How to choose a surveyor for a period property

Thatched Roof 3

Older properties can make wonderful homes as well as good investments. From early clay-lump buildings and thatched country cottages to generous Edwardian family homes, their unique location, size and original features combines into a set of qualities that modern homes simply cannot compete with.

However, not all old buildings are worth the purchase price. One of the most important things you can do as a house buyer is to commission a comprehensive building survey before you buy. That way, you get a professional overview of the condition of the building including any potentially serious structural issues to be aware of and recommended remedial action.

Alan Rance Surveyors offers a broad range of surveying services to homebuyers and householders including in-depth building surveys for older homes and listed buildings. We have particular expertise in thatched roof surveys and clay-lump building surveys. Whether you have your heart set on a flint cottage or a Victorian mansion, we’re here to tell you that the skills needed to expertly survey old buildings are very different to those needed to survey modern properties.

With this in mind, we have put together our professional guidance to help you find the best building surveyor for a period property.

Specialist expertise

When it comes to old buildings, historic structures and non-standard materials and methods of construction, specialist knowledge and expertise is worth its weight in gold. More than any other quality, the right surveyor must have demonstrable experience to show that they are an expert in the field.

Find out if they have advanced knowledge of timber framing, roof constructions, lime mortar, traditional plasters and linseed paint. Be warned that any building professional recommending modern construction methods and materials for a period building can do long-term damage and should be deleted from your short list immediately.

Professional qualifications and memberships

It should go without saying that a competent surveyor for a period building must have a comprehensive knowledge of surveying practices and related disciplines. Professional qualifications include those conferred by SAVA (Residential Surveying and Valuation) and RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), and membership of RPSA (Residential Property Surveyors Association) is highly desirable.

Of course, formal qualifications are merely one indicator of the service quality you can expect from your chosen surveyor. To find the right building surveyor with experience in period properties, it’s a good idea to research their past work so you can assess their suitability for the job.

Building surveys offered

In your search for the most suitable survey for a period property or listed building, we recommend steering clear of surveyors who offer no more than an RICS Building Survey. While this is the most in-depth of the RICS-accredited home surveys, it uses a standardised approach that is unlikely to be the right solution for your requirements.

When it comes to historic homes, no two houses are the same. The right structural survey for an old building goes beyond an assessment of the size, age and condition of the property. Crucially, it must specifically address the building’s unique architectural characteristics and construction methods.

Why Alan Rance Surveyors?

At Alan Rance Surveyors, we are ideally placed to help you with period property surveys and listed building surveys. We are passionate about historic structures and old buildings and provide specialist thatched roof surveys and clay-lump surveys. With a wide expertise of the geographical and construction issues in the area we cover across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, we understand buildings, how they perform and how they can be affected.

Alan Rance has more than 30 years’ experience and expert knowledge in surveying. He is a qualified Building Surveyor and a member of RPSA. Our team takes great pride in providing honest, impartial and credible advice to our clients, empowering them to make intelligent purchasing decisions based on factual information and advice.

For more information about any of our services or to discuss the purchase of a period property, please get in touch with our team.

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