Five More Defects that a Building Survey Could Uncover


Did you get a chance to read our previous blog about common defects found in a building survey? If you did, you’d know about some of the main problems that can crop up when buying a property.


These include things like dampness, electrical problems, leaking drain pipes, roof issues or poor insulation. 


This time around, we’re going to look at some other things you might encounter on a building survey: 


Asbestos, Japanese Knotweed, Woodworm, Dry Rot and Subsidence


Unless you are buying a brand new property, chances are you may encounter some kind of defect on your building survey. If this happens, there’s no need to panic. 


Such defects can sometimes be used as an argument to renegotiate the price you’re paying for the property, considering the remedial work you might require.


In addition to the five warning signs discussed in our last post, here are five other things you should look out for. Although they’re not as common as the first list, they’re still serious and could be costly to put right.


  1. Asbestos. Despite being used in buildings until 1999, asbestos has now been banned. However, this doesn’t mean that some homes still contain it. While it’s sometimes perfectly safe to leave it when in good condition, there are other times when it needs to be removed and disposed of professionally. If it’s uncovered on your survey, get in touch with your local asbestos specialist for further advice.


  1. Japanese Knotweed. As an invasive UK species, this plant can cause untold damage to properties if left to its own devices. It can even make its way through solid concrete. While this sounds bad, specialists can remove it, and professional companies will also offer an insurance backed guarantee. In other words, it shouldn’t stop you from getting a mortgage. To be on the safe side, you may also want to invest in a separate insurance policy solely for Japanese knotweed.


  1. Woodworm. Properties which feature a lot of woodwork internally can be susceptible to woodworm. These beetle larvae make their way into timber, causing it to rot and weaken the properties structure. The good news is that if your building survey has highlighted this, you probably won’t require any structural repairs. However, if the infestation has spread significantly or the surveyor is unsure where it came from, you will need to contact a woodworm specialist to investigate further.


  1. Dry Rot. This is a fungus that grows on wood, causing it to weaken. Under certain conditions, it can spread quickly. If dry rot is identified on your building survey, you will need to contact a dry rot specialist. They will investigate why it has occurred, then take measures to fix the problem.
  2. Subsidence. Subsidence happens when the water content in the ground changes, resulting in the sinking of the property above. There are many reasons why it can occur, but if discovered, it would require quick action. Leaving it is not an option as it can make the property unstable, putting those living there in danger. While minor repairs are sometimes needed, there are other cases of subsidence that require a property to be underpinned and monitored long term.