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Diary of an APC candidate: The Story So Far

Tuesday, 30th November 2010 | by: Peter Barry

During the first 6 months of my APC the ‘hands on’ experience that I have gained has been broadly split between 2 areas of work; Party Wall Matters and Pre Purchase Surveys.

I have seen everything from section 2 works such as cutting into the party wall for the insertion of steel beams to accommodate a loft extension, to more complex section 6 works, for example excavating to accommodate a new basement level, or the new foundations of a rear extension.

An interesting job involved the demolition and rebuild of a party fence wall that through neglect had fallen down, the neighbours would rarely get along on the best of days, meaning that it was a normal occurrence for arguments and disagreements to ensue. One particular argumant occurred while I was checking the progress of the works on site, each owner disagreed with the other’s opinion on the depth of the proposed foundations, to resolve this issue I produced a copy of the award which had specified the depth of the new foundations, on presentation of this both owners accepted and the changes were made, this became one of the rare occasions that both owners agreed on something.

I have recently become accredited with the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors (FPWS); an educational, non-profit making body concerned with party wall matters. With this in hand I look forward to being further involved with Party wall work over the coming months.

At Peter Barry we have two ‘in house’ surveyors and three consultant surveyors. This has given me an excellent opportunity to attend many Building Surveys with our surveyors and has meant that I’ve been present on surveys ranging from 1 bedroom purpose built flats to 6 bedroom detached houses; I have therefore been exposed to a vast range of property defects.

One of the more interesting defects included a 1930’s property that had suffered from WW2 bomb damage and had since been partially rebuilt. Although on the surface the property was well presented, upon further inspection we uncovered that it suffered from severe penetrating & rising damp issues, with the entire flank wall & roof covering showing signs of damage.

As the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” this was a prime example of the importance of having a pre-purchase survey, and the type of defects that may be uncovered.

In my next post I will writing about some of the RICS Homebuyer Report inspections and Specific Defect Reports that I have attended.