Defective flashing Blocked rainwater goods Roof timber defects Surveyors will comment on visible defects relating to services Condensation problems Cracking in walls - possible sign of movement problems Dry Rot Brickwork weathered - requires repointing Damp proof course level Significant dampness Slipped, broken or missing slates/tiles on roofs Chimney stack Trees within close proximity to house Wet rot affecting timbers Woodboring beetle infestation

FAQ’s and Jargon Buster

HomeBuyer FAQ’s

What is a HomeBuyer Report?

A HomeBuyer Report is part of a service which includes an inspection, a report and a valuation. More information can be found on our ‘Choose Your Survey’ page.

How long should I expect it to take to receive my HomeBuyer Report?

As a Homebuyer Report is more in depth than a basic valuation inspection we ask that you allow us 5 working days to compile, type and check the document before sending it over to you. We do, however, endeavour to get your report to you sooner if we can.

Why do I need to fill in your Terms and Conditions?

Our Terms and Conditions are a document which we require you to fill in before we can send your report to you. They explain what to expect from the HomeBuyer service and what our surveyors will look at when inspecting the property. Unfortunately we cannot release your HomeBuyer Report until we are in receipt of your signed Terms and Conditions.

How do I receive a copy of my report?

If we are provided with an email address, we prefer to send you your report via email in pdf format. This allows us to get your report to you much more quickly than relying on the postal service and it also helps reduce our carbon footprint which we endeavour to keep to a minimum. If you do not have email access, we will of course send you a hard copy by first class post although please allow for normal postage times (1-3 working days for first class).

Does anyone else receive a copy of my report?

No. We will only send the report to you as it is for your information. You can make the decision after receiving the report whether you wish to share the findings with anyone else (e.g. your legal adviser or contractor to investigate further).

What are Condition Ratings on a HomeBuyer Report?

To help describe the condition of the home, we give condition ratings to the main parts (the ‘elements’) of the building, garage and some parts outside. Some elements can be made up of several different parts.

In the element boxes in parts E, F, G and H of the report, we describe any elements of the property which have defects or risks our surveyor feels you should be aware of as this may affect your decision to proceed with the property purchase in its current state. The condition ratings are described as follows:

Condition Rating Description
3

Defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.

2

Defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

1

No repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

NI

Not inspected (Please see our terms and conditions for areas we do not inspect).

My report contains a number of Condition Rating 3 alerts, what should I do?

Initially, you should read through the content of those sections. The surveyor will have made recommendations on what you need to do next. Often the recommendation is that you instruct a contractor who is considered reputable and a specialist in that particular element of the property. So for example, if there is the potential for asbestos being present, then the surveyor would recommend that a report and associated quote is obtained from a reputable specialist asbestos firm.

Please note that whilst surveyors are specialists in their field of inspecting properties for their materials, structure, valuation and related defects, they are not qualified damp and timber contractors, electricians, gas engineers, or building contractors.

Please note: If your report recommends contacting a reputable contractor we do not hold a list of suitable contractors.

Why is there a Condition Rating 3 on the electricity/gas section?

Very often a condition rating 3 on section G1 and/or G2 is a precautionary one. However there may be further notes within the section depicting details such as exposed wires, dated looking systems, etc so you should make sure you read through the whole section.

Safety certificates to say that electrical or gas systems have been tested and deemed safe are not usually made available to the surveyor on his inspection, so it is always advisable to check with your legal adviser as to whether these inspections have taken place in recent months. If certificates are not forthcoming, then we recommend that appropriately certified contractors are instructed to test these for you, provide a report and a quote if any remedial works are required.

The surveyor has indicated that damp readings indicated a possible problem with damp, what should I do?

The surveyor will take sample meter readings throughout the property and report if high readings were obtained. If this is the case, then our recommendation is that you instruct a reputable damp and timber specialist to inspect the whole property and provide you with a damp report and a quote for any remedial works they feel are necessary.

To note, most damp proofing works are carried out with a long term guarantee and you should instruct your legal adviser to ascertain whether this is the case in the subject property and find out whether the current vendor can have the damp problems resolved under this guarantee. You should also ask for this guarantee to be transferred to you on completion.

Can the surveyor advise me on any extensions/improvements I want to make on the property?

The HomeBuyer Report comments on the property in its current state on the date of inspection and will not include comments on any future improvements you may wish to make. It will not include whether the structure/ground is suitable for building extensions or making alterations either. We suggest that if you are interested in the possibility of building an extension or making alterations in the future, that you instruct a reputable building contractor or architect to inspect the property and provide you with advice on your potential project. Please remember that extensions and alterations are subject to planning permission and Building Regulation approvals obtained from your local authority.

The report states that Building Regulation approval is required for alterations, how do I find out if this was obtained and what do I do if it wasn’t?

Your legal adviser will be able to advise and find out whether Building Regulation approval was obtained for the property. If no approval or evidence of approval has been received, then we recommend that retrospective Building Regulation approval is applied for through the local authority.

Will I receive a valuation as part of the report?

Yes, a Homebuyer Report will include a valuation of the property.

What does the reinstatement value refer to?

The reinstatement cost is the cost of rebuilding an average home of the type and style inspected to its existing standard using modern materials and techniques and in line with current Building Regulations and other legal requirements.

This includes the cost of rebuilding any garage, boundary or retaining walls and permanent outbuildings, and clearing the site. It also includes professional fees, but does not include VAT (except on fees).

The reinstatement cost helps you decide on the amount of buildings insurance cover you will need for the property.

I have further questions, what should I do?

If you would like to ask any further questions about your HomeBuyer Report or anything relating to our services, please contact us either via our contact page or by emailing: enquiries@pinnaclesurveyors.co.uk

Building Survey FAQ's

What is a Building Survey?

A building survey is a customised service suitable for all residential properties and gives full details of their construction and condition. You are likely to need this type of survey if, for example, the property is unusually built or run-down, or if the property has been significantly altered.

Building surveys follow a recognised format covering all areas of the property. The report includes detailed technical information on materials and construction, as well as details of the whole range of defects.

How long should I expect it to take to receive my Building Survey?

As a Building Survey is more in depth than both a basic valuation inspection and HomeBuyer Report we ask that you allow us 7 working days to compile, type and check the document before sending it over to you. We do however endeavour to get your report to you sooner if we can.

Why do I need to fill in your Terms and Conditions?

Our Terms and Conditions are a document which we require you to fill in before we can send your report to you. They explain to you what to expect from a Building Survey and what our surveyors will look at when inspecting the property. We need to be sure that you understand what to expect which is why we ask you to sign and send back the document. It also allows us to double check the property details and your correspondence details to make sure we have up to date information and to allow us to get the report to you as quickly as possible. Unfortunately we cannot release your Building Survey until we are in receipt of your signed Terms and Conditions.

How do I receive a copy of my report?

If we are provided with an email address, we will print and scan a copy of the report to send over to you in pdf format. This allows us to get your report to you much more quickly than relying on the postal service and it also helps reduce our carbon footprint which we endeavour to keep to a minimum. We will also put a hard copy in the post to you although please allow for normal postage times (1-3 working days for first class). If you would like extra hard copies we have a nominal charge of £6.95.

Does anyone else receive a copy of my report?

No. We will only send the report out to you as it is for your information. You can make the decision after receiving the report whether you wish to share some of the findings with anyone else (e.g. your legal adviser).

What information can I expect to see within my report?

Your Building Survey will include specifics about each area of the property including external features (e.g. the roof as viewed from ground level site lines, walls, etc), internal features (e.g. walls, ceilings, floors, roof space if accessible, etc), the grounds, any legal matters you should refer to your legal adviser, the construction of the property, any defects that are evident and what you need to do to remedy them, plus other detailed information.

Can I request that a specific area is inspected in more detail?

If there is an area of the property where you have noted something of concern during a viewing then we are more than happy to pass this to the surveyor before the inspection takes place. We can then comment in the report to explain whether this is a significant defect and whether remedial works are required.

Please note though that we would be unable to comment upon the services as no tests will be carried out, and we cannot comment on any future planned alterations, extensions or refurbishment works.

Can the surveyor carry out any specialist tests (i.e. damp reports, electrical safety check, asbestos reports)?

No. Although our surveyors are specialists in their field of inspecting properties for their materials, structure, valuation and related defects, they are not qualified damp and timber contractors, electricians, gas engineers, or building contractors, etc. If your report recommends further investigation in any particular area we recommend that a reputable contractor who specialises in that element is instructed to investigate and provide you with both a report and quote for any remedial works required.

Will I receive a valuation as part of the report?

No. A Building Survey does not include a valuation or reinstatement figure as part of the service although you may be able to request this as an added extra which attracts an additional fee.

Can the surveyor advise me on any extensions/improvements I want to make on the property?

A Building Survey comments on the property in its current state on the date of inspection and will not include comments on any future improvements you may wish to make. It will not include whether the structure/ground is suitable for building extensions or making alterations either. We suggest that if you are interested in the possibility of building an extension or making alterations in the future, that you instruct a reputable building contractor or architect to inspect the property and provide you with advice on your potential project. Please remember that extensions and alterations are subject to planning permission and Building Regulation approvals obtained from your local authority.

I have further questions, what should I do?

If you would like to ask any further questions about your Building Survey or anything relating to our services, please contact us either via our contact page or by emailing: enquiries@pinnaclesurveyors.co.uk

Mortgage Valuation FAQ’s

What is a Mortgage Valuation?

A mortgage valuation is an inspection carried out on a property on behalf of a mortgage lender/bank/building society. It concentrates on whether the property is suitable security for lending purposes. It only includes serious defects that the lender needs to be aware of that may affect future saleability if not remedied.

How long does it take for the report to be returned to my mortgage lender?

These reports are signed off the same day as inspection in the majority of cases. Occasionally our surveyor requires extra time to obtain further information but this is not a regular occurrence. Once signed off, the report is sent electronically to the lender overnight. Your lender will then contact you in due course.

Will I receive a copy of the Mortgage Valuation report?

In most cases, you will not receive a copy of the valuation report from us. Lender guidelines state that we should not disclose any information to the applicant relating to these reports as they are solely for lending purposes. That being said, some lenders are happy to send you a copy if you request it directly from themselves.

There are some lenders (Halifax, Birmingham Midshires, Lloyds, TSB) that do ask us to send the report out and this will be put in the post to you on the next working day in these cases.

I have a query about the mortgage valuation report, what do I do?

In the first instance, you must contact your mortgage lender. They will need to be aware of anything that may affect the report and if appropriate will raise a Post Valuation Query (PVQ) with us. We will respond to any PVQ’s as soon as possible directly back to the lender.

Please note that as previously described we would be unable to discuss these answers with you and you will need to speak to your lender once a response has been received.

I have further questions, what should I do?

If you would like to ask any further questions about the valuation report although as stated we cannot discuss the content, please email us on enquiries@pinnaclesurveyors.co.uk

Private Valuation Reports (including Probate/Matrimonial) FAQ’s

How do I instruct you to carry out a private valuation/HomeBuyer Report/Other report?

Please contact us in the first instance to confirm a few details about the property you wish to have the report completed on. We can then discuss the options available and timescales for the report.

What are the fees for a private report?

This is dependent upon the type of report you wish us to undertake. Please contact us with further details about the property and we can provide you with a no obligation quote.

In what format will my private report be completed?

This will depend upon the report. Basic valuation reports (including Probate/Matrimonial) will be a concise typed document. Homebuyer reports follow the standard set out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Building Surveys will usually follow a standardised format, although some surveyors prefer to provide their own, typed, in depth Building Survey report. This can be provided via email or a hard copy dependent upon your needs.

I have further questions about the report, who do I contact?

For further details, please either use our contact page (link), email: enquiries@pinnaclesurveyors.co.uk or call us on 01332 830202

General – FAQ’s

What is the process from instructing my mortgage lender to receiving my report?

When you first instruct your mortgage lender to go ahead with your application they will send the instruction for your report to a Panel Manager. A Panel Manager is an intermediary company that has contact with several surveying firms. Looking at the post code area in which the subject property resides they will then allocate the instruction to the firm that can carry out an inspection the soonest.

On receiving the instruction we will phone within four hours to make an appointment with the agent, tenant or current owners of the property.

Our surveyor will carry out the inspection on the date of the appointment. Please see the above FAQ sections for details on what happens for mortgage valuations, HomeBuyer Reports or Building Surveys.

What areas do you cover?

Please see our coverage page for details of our offices throughout the country. Please do contact us though for confirmation of whether we cover your post code.

I am not happy with the service I have received from your company, what can I do?

We are sorry you are unhappy with the level of service received and would like to help resolve your issue. Please write to us in the first instance with details of your concerns and we will investigate and respond as soon as possible. For details of our Complaints Handling Procedure please go to the download area.

Are you regulated?

Yes, we are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). More information can be found on their website: www.rics.org/uk/

Where can I find downloadable information on your website?

To download documents such as our Terms and Conditions for Homebuyer Reports or Building Surveys, our complaints handling procedure and other useful documents please click here.

How do I contact Pinnacle Surveyors?

Use our contact page
Email us at: enquiries@pinnaclesurveyors.co.uk
Phone us on: 01332 830202
Write to us at: Pinnacle Surveyors, Profile House, Stores Road, Derby DE21 4BD

Jargon Buster

Architrave

A moulding around a doorway or window opening. It usually covers the joints between the frame and the wall finish, thus hiding any shrinkage gaps which may occur.

Asbestos

A material used in the past for insulation. Can sometimes be a health hazard and specialist advice should be sought if asbestos is found.

Asbestos Cement

Cement mixed with 15% asbestos fibre as reinforcement. Fragile – will not usually bear heavy weights. Hazardous fibres may be released if cut or drilled.

Asphalt

A black, tar-like substance, designed to be impervious to moisture. Used on flat roofs and floors.

Balanced Flue

Common metal device normally serving gas appliances which allows air to be drawn to the appliance whilst also allowing fumes to escape.

Balustrade

A collective name for a row of balusters or other infilling below a hand rail on a stair or parapet.

Beetle Infestation

(Wood boring insects e.g. woodworm). Larvae of various species of beetle can tunnel into timber causing damage. Specialist treatment normally required. They can also affect furniture.

Bitumen

A black, sticky substance, similar to asphalt. Used in sealants, mineral felts and damp-proof courses.

Carbonation

A natural process affecting the outer layer of concrete. Metal reinforcement within that layer is liable to early corrosion, with consequent fracturing of the concrete in some cases.

Casement Window

A window composed of hinged, pivoted or fixed sashes.

Cavity Wall

A method of building external walls of houses comprising two leaves of brick or blockwork usually separated by a gap (cavity) of about 50mm (2 inches).

Cavity Wall Insulation

The filling of wall cavities by one of various forms of insulation material

Cavity Wall-Tie

A twisted piece of metal or similar material bedded into the inner and outer leaves of cavity walls intended to strengthen the wall. Failure by corrosion can result in the wall becoming unstable – specialist replacement ties are then required.

Chipboard

Often referred to as particle board. Chips of wood compressed and glued into sheet form. Cheap method of decking to flat roofs, floors and (with Formica or melamine surface) furniture, especially kitchen units.

Collar

Horizontal timber member designed to restrain opposing roof slopes. Its absence, removal or weakening can lead to roof spread.

Combination Boiler

Modern form of gas boiler which activates on demand usually within a pressurised system. With this form of boiler there is no need for water storage tanks or hot water cylinders.

Coping/Coping Stone

Usually stone or concrete which is laid on top of a wall as a decorative finish and designed to stop rainwater soaking into the wall.

Cornice

A large moulding at the junction between an inside wall and a ceiling. Can also include a moulding at the top of an outside wall designed to project and throw rainwater clear of the wall.

Coving

A curved junction between wall and ceiling.

Dado Rail

A wooden moulding fixed to the wall or capping panelling and forming the top most part of a dado. Originally designed to avoid damage to the wall where people or furniture brushed against it.

Damp-Proof Course

Layer of impervious material (mineral felt, pvc etc) incorporated into a wall and designed to prevent dampness rising up the wall. Various proprietary methods are available for damp-proofing existing walls including electro-osmosis and chemical injection.

Deathwatch Beetle

Extremely serious insect pest which attacks structural timbers. Usually affects old hardwoods with fungal decay already present.

Dry Rot

(Serpula Lacrymans). A very serious form of fungus which attacks structural and joinery timbers, often with devastating results. Can flourish in moist, unventilated areas.

Eaves

The overhanging edge of a roof.

Efflorescence

These are powdery white salts crystallized on the surface of a wall as a result of moisture evaporation.

Engineering Brick

A particularly strong and dense type of brick which is often used as a damp proof course in older buildings.

Flashing

A building technique designed to prevent leakage at a roof joint. Normally these are metal (lead, zinc, copper) but can be cement, felt or a proprietary material.

Flaunching

A cement mortar on the top of a chimney stack surrounding the base of the chimney pots to throw off the rain and thus prevent it from saturating the stack.

Flue

A smoke duct in a chimney, or proprietary pipe serving a heat producing appliance such as a central heating boiler.

Flue Lining

Metal (usually stainless steel) tube within a flue – essential for high output gas appliances such as boilers. May also be manufactured from clay and built into the flue.

Gable

The upper section of a wall, usually triangular in shape, at either end of a ridged roof.

Gulley

An opening into which rain and waste water are collected before entering the drain.

Gutter

A channel along the eaves of a roof or the edge of a path for the removal of rainwater.

Hip

The external junction between two intersecting roof slopes.

Hip Tile

A saddle shaped or angular tile fitting over the intersection of those roof tiles which meet at a hip.

Inspection chamber

This is more commonly called a ‘man-hole’: access point to a drain comprising a chamber (of brick, concrete or plastic) with the drainage channel at its base and a removal cover at ground level.

Joist

A timber or steel beam directly supporting a floor and sometimes alternatively or additionally supporting a ceiling. Steel beams are usually referred to as RSJs (rolled steel joists).

Key

The roughness of a surface which provides a bond for any application of paint, plaster, rendering, tiles etc or spaces between laths or wire meshes which provide a grip for plaster.

Lath

A thin strip of wood used in the fixing of roof tiles or slates, or as backing to plaster.

Lintel

A horizontal beam over a door or window opening which usually carries the load of the wall above. Often lintels can be partially or completely hidden from view.

Longhorn Beetle

A serious insect pest mainly confined to the extreme south-east of England, which can totally destroy the structural strength of wood.

Mortar

A mixture of sand, cement, water and sometimes lime used to join stones or bricks.

Mullion

The vertical bar dividing individual lights in a window.

Newel

A stout post supporting a staircase handrail at top and bottom. Also, the central pillar of a winding spiral staircase.

Parapet

A low wall along the edge of a roof, balcony etc.

Parapet Gutter

A timber gutter of rectangular cross-section usually provided with a flexible metal or other impervious lining. Used behind a parapet or sometimes at a valley.

Plasterboard

A stiff 'sandwich' of plaster between coarse paper. It is in widespread use for ceilings and walls.

Pointing

The outer edge of a mortar joint between bricks or stones.

Purlin

The horizontal beam in a roof upon which rafters rest.

Rafter

A sloping roof beam, usually timber, forming the carcass of a roof.

Reinstatement Figure

The figure provided within a report that gives the valuation required for Buildings insurance purposes. It is the cost of building the entire property from scratch and is calculated using a standardised formulae set by the Building Cost Information Service.

Rendering

The vertical covering of a wall either plaster (internally) or cement (externally), sometimes with pebbledash, stucco or Tyrolean textured finish.

Reveals

The side faces of a window or door opening.

Ridge

The highest part or apex of a roof, usually horizontal.

Ridge Tile

A specially shaped tile for covering and making weather tight the ridge of a roof. These tiles may have a rounded or angular cross-section.

Riser

The vertical part of a step or stair.

Rising Damp

Moisture soaking up a wall from below ground, by capillary action which can cause rot in timbers, plaster decay, decoration failure etc.

Septic Tank

Drain installation whereby sewage decomposes through the action of bacteria, which can be slowed down or stopped altogether by the use of chemicals such as bleach, biological washing powders etc.

Settlement

All properties settle to some extent, and this can show as cracking and/or distortion in walls. Very often minor settlement is not of great significance to the building as a whole.

Soakaway

A pit, filled with broken stones etc below ground to take drainage from rainwater pipes or land drains and allow it to disperse.

Soffit

The underside of an arch, beam, staircase, eaves or other feature of a building.

Soil Pipe/Soil Stack

A vertical pipe which takes sewage to the drains. Its upper end it usually vented above the eaves.

Stud Partition

Lightweight, sometimes non load bearing wall construction comprising a framework of timber faced with plaster, plasterboard or other finish.

Subsidence

Ground movement, generally downward, possibly a result of mining activities or failure of the subsoil.

Sub-Soil

The soil lying immediately below the top-soil.

Tie Bar

A metal bar passing through a wall, or walls in an attempt to brace a structure suffering from structural instability.

Torching

Mortar applied on the underside of roof tiles or slates to help prevent moisture penetration. Not necessary when a roof is underdrawn with felt.

Tread

The horizontal part of a step or stair.

Trussed Rafters

A method of roof construction utilising prefabricated triangular framework of timbers. This is widely used in domestic construction.

Underpinning

A method of strengthening weak foundations whereby a new, stronger foundation is placed beneath the original.

Valley Gutter

Horizontal or sloping gutter, usually lead or tile lined, at the internal intersection between two roof slopes.

Ventilation

This is necessary in all buildings to disperse moisture resulting from bathing, cooking, breathing, etc, and to assist in the prevention of condensation.

Verge

The edge of the roof, especially over a gable or around a dormer window or skylight.

Verge Board

Made from timber, sometimes decorative, placed at the verge of a roof; also known as a barge board.