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Should surveys reveal steel constructions?

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Question

Should a survey have revealed that a bungalow was steel construction?

Answer

For the last two hundred years the majority of residential houses in the UK have been of brick construction. In recent years modern methods of construction have led to an increase in timber and steel framed houses and blocks of flats. 

The surveyor will use a range of factors to determine the type of material used:

• Local knowledge of the area
• Indications of when the property was constructed
• Discussions with the building owner, neighbours and the estate agent
• Measuring the thickness of the walls
• Tapping walls to identify hollow sections
• Inspecting the top of walls within the roof space
• Considering the external finish (facing brickwork, brick slips, render or pebbledash)

If a combination of the above still leaves some uncertainty, the surveyor is likely to state that they “believe the walls to be of timber frame construction”, for example. 

Steel-framed bungalows are a rarity and without cutting an exploratory hole in the wall (something a surveyor is not permitted to do) it will be very difficult to know for sure. 

I carry a stud wall/pipe detector (similar to a small metal detector), however, this is not a standard item in a surveyor’s toolkit. 

In my experience, the method of construction will have little effect on the value of the property and I wouldn’t downvalue a property because it is steel-framed.

Guy Mattinson
Albright Surveyors

Guy Mattinson

Guy Mattinson

Albright Surveyors Limited

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