Will a surveyor move furniture to look for mould during a survey?
Elliot from Stourbridge
Surveying Process questions and answers
My wife and I are interested in a property and have recently had our offer accepted on it. We’re now at the stage of wanting to have it surveyed and we would like to know whether a surveyor would move furniture to look for mould during a Building Survey? On a couple of our viewings we thought we could smell damp, but we couldn’t spot any signs of mould anywhere. We got it for such a good price and we fancy a project so we didn’t let this deter us, but we would like to know before we exchange contracts if there is a problem with mould.
One of the advantages of the Building Survey is that furniture can be moved (providing it is safe to do so and the owner’s consent is given) so that wall surfaces can be properly checked for signs of mould and dampness. However, even where furniture cannot be moved, there are usually clues as to whether wall surfaces may be affected by mould or dampness.
Condensation is one of the biggest damp-related problems in houses. A combination of cold surfaces (exposed walls, poor heating or damp walls) and moisture-laden air (from poor ventilation, excessive use of radiators to dry clothes, cooking etc) causes water vapour to condense on wall surfaces. In many cases a simple lifestyle change will eradicate the problem (as simple as opening windows regularly!).
Sometimes improvements to heating and insulation will be advised. It is not unusual to find mould, from condensation, behind large pieces of furniture positioned close to outside walls and in corners of rooms. Mould can be removed by washing the wall with a fungicide.
I have recently seen several damp problems where wind driven rain over the winter has caused water to penetrate through walls – including cavity walls where gaps in the outside pointing have allowed water to enter and then soak through cavity insulation before appearing on the inside wall surface. Black mould very quickly establishes itself in these cases. Some might argue that the weather this winter was a rare occurrence but homeowners and buyers are advised to consider repairs as we cannot rule out more wet and windy winters like the last one!
Whether you choose a Building Survey or a Homebuyer Survey, a Chartered Surveyor will be able to advise you on problems such as those discussed above. You will then be in a good position to identify and prioritise repairs and improvements to your new home to prevent damp problems from recurring.
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