The term ‘structural survey’ has in recent years tended to acquire a restricted meaning, being applied to surveys of properties on behalf of prospective purchasers and aimed at discovering defects or shortcomings that might influence the decision to pursue negotiations further. Those who carry out such surveys inevitably work under considerable difficulties—usually they can only observe what is visible on the surface, relying on their professional skill to deduce the significance of any symptoms. Sometimes a surveyor may be permitted to take up a floorboard here or there, lift manhole covers, probe timbers without damaging decorations and apply tests to drains, wiring, and other services. In many cases, because of the problems of making good damage caused in opening up, he cannot cut holes in ceilings to gain access to roof voids not provided with access hatches, nor can he take up flooring to either examine the joists and plates underneath or to determine the nature of the oversite concrete. Normally he cannot expect to investigate foundations, particularly if this involves breaking up concrete paving or damaging flower beds. Even where he can locate and have a sight of the deposited plans at the Local Authority’s offices, there is no guarantee that the building was in fact erected strictly in accordance with the submitted details and drawings.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.