What does a Structural Surveyor do?
Structural Surveyors & Engineers will be able to survey a property that you are interested in purchasing. When buying a property, one of the key considerations is to ensure that your investment is safe, stable and sound.
As well as the usual surveys homebuyers often have carried out when buying a property, such as damp & mould, or a Building Condition Survey, the Structural Survey is often the most critical due to the exuberant costs of repairs to fix a building suffering from subsidence.
Appointing Structural Surveyors & Engineers to carry out a structural survey on a residential property or a commercial building
A Structural Surveyor will look to identify any defects within the building that compromises the overall structural integrity. The surveyor will identify the severity of the defects, which may range from minor cracks to obvious signs of subsidence. During the survey of the property, the surveyor analyses structural defects such as,
- Step cracks in bricks and mortar
- Cracks in the mortar and render
- Hairline cracks that may indicate thermal movement
- Signs of stress or strain on timber, steel or concrete
- Signs of subsidence which include inspecting the land surrounding the property
- Obvious signs on the roof of structural issues such as bowing or sunken roof
In most cases, structural defects found on a property can be resolved without too much expense if the issue is identified and addressed quickly. However, if the issue has been ongoing for a considerable time, the defect may have reached a point where significant repairs are required.
Common repairs to properties following a Structural Inspection
- Vertical cracks can become a serious concern if not dealt with. One solution is to use Helical Wall Ties, which are twisted stainless steel rods inserted between the bricks to provide lateral support.
- In London, common structural defects that structural surveyors encounter are often related to soil movement due to the foundations of most homes being built on clay. This becomes more obvious during the changes in the seasons, from summer to winter for example.
- In Birmingham, it is more common for structural surveyors to identify defects caused by deterioration. Damp conditions or substandard work are also common causes of structural defects.
- Underpinning is a process used to support the foundations of a property when an area of the soil is no longer able to support the weight of the building. This may be due to tree roots that have rotted, a watercourse, a leaking pipe, or ground movement such as shrinkage.
The monitoring of cracks for structural defects is an effective way to determine if a crack or cracks are active. The crack monitor shows the inspector if there is continual movement or if the movement has settled and abated. Crack monitors are very effective and if installed correctly by a qualified structural engineer can save the property owner from parting with significant funds to have underpinning carried out.