Case Studies

Case Studies

Ensuring our website remains consistently updated with the latest projects undertaken by our team of Chartered Surveyors holds immense significance for both us and our valued customers. It serves as a platform for showcasing the wide range of challenges we tackle and provides our customers with a first-hand glimpse into the efficient and prompt manner in which our team operates. Regardless of the scale of the project, our dedicated team handles each case with meticulous care, leaving no task deemed too big or too small unattended.

For many years, Eyesurvey has proudly embraced the emblem of Sherlock Holmes, a symbol that, to us, encapsulates our unwavering commitment to meticulous attention to detail. The association with Sherlock Holmes was inspired by a compliment we received, acknowledging our thorough analysis during a property assessment fraught with underlying issues.

Whilst we may not sport the iconic attire of the legendary detective, our dedication to meticulousness remains constant. Throughout numerous property evaluations and surveys, we have diligently cultivated a reputation for precision that we hold in high esteem. This firm commitment enables us to provide our clients with the comprehensive information and insights necessary for making informed decisions. At Eyesurvey, our emblem surpasses ordinary symbolism; it serves as an evident representation of our enduring promise and dedication to deliver thorough, exhaustive assessments that underpin our clients’ informed choices.

Les fondly recalls a remark from his student days: “Every building holds a secret. It is your job to find it.”

This philosophy ensures that we never become complacent in our analyses, continuously striving for absolute clarity and meticulousness in our work.

 

Our principles of Chartered Surveying still stands strong in over 45 years of supporting our clients.

To quote Mr Holmes….

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

One of the core principles of Chartered Surveying is the skilled identification of multiple issues, such as dampness. While initially detecting the presence of dampness within a property may seem straightforward, unravelling the underlying causes often proves to be a daunting challenge. It’s as if the nefarious arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty himself, were orchestrating these damp-related predicaments. Investigating the origins of dampness requires a meticulous approach, akin to carefully peeling back layers of a complex puzzle. It could originate from various sources, such as a concealed leaking pipe, an insufficient damp-proof course, or even a seemingly innocuous roof tile strategically positioned to intercept rain carried by prevailing westerly winds. In certain scenarios, the culprit may be attributed to inadequate ventilation, further emphasizing the necessity for a comprehensive exploration of all potential contributing factors to accurately pinpoint the precise cause.

“To a great mind, nothing is little,’ remarked Holmes, sententiously.”

On this particular matter, we disagree with Mr. Holmes’ perspective. We maintain that an excessively confident attitude may give rise to complacency, a risk we cannot tolerate given the substantial financial implications our research and recommendations hold for our clients. When assessing a property, we painstakingly scrutinise even the minutest details. Often, minor issues can escalate into more substantial problems over time, and it is our duty to promptly detect and resolve any such concerns.

 “Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

In a recent case we handled, we encountered a compelling demonstration of the services provided by Eyesurvey. Our assignment involved evaluating a property described as a “fully refurbished and extended house.” During our examination, our team uncovered significant cracks, exceeding 15mm/0.6” in width, along a prominent exterior wall. These fissures had been filled with a pliable, non-hardening flexible mastic and subsequently covered with paint. While such imperfections might escape the notice of many potential buyers, they indicated substantial structural movement that could persist and escalate into a serious issue for a subsequent owner. Our diligent scrutiny led to the identification and disclosure of this issue, potentially resulting in a significant depreciation of the property’s value by several thousand pounds. The necessary repairs, though imperative, may incur substantial costs. This scenario emphasises the importance of our thorough inspections, offering valuable insights to protect both current and future homeowners from unforeseen challenges.

“Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

As Chartered Surveyors, we have yet to come across instances of valuable art by a renowned Renaissance painter being stolen. Fortunately, crime is not a prominent issue in our field. However, logic continues to be a fundamental aspect of our profession. Each property we evaluate is guided by logical principles, although occasional unexpected elements may surface. Our competitive advantage is rooted in our scrupulous attention to detail and a profound understanding of a property’s dynamics.

We hope you enjoyed our bit of fun that has been perfectly integrated into the Eyesurvey philosophy for the art of Chartered Surveying… and so to close –

“Holmes and Watson are on a camping trip. In the middle of the night Holmes wakes up and gives Dr. Watson a nudge. “Watson” he says, “look up in the sky and tell me what you see.”

“I see millions of stars, Holmes,” says Watson.

“And what do you conclude from that, Watson?” Watson thinks for a moment. “Well,” he says, “astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meterologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful, and we are small and insignificant. Uh, what does it tell you, Holmes?”

“Watson, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!”

– Thomas Cathcart, Daniel Klein”

The End!

The year at Eyesurvey – A wide range of projects!

We often get asked… “Is that something you can help with?”

Without a doubt, articulating the inherent diversity within our workload presents a significant challenge. Surveying practice encompasses a wide spectrum of tasks, ranging from the customary Homebuyer Level 2 report, crucial in new property acquisitions, to various unforeseen responsibilities that may not be immediately apparent. Our practice extends beyond these tasks to include meticulous assessments of property value and precise determinations of reconstruction costs for insurance purposes.

Throughout this process, we ensure that no items are displaced, no holes are drilled, and no floors are uncovered, emphasising our commitment to preserving the integrity of the properties. Below, we present a selection of illustrative examples, offering insights into our work and recounting our experiences as Chartered Surveyors.

Homebuyer’s Surveys

Among our most common instruction types, we conduct evaluations for flats, terraced, semi-detached, and detached homes spanning a range of ages, from recently constructed properties to those up to 120 years old. Yes, even late Victorian houses that have been converted into flats fall within this spectrum! This report offers a suitable level of detail and comprehensiveness for the majority of properties and buyers, while still offering excellent value for your investment.

Building Surveys

This kind of more detailed report is provided for the very large, far older (maybe from 15th Century onwards) or complex buildings, either being used as private homes, or non-domestic properties used for commercial activities. More complicated to inspect, and thus takes longer to prepare this type of report, and is significantly more expensive.

“Help to Buy” Valuations

when you arrange insurance, you should not simply use the Market Value – if the house is destroyed say, by a fire, and must be rebuilt, you still have the land on which it stood. Blocks of flats are far more complicated to assess. A specialist calculation must be done to reflect costs of demolition and site clearance; of the actual rebuilding; and for professional supervision by an architect or surveyor (probably with VAT on those fees). A mortgage lender will normally have their own valuer carry out that calculation, but if you’re a “Cash buyer”, you need to take your own advice.

Rent Reviews and Lease Renewals – Commercial Premises

This is a process governed either by the Lease under which the premises are occupied for rent reviews (adjusting rents at intervals as the Market Rental Value rises), and most Renewals are regulated by the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 (Part 2). Briefly, the building is carefully measured to calculate floor areas of each part; then evidence of rents on equivalent premises is gathered and applied to estimate the current rental for the subject property – usually with some negotiation following to reach a finally agreed figure. It may take several months as it is a complicated process. Our fees are structured to reflect the actual benefit to the client, based either on the actual increase we can obtain, or on an effective reduction/ saving against what the Landlord was asking for before negotiations started – the amount the tenant will not have to pay…… We have dealt with reviews in the past year on shops, and on industrial units, and lease renewal negotiations on premises occupied by Government Departments!

Schedule of Dilapidations

When entering into a commercial lease agreement, the tenant takes on the obligation of maintaining and repairing the leased property. Failure to fulfil these responsibilities may trigger an inspection and documentation process by the Landlord or Surveyor, potentially resulting in dilapidation issues. It is the tenant’s responsibility to address the specified maintenance and repair tasks within the lease period. If the tenant fails to do so, the Landlord has the authority to arrange for work to be performed by professionals and subsequently charge the associated costs to the tenant.

Compulsory Purchase and Land Compensation

Where a “Statutory Authority” such as the Highways Agency needs to acquire land for the building of a new road, or a Project like “HS2” rail link, or a local Council has to rebuild a housing estate and must “buy-in” any private ownerships, they normally do so by Compulsory Purchase authorised by Act of Parliament. The price paid is set by Market Value, and we have recently acted for a flat owner whose Council wanted to redevelop the estate in which the flat was situated. We achieved a price £40,000 above the figure initially offered by the Council.

Land Compensation

Challenges often arise when an established roadway undergoes expansion or when an airport transitions from catering primarily to private aircraft to accommodating major carriers. A notable example of this evolution occurred at Southend-on-Sea airport in Essex a few years ago. When nearby property owners discover that their properties have been adversely affected by factors such as increased noise, vibrations, light pollution, fumes, and odours, they are entitled to compensation. This compensation is determined by assessing the difference between the property’s value before and after the implementation of the “new scheme.” In a specific case, we represented approximately 36 property owners whose homes experienced a decrease in value due to improvements made to a major road junction near Stanway, Essex. The additional noise and continuous lighting installed at the junction significantly disrupted the use and enjoyment of their properties. Through our dedicated efforts, we successfully secured compensation payments for our clients, ranging from approximately £1,500 to £15,000. This demonstrates our unwavering commitment to advocating for the rights and interests of property owners impacted by developments in their vicinity.

Building faults and defects

We were asked to advise the occupiers of a block of flats, where garden boundary walls were becoming badly cracked and were subsiding at their site, which was on sloping land. As the flats were over ten years old, and the cracks had appeared only in the last year to 18 months, we had to find a cause for the walls to start moving and breaking up, with cracks up to 40mm/ 1.5” wide and over 3 metres/ 10 feet in length appearing. No significant trees were found nearby that could cause the problem, but we found the house owner down the slope had recently had a large part of his garden excavated to level it off. That had removed support from the walls around the flats, so they started to move and crack.

The owner of a 1930s house had been wrestling with damp problems. This property was constructed with traditional “Cavity walls,” featuring two layers of brick or blocks fixed with a space or cavity between them. The purpose of this design is to separate the moist outer wall from the dry internal one while maintaining structural integrity. Upon inspection, we identified blocked cavities, likely resulting from debris left over from the original construction and subsequent alterations, thus allowing moisture to penetrate from the outer to the inner wall. To address this issue, we coordinated the removal of bricks at intervals, enabling the gradual extraction of debris and allowing moisture to disperse over several months. While this approach doesn’t deliver immediate results or provide a “magic bullet” solution, it represents the correct remedy, differing from the widely advocated yet often ineffective “chemical damp injection treatments” offered by some firms. At Eyesurvey, our priority is to adhere to fundamental sound building practices to ensure effective solutions for our clients.

For more than four and a half decades, Eyesurvey has been dedicated to catering to the needs of towns and villages in Essex and Suffolk. With our extensive expertise in residential and commercial properties in the region, we provide invaluable assistance to our valued customers. Our clientele spans a diverse range, encompassing local and public authorities, residential property owners and buyers, commercial business owners, and numerous others seeking a top-notch surveying service.

Eyesurvey says – “If the question is property, the answer is YES – so where is the problem?”

WE COVER ALL ESSEX, SUFFOLK AND SOUTH NORFOLK AREAS

Leasehold, Councils & Compulsory Purchase

I am acting for someone who has a long leasehold on a flat, which was granted in 1992, in Barking, Outer London. The flats are 1960s built, and the local Council have decided the entire block and estate needs updating and renovation, as not all are privately owned and many are still rented from the Council. The Council have indicated they want to buy back the private leasehold flats, so as to carry out the overall scheme, as they could not do so without having all flats in these several blocks. They are currently offering to do so by individual negotiations, but if necessary will take powers for Compulsory Purchase, under the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965,(as amended) or alternatively by using the Land Compensation Act 1973 if the property is adversely affected by a “public scheme”, but land is not actually taken.

Roof Problems

The house front clearly showed a sag in the roof slope, which had concrete tiles fitted to replace slates. Concrete tiles are about three times as heavy as slates (which absorb hardly any water), but concrete tiles are more absorbent and heavier once they are wet, so the roof structure normally has to be strengthened. If not, it is likely to sag, or even collapse if stress is high enough – snow fall can be the last straw to break the camel’s back.

The two roof pictures show the small struts added lower down as an inadequate attempt to strengthen that roof slope, and circled is where the purlin (horizontal timber) has bowed downwards with the weight, causing the sag. The short struts running up from the ceiling level should have been longer and actually bearing on the purlin to support it properly. The cost to do it correctly at the time tiles were fitted was about £200 – cost to put right now is many, many times more and involves jacking up and then supporting the formation without damage!

Dilapidation Claims

“Eyesurvey have recently completed a case concerning a “Schedule of Dilapidations” on a shop unit at Lakeside Shopping Centre, West Thurrock. This is a notification under a commercial lease of breaches of the covenants (promises) to repair or maintain the premises and to keep decorations in good order. The amount of the claim involved, and alleged to be the Landlord’s loss, was over £41,000, including the Landlord’s surveyors fees.

Les Long FRICS, our Principal, inspected the unit, then checked the claim document against the lease. He found that the shop front fitted, various modifications inside the shop, all approved by the Landlord many years ago, had to be returned to the original “shell” state as at entry, when the lease ended. That was around two months after the claim document was served.

The items listed in that claim simply amounted to an intimation that those items were to be removed on vacating, and no breaches of the lease were actually involved. The Landlord’s surveyor had not prepared the correct form of notification to carry out those works. Consequently, no costs or surveyor’s fees could be claimed, if the tenant actually carried out the work as they vacated. The work was completed on time by the tenant’s contractors, on the advice of Eyesurvey, saving the client the entire amount of over £41,000, as had been claimed for the Landlord.”

Expert Witness Case

“Eyesurvey Principal, Leslie J Long FRICS, has just completed a Retrospective Valuation report as at September 2008, as Expert Witness for solicitors concerning a High Court case. Strict Court Rules of Conduct apply to any Expert Witness, even in reporting for the preliminary legal negotiations leading up to a Court Hearing. This all took many hours of careful work to prepare, including finding historic evidence of property values.

The case hinged on alleged over-valuation of a property for mortgage purposes, where the lender lost substantial moneys on a re-sale of the mortgaged property following that being re-possessed. They claimed against the original valuer for negligence, and for damages of over £90,000, plus interest. The Claimant had produced a valuation from another surveyor acting as their expert, but on a detailed reading of that report and background research, Les was able to show the original valuation was both reasonable and within a fair margin of “allowable error”.

In addition, the other “expert report” contained errors of fact, and showed an unbalanced analysis of market evidence of values at the relevant date, so this report was misleading and not proper guidance for the Court to rely upon. We are confident the Court will reject that other report for those reasons, and that the Claim will be withdrawn. Only by considerable attention to detail and checking of facts, which Les had to carry out, can his work be offered to a Court in acting as an “Expert Witness. He is willing to receive similar commissions from any legal advisers with similar requirements.”

Cavity Insulation.

Eyesurvey have recently been engaged to advise a property owner in North Essex, as to problems with the cavity wall insulation installed by injection methods around 2004. There were damp areas found inside the property. Inspection showed the injection holes in the outside walls were incorrectly spaced.

We were able to see that there was no insulation by carefully removing two bricks from different areas without disturbing the insulation that was there between the wall’s skins. Later, after poking around within the wall cavity, we discovered that there was no insulating material inside the cavity for a considerable distance from both of our openings.

A thermal imaging camera survey was scheduled, resulting in the displayed image below. The green regions indicate efficient heat retention, while the red regions indicate significant heat loss, indicating inadequate insulation. Notably, red areas are observed both above and below the main window. Furthermore, similar patterns were detected on all four walls of the property. This compelling evidence strongly suggests incomplete insulation.

This can cause dampness, due to the cold spots at points of poor insulation which tend to concentrate moisture. That will lead to damp-related mould troubles. These faults have now been reported to CIGA (Cavity Wall Insulation Agency) for remedial work.

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Business Rates Case

Our client ran a shop in Colchester Town centre, which consisted of three small units combined many years ago. He felt the Business Rates (“Non-Domestic Rates”) he was paying were too high, and asked our advice. He had already had two other “Rating Advisers” carry out the same exercise, each without success.

The chaotic state of Britain’s business rates system has been revealed by newly-published figures which show that the Government is expecting to pay £4.2bn back to businesses that appeal against their tax bill. This huge figure reflects how concerned businesses are about the burden of the tax – which brings in roughly £25bn for the Treasury every year. Since the latest revaluation of business rates was enforced in 2010, there have been appeals on 590,850 of the 1.8m commercial properties in the UK eligible to pay business rates. Businesses have appealed their rates bill on one in three commercial properties in the UK.

We carefully measured and calculated floor areas, then compared them to the Rateable Value calculations shown in the Rates Assessment on the Valuation Office website. We found the figures they had used were incorrect, due to mistakes in “zoning” the shops, from changes in floor levels caused by the slope along the street, and by incorrectly classifying certain areas within the shop units. The resulting Rateable Value as assessed was almost £10,000 too high.

We negotiated with the Valuation Office and finally, after many months and just before a Rating Tribunal Hearing, agreed a proper re-assessment of the Rateable Value. As the revised assessment corrected errors that had been applied over two “Valuation List” periods our client then received, not only Rates Rebates for almost ten years overpayments, but also Statutory Interest on that overpayment in addition – some £7,000 in all.

Rent Reviews

Our Estate Agency client had a shop used as their offices in west Colchester, on a side road adjoining a local shopping parade. The Landlord gave them notification of a Rent Review under the Lease, seeking a substantial increase in the rent. The lease did not allow for a rental reduction, only “upward or equal” rents on conclusion of any Reviews. He relied on nearby shops in the parade, arguing the rent should be similar. Evidence showed that the main parade had greater visibility and footfall than the Estate Agency shop had, and that there was reason to consider the existing rent was actually already too high.

We were then able to successfully argue for, and to agree, a “Nil Increase” in the rent. The same situation arose three years later, and once again, we successfully negotiated a “Nil increase”.

Can I “pass on” my survey or other report?

This concerns a buyer who recently lost the house he wanted to purchase due to another buyer making a better offer, after we had carried out a survey of the property for him. He wanted to “sell” the report on to the new buyer, and asked us if that was all right. That would let him recover most of the fee he had paid.

Actually, it can’t simply be handed on in return for a payment between the two persons, as the second one has no “contractual relationship” with the surveyor. He has no possible claim on the surveyor, or the surveyor’s work.

That relationship must be created, or the surveyor’s Terms and Conditions of Engagement will exclude or prevent the second person making use of that report.

For reasons especially of Professional Indemnity insurance, he will have inserted a term to say that “is only for use by only the named person [ie, the first client] and no third/ other party can use, reproduce, rely” or make use for other purposes, such as in a mortgage application, in the case of a valuation report.

The Insurance Company involved will not allow that or any report to be used “by the world and his wife”. The report has to be limited as to who can use it. The surveyor will ask the new person to agree his original Terms of Engagement, and who must accept them in writing, as well as agreeing that no fresh inspection of the property will be made. The report could then be transferred.

The surveyor can make a reasonable charge for giving his WRITTEN consent to the second person, allowing the first client to pass-on the report, and the second can then use it, just as the first client would have done.

Land Compensation

The Highways Agency carried out a new lighting installation scheme on part of the A12 main road at Stanway. The method of supporting the light standards caused increased road noise to be experienced by residents in nearby houses and bungalows. As a result, the Market Values of their properties were reduced, giving rise to claims for compensation under the Land Compensation Act 1963.

A group of the residents instructed us to act in negotiations with the Highways Agency, who were then represented by the Valuation Office.

Following long negotiations, over more than two years, this finally resulted in nearly forty of our property owner clients near that scheme on the A12 receiving compensation payments varying from £1,500 to almost £12,000.

For more information on our full services please contact us here

WE HAVE DONE IT AGAIN!

We are celebrating being voted one of the top three Chartered Surveyors in Colchester Eight years running!
Three Best Rated is an independent scheme which uses a 50-point inspection process to assess local businesses including reputation, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, trust, cost and general excellence.
This is recognition for providing consistent high quality services across Colchester, Essex.

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WE COVER ALL ESSEX , SUFFOLK AND SOUTH NORFOLK AREAS

Case Studies

Here at Eyesurvey we keep our website up to date with regular projects that we are currently working on or have recently completed.

By showcasing our recent case studies it allows our clients to understand the type of issues that we are able to deal with, how we deal with them and the swift and professional manner in which our team go about it.

No job is too big or too small for our team, each case will be handled with care.

Read more about our case studies here

IN FOCUS THIS WEEK

No matter what the property issue is our team will always be the best ones to deal with the problem. We have encountered many different issues over the years, all ranging in severity and have dealt with them as quickly as possible. So no matter if you are a property owner or tenant you can get back to your daily routine. We pride ourselves on never failing to give anything but the best service to all customers for the best price.

What our clients say

"We engaged EyeSurvey to help prepare a full survey report for a new property purchase. The report was thorough, well structured and easy to understand. The process was also extremely quick and easy - we engaged EyeSurvey on a Friday, they attended the property for inspection the following Tuesday and we had the final report less than 24 hours later. Would definitely recommend and use them again"

James Castles

 

"When an issue came up about a boundary fence I share with my neighbour, I contacted Mr Long who encouraged me to first try to reach an agreement with my neighbour. However, when the matter seemed to be getting worse, I called him out; he carried out a survey and sent me his report within a few days. I now have some assurance and peace of mind"

Lorraine

"We received a wonderful service from Eyesurvey, we cannot recommend them enough. From our first phone call, Les was very efficient and helpful, willing to answer any questions we may have had. Thankfully, our survey was booked in fairly quickly, and we were kept updated on any progress made. We would not hesitate to use Eyesurvey again with any future house purchases. Thank you again for your services!"

Hannah Payne

MORE AT  EYESURVEY

The security and value of your home or business is important to you. At Eyesurvey we understand this so provide a personal touch to all the services we offer. Your home or business is important to us too. Read more about the Residential and Commercial services we provide.

We are the local experts you are looking for so please give us a call to see how we can help you today.