting between 17% and 22% of the timber’s mass. It prefers still air, and is often present when wood is in contact with damp brick work and poor ventilation.
Poor ventilation and leaky gutters
This type of environment is often found in housing eaves and can be caused by defective guttering or fascia boards. Suspended timber ground floors and where ventilation bricks have been removed or blocked up are also prone to it. Leaky roofs or guttering, dampness getting into the walls, poor drainage and ventilation or plumbing problems can create the perfect environment for dry rot to thrive in. Once it has taken hold, all infected timber and some of the surrounding timber too have to be removed and replaced. This can be a laborious, time consuming and expensive operation.
What does a Level Two HomeBuyer’s report involve?
A Level Two RICS Home Buyer’s report includes a full roof space inspection and an explanation of what materials have been used in the construction of the house. The surveyor will have a damp meter and will systematically record the moisture content of walls and timber found within the property. The surveyor looks for signs of rot or infestation and will also recommend any repair work which needs to be done to prevent such outbreaks.
If dry rot is found, what do you do?
If dry rot is found in the property, you may decide to walk away. Alternatively you can get professional advice on the extent and costs of remediation. In addition to the damaged wood being removed, the area will need to be dried out, ventilation increased and humidity lowered in order to prevent recurrence of the problem.
If you are looking to buy a property, talk to the Forge team about how our RICS certified surveyors can help you with a Level 2 HomeBuyer’s report.