DIY Building Surveys

We recommend that you get a professional survey carried out on your building every five years. In between, take a proper look at the building yourself using this guide. If you cannot get owners to take your building's condition seriously, it might also be worth carrying out your own survey and discussing your findings with your neighbours.

Get prepared

You need to communicate what you’ve found to your co-owners so get set up at the start.

  • get copies of plans and elevations of your buildings if you have them
  • or take photographs and print them up black and white so you can write on them
  • download the survey form and check it covers all the features of your building. Print off extra sheets so you  have enough to cover all the windows

On your plans and photos, number the chimneys, windows, dormers and anything else you have more than one of so you can keep track of what you’ve found.

It may be pleasanter carrying out a survey on a dry day but wet days can reveal overflowing gutters and drips where it should be dry.

 

 

Safe access for checking your building

  • Get as much height as you can to check the roof - maybe a neighbour across the road will let you look out of their top flat window. If you need to look from the road, get an assistant to help keep an eye open for traffic
  • Can you get safe access to your loft? Someone to hold a ladder, crawl boards so you don’t put your foot through a ceiling?
  • You may be able to access the roof through a hatch.  Don’t go out on the roof unless you are experienced and have a harness and a sound fixing point for the harness
  • Grab a torch, binoculars, camera, clipboard, hard hat and tough boots

What to check

DRAINAGE

Gutters and Downpipes

Check every 6 months.  Look for:

Drains and ground levels

ROOF LEVEL

Check every 6 months.  Look for:

Central Valleys and Secret Parapet Gutters

Check every 6 months.  Look for:

Roof Finish

Check every year.  Look for:

Flat roof

Check every year. Look for:

Chimneys

Check every year. Look for:

Flashings

Check every year.  Look at:

Dormers

Check every year. Look for:

INSIDE LOFT

Check every year.  Look for:

EXTERNAL FEATURES

Perimeter fences and railings

Check every year.  Look for:

WALLS

Front Stonework (Ashlar)

Check every two years.  Look for:

Rear and Gable stonework (rougher undressed stones)

Check every two years.  Look for:

Oriels and Bays

Check every two years.  Look for:

INSIDE CLOSE

Close wall plasterwork and ceilings

Check every year. Look for:

The Close Stairs

Check every two years.  Look for:

Close floor and landings

Check every two years.  Look for:

Close tiles

Check every five years.  Look for:

Close Painterwork

Check every five years.  Look for:

Close windows (Sash and Case)

Check every five years.  Look for:

External Features

WINDOWS

Check every five years.  Look for: