The Thatch Advice Centre have had a lot of enquiries regarding surveyors and surveys from people looking to purchase thatch properties. One of these first discussions is often regarding surveys, which surveyor do they need and which survey for a thatched property?
So we asked one of our Associates, Keir Hamilton Surveyors, for some information on which type of surveyor and survey they may need. Here is their helpful response:-
Thatch properties are seen as the ideal English country cottage be they a post-medieval timber framed cottage or a West Country cob cottage. It’s always advisable to have these properties surveyed prior to moving forward with the purchase as a lot can be found with a trained eye.
There are many, many types of RICS surveyors around but the surveyors who undertake pre-purchase surveys are building surveyors.
Building surveyors provide one of three levels of surveys for the residential market:
A Level 3 Building Survey is the most appropriate as thatched properties can be very complex and problems require considerable expertise to identify. Usually, a mortgage valuation is undertaken prior to the building survey and this should not be confused with either a condition report, homebuyers report or a building survey. It is simply a valuation of the property.
Choosing wisely is advised when instructing a building surveyor to undertake a building survey of an old property, as the understanding of the detrimental effect of modern impermeable materials on the likes of stone, cob, wychert and wattle and daub isn’t widely understood. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for extensive repair work to be missed or detrimental repairs such as damp proofing to be specified by the inexperienced.
There are several other chartered professionals who work with these buildings and these include structural engineers who are involved when structural repairs and alterations need to be specified and calculated, architects for refurbishment and extension work and insurance surveyors for reinstatement costs. Master thatchers can also be included for undertaking reports on the condition of the thatch. Again, experience of working with old buildings is needed here. “
Our Associates at Keir Hamilton Surveyors predominantly undertake building surveys and listed building consent applications for these unique properties.
Making the right choice
It is clear from the information provided that a comprehensive survey(s) and inspection of the property, from experienced professionals, which allows a purchaser to fully understand the building, its history and potential is important. Understand what you need and choose a surveyor and survey to meet those requirements to avoid any unexpected issues.
The Thatch Advice Centre also provide experienced Master Thatchers to give detailed Thatched Roof Inspection Reports (not surveys as they are not qualified surveyors!) for purchasers. Working together for the good of thatch continues.