<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> <b>General Principles and Responsibilities <p> <p> 1.1 What is a building survey? <p> <i>1.1.1 Definitions</i></b> <p> In 1997 the Construction Industry Council (CIC) published a leaflet entitled <i>Definitions of Inspections and Surveys of Buildings</i> (see Appendix I). Although the definitions specifically apply to England and Wales, they are also relevant to the rest of the UK. The CIC is the organisation representing the main professional bodies in construction and property, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Chartered Institute of Building, the Association of Building Engineers, the Architecture and Surveying Institute, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Structural Engineers. <p> One of the most significant consequences of the CIC list of definitions was the scrapping of the term 'structural survey'. Up until 1997 'structural survey' was the commonly accepted term for a Scheme 3 survey — the full building survey (Staveley, 1998). Although surveyors and lawyers in the UK had been using the term 'structural survey' for decades, many professionals, particularly consulting engineers, felt that it was misleading. It implied that the survey focused on structural issues relating to the property being surveyed — in other words, that it would only deal with the loadbearing characteristics of the building. This of course was not the case, as 'structural surveys' assessed the property's fabric and services as well as addressed its stability. Any major 'structural' findings were then referred to an engineer for more detailed analysis. <p> Nowadays, therefore, either 'structural inspection' or 'structural assessment' is the more accurate term to describe a building-related investigation undertaken by consulting engineers (IstructE, 1991). It is essentially a specialist investigation that often follows a condition/building survey,to assess in more detail a problem or requirement relating to the property's loadbearing elements — such as foundations, walls, floors, beams and columns and roofs — and other structural problems such as subsidence. <p> See Appendix VIII for the definition of 'building survey' and other related terms. <p> <p> <b><i>1.1.2 Categories of property survey</i></b> <p> As indicated in the CIC list, there is a wide range of property surveys. Table 1.1 categorises property surveys into five main groups and shows their relationship to one another. <p> <p> <b><i>1.1.3 Synchronic and diachronic surveys</i></b> <p> Another way of categorising property surveys is to consider them either synchronically or diachronically (Brand, 1994). A synchronic survey is a snapshot assessment of a building and the way it all fits together at a particular moment in time. This usually means the present, but buildings can be studied as regards how they worked at one time in the past. In other words, it is about studying buildings in terms of immediacy and is the preference of building surveyors as well as 'city planners and architects looking for design ideas' (Brand, 1994). Building surveys, condition surveys and dilapidation surveys are typical examples of this kind of appraisal. <p> A diachronic survey, on the other hand, is a way of studying buildings in terms of how they change or evolve over time. This is the way architectural historians (and building maintenance surveyors) appraise buildings (Brand, 1994). Maintenance surveys as well as conservation plan inspections and other record surveys of older properties are typical methods of studying buildings diachronically (Douglas, 2006). <p> <p> <b><i>1.1.4 Stock condition surveys</i></b> <p> These are surveys that are undertaken on a large number of properties one after the other, or simultaneously if more than one surveyor is being used. They are most common for determining the state of repair of housing. However, the same approach can be used when assessing the condition of other large property stock such as warehouses and other industrial or commercial buildings. <p> The reader is referred to the relevant RICS guidance note on these types of surveys (RICS, 1995). They are usually carried on a regular (e.g. quinquennial) basis on ecclesiastical buildings as well as housing stocks. Data on the most recent English and Scottish house condition surveys undertaken between 2008/2009 can be obtained from Communities and Local Government (2010) and the Scottish House Condition Survey Team (2009) respectively. <p> <p> <b>1.2 Housing quality initiatives <p> <i>1.2.1 Home information packs</i></b> <p> The Housing Act 2004, which applies to England and Wales, required sellers of dwellings to supply a standard set of information referred to as a 'Home Information Pack' (HIP). This was required before marketing a property for sale and made available to prospective purchasers (Melville & Gordon, 2004). <p> HIPs were introduced in August 2007 to provide more information about a property at the start of the buying and selling process. However, the UK's new coalition government suspended the need for HIPs soon after it took power in May 2010. Home sellers, though, still need to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). <p> <p> <b><i>1.2.2 Home condition reports</i></b> <p> A HIP, to be complete, required a condition report based on a professional survey of domestic properties, including an assessment of their energy efficiency (ODPM, 2003a). This comes in the form of a Home Condition Report (HCR). Its statutory basis is Section 134 of the Housing Act 2004. Initially the HCR was meant to be mandatory but the UK government in 2006 reversed its decision to facilitate the scheme's launch in June 2007. HCRs were optional. <p> A similar scheme to the HIP was implemented in Scotland in December 2008. It is called the Home Report (HR), and comprises three elements: a single survey (SS), an energy report, and a property questionnaire. With the demise of the ill-fated HIPs in England and Wales, however, the future of HCRs/SSs remains uncertain. <p> The HCR is analogous to a 'home sellers' report. Some of the HCR's features have been incorporated into the RICS's HomeBuyer Report (HBR) (see Parnham, 2009). The differences between these types of surveys are summarised in Table 1.2. <p> The principal functions of the HCR are: <p> • Assessing the property's overall condition and functionality. <p> • Pointing out defects and deficiencies that are hazardous to health and safety. <p> • Identifying defects which it would be prudent/desirable to rectify. <p> • Identifying matters that require further investigation. <p> • Satisfying the requirements of the EU Directive 2002/91/EC of 16 December 2002 on the Energy Performance of Buildings through the Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure (RDSAP). <p> <p> The main sections of the HCR are as follows: <p> • Section A: Terms of engagement. <p> • Section B: Summary of general information. <p> • Section C: Conveyancer matters and risks. <p> • Section D: External condition. <p> • Section E: Internal condition. <p> • Section F: Services. <p> • Section G: Grounds and outbuildings. <p> • Section H: Energy performance certificate. <p> HCR ratings are: <p> • NI Not inspected. <p> • 1 No repair is presently required. Normal maintenance must be undertaken. <p> • 2 Repairs are required but the home inspector does not consider these to be either serious or urgent. <p> • 3 Defects of a serious nature or defects requiring urgent repair. <p> <p> A basic checklist covering these ratings is shown in Appendix IIe. <p> <p> <b>1.3 Other housing quality initiatives <p> <i>1.3.1 Fitness standard</i></b> <p> The current fitness standard for England and Wales was introduced through the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 which inserted a new Section 604 in the Housing Act 1985. According to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) (1998)'a dwelling is unfit if, in the opinion of the authority, it fails to meet one of the requirements set out in paragraphs (a) to (i) of s.604 (1) and, by reason of that failure, is not reasonably suitable for occupation. The requirements constitute the minimum deemed necessary for a dwelling house (including a house in multiple occupation) to be fit for human habitation' (Douglas, 2006). <p> These fitness standards require that a dwelling house should: <p> • Be free from serious disrepair. <p> • Be structurally stable. <p> • Be free from dampness prejudicial to the health of the occupants. <p> • Have adequate provision for lighting, heating and ventilation. <p> • Have an adequate piped supply of wholesome water. <p> • Have an effective system for the drainage of foul, waste and surface water. <p> • Have a suitably located WC for exclusive use of the occupants. <p> • Have a bath or shower and wash-hand basin, with hot and cold water. <p> • Have satisfactory facilities for the preparation and cooking of food including a sink with hot and cold water. <p> <p> <b><i>1.3.2 Tolerable standard</i></b> <p> According to the Scottish Executive (2003) 'The Tolerable Standard (which is equivalent to the Fitness Standard in England) as amended by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 was introduced in the 1969 Housing (Scotland) Act following recommendations made in the 1967 Cullingworth Report'. Other than the incorporation of the 'basic/standard amenities' (e.g. hot and cold running water) by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, it has remained largely unchanged. <p> The Scottish Executive (2003) emphasises that the standard is <i>not</i> intended to be a measure of acceptable housing conditions. It is distinct from the Building Regulations for example, which provide minimum standards for new construction and reflect modern expectations of the facilities and amenities to be provided in modern homes. The standard sets the base line below which houses should not be allowed to continue in occupation. <p> A house meets the Tolerable Standard for the purposes of the 2001 Act according to the Scottish Executive (2003) if it: <p> • Is structurally stable. <p> • Is substantially free from rising or penetrating damp. <p> • Has satisfactory provision for natural and artificial lighting, for ventilation and for heating. <p> • Has an adequate piped supply of wholesome water available within the house. <p> • Has a sink provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water within the house. <p> • Has a WC available for the exclusive use of the occupants of the house and suitably located within the house. <p> • Has a fixed bath or shower and a wash-hand basin, each provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water and suitably located within the house. <p> • Has an effective system for the drainage and disposal of foul and surface water. <p> • Has satisfactory facilities for the cooking of food within the house. <p> • Has satisfactory access to all external doors and outbuildings. <p> • Any reference to a house not meeting the Tolerable Standard or being brought up to the Tolerable Standard shall be construed accordingly. <p> <p> <b><i>1.3.3 Decent homes and quality housing initiatives</i></b> <p> It is the Government's aim to 'By 2010, bring all social housing (in England) into decent condition with most of the improvement taking place in deprived areas, and increase the proportion of private housing in decent condition occupied by vulnerable groups'. <p> A home is classified as decent if it: <p> • Meets the current statutory minimum standard. <p> • Is in reasonable repair. <p> • Has reasonably modern facilities and services. <p> • Provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort. <p> <p> Similar schemes are in place for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. For example, the Scottish Executive (2003) set out proposals for a national standard based on a minimum set of quality measures for all houses in the social rented sector in Scotland. In February 2004 the Minister for Communities launched The Scottish Housing Quality Standard (here referred to as 'the Standard'). The announcement set out a range of measures that local authority and Registered Social Landlord (RSL) stock have to reach by March 2015 and required all social landlords to draw up Standard Delivery Plans (SDPs) to show how they were going to reach that target. This is similar to the Decent Home Strategy for social housing in England. <p> In Scotland the Government's intention has been 'to define a standard that is relevant to the twenty-first century and is consistent with views on what constitutes acceptable, good quality housing. It differs from the statutory Tolerable Standard (which is considered a very basic standard of acceptability) and the Building Standards as they apply to new housing' (Scottish Executive, 2003). <p> As initially proposed by the Scottish Executive (2003) the Standard is based on a number of broad quality criteria. To meet the Standard the house must be: <p> • Compliant with the Tolerable Standard (as described above). <p> • Free from serious disrepair (such as dilapidation or structural instability). <p> • Energy efficient (i.e. has a National Home Energy Rating (NHER) of at least 5). <p> • Provided with modern facilities and services (e.g. indoor WC, disabled access, etc.). <p> • Healthy, safe and secure (e.g. free from mould and contains no faulty electrical or gas installations). <p> <p> <b>1.4 Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS)</b> <p> The HHSRS is the UK Government's recently introduced method of assessing the potential risks to health and safety of the occupants or visitors from any identified housing deficiencies (Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), 2006). Although the HHSRS is not in itself a standard, it has been introduced as a replacement for the Housing Fitness Standard in England and Wales. A similar scheme in relation to the Tolerable Standard is operated in Scotland. <p> The HHSRS uses a sophisticated rating system to quantify the risks. A simple checklist summarising these ratings is shown in Appendix IIf. Environmental health officers would normally undertake this type of survey. <p> <p> <b>1.5 Domestic survey implications</b> <p> Given these statutory influences any surveyor inspecting a residential property should be cognisant of them. The pro forma survey checklist in Appendix III includes a brief reference to Fitness and Amenities. The degree of compliance with these basic housing requirements should be noted when inspecting domestic properties. <p> <p> <b>1.6 Non-domestic condition rating system</b> <p> The rating system devised by the Department of Health ESTATECODE (1989) and the then Department for Education and Employment (DfEE, 2000) to assess the condition of its (mainly non-domestic) stock of buildings uses the following rating system: <p> • A = New/refurbished (good condition). } } 'validated condition' • B = Minor deterioration (fair condition). } <p> • C = Operational but requiring major repair or replacement (poor condition). <p> • D = Serious risk of imminent breakdown (bad condition). <p> • X = A rating added to C or D to indicate that it is impossible to improve without replacement (very bad condition). <p> <p> This rating system forms part of the DoH's property appraisal criteria outlined in the next section. <p> <p> <b>1.7 Condition appraisal</b> <p> The key requirements for condition appraisal of domestic and non-domestic buildings are summarised in Table 1.3. Examples of schedules for stock condition surveys are given in Appendix II. Phase 1 surveys are general and designed to help prioritise the worse buildings/elements in the stock. Phase 2 surveys are more specific condition appraisals, which offer costings of the work required to remedy the maintenance backlog of individual buildings. <p> As part of the preliminary assessment of a building or stock of properties it may be useful, if not necessary, to categorise them into broad condition ratings. Table 1.3 shows a convenient way of doing this. <p> <p> <b>1.8 The purpose of the survey</b> <p> There are several conditions under which a surveyor may be required to survey or examine a building and the first point to ascertain is the reason for which the advice is being sought. The following is a list of the most usual reasons: <p> • To prepare a measured drawing of the building to enable a scheme for alterations, improvements or extensions to be prepared. <p> • To prepare a report on the condition of a property to be purchased. <p> • To prepare a schedule of condition for a property to be taken on long lease. <p> • To advise on the repair and preservation of a building (including 'listed' buildings). <p> • Work to be carried out to satisfy the requirements of the local or other authority, i.e. dangerous structure notices, public health notices or a factory inspector's notice. <p> • To prepare plans in connection with party wall agreements. This is usually required where alterations to a party wall are contemplated (see Anstey, 1998). <p> • To advise on the repair of a building damaged by fire or flood. <p> • To make a structural appraisal of existing buildings for 'change of use'. <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>Building Surveys and Reports</b> by <b>James Douglas Edward A. Noy</b> Copyright © 2011 by James Douglas and Edward A. Noy. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.