building surveyor wokingham

Our Services

 

We specialise in building (structural) surveys, as well as architectural design, party wall matters and subsidence investigations. We provide a broad spectrum of building surveying services for both residential and commercial property as follows:

Building Surveys (Structural Surveys)

The purchase of a property, whether residential or commercial, is a major financial step for you or your company to take and it is vital that every precaution is taken before you make the decision to proceed.

A detailed building survey is the best way to ensure that the building you are proposing to buy or lease is all that you hope it will be. Very few buildings, even those that are brand new, are completely free from defects and it is important that these defects and particularly those which may have significant cost implications are brought to your attention so that you are able to make an informed decision prior to your purchase. Which? and The Council of Mortgage Lenders advise you to have a survey carried out before you buy and not to rely on a mortgage valuation. A valuation is not a survey; it is merely a limited check on the property that your bank or building society surveyor carries out to ensure it’s worth the money they are proposing to lend to you. A detailed building survey undertaken by a fully qualified and experienced Chartered Building Surveyor, regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), could save you thousands of pounds in repair bills that you would otherwise not become aware of until after you have moved into the property.

A variety of different surveys are offered in the market place and they can vary in quality, both in the report itself and the surveyor carrying out the inspection. Daniels & Associates are Chartered Building Surveyors who only undertake fully comprehensive building survey reports of the highest standard, because this form of report is considered to be in the best interests of our Clients. When you are making the biggest investment of your life, it is a false economy to select your surveyor and survey format on the basis of price alone. You should carefully consider the financial risks you are taking if you opt for anything other than a full building survey, which should represent the best value for money and provide you with the level of analytical information you really need.

All the building surveys we undertake will involve a detailed visual inspection of the property and such a survey is appropriate to all building types and ages. A comprehensive technical report is produced following inspection, detailing all the defects and all the repairs required in all the structural elements, including the roof areas, roof spaces, walls, chimneys, floors, ceilings, doors, windows and the drainage system. The report will be property specific and will not incorporate numerous standard clauses which are so often found in inferior survey report formats. Repair cost estimates, digital photographs of the more important defects and those which may be more difficult to describe in writing, as well as relevant technical data extracts will all be included.

 building surveyor wokingham

 

Dry rot discovered on a Building Survey

Party Wall Matters

Daniels & Associates provide technical party wall advice to building owners or adjoining owners and have been dealing with party wall matters since The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 came into force in July 1997. Our principal building surveyor is a member of the Pyramus & Thisbe Club, the pre-eminent organisation for Party Wall specialists and his experience allows us to provide a high standard of advice concerning the many aspects of the “Act”, the wording of which is often considered quite ambiguous. The Act applies to various work that may be undertaken directly to an existing wall or floor which is shared in common with a neighbouring owner, to new building at or astride the boundary line between properties and to excavations within 3m or 6m of a neighbouring building or structure, depending on the depth of the hole or the proposed foundations. We can advise on how to acquire rights under the Act, serve the relevant notices and prepare Party Wall Awards and Schedules of Condition.

Further guidance on the Party Wall etc. Act and how it may affect someone who either wishes to undertake work covered by the Act (the “Building Owner”) or receives notification under the Act of proposed adjacent work (the “Adjoining Owner”) can be obtained from the clear and impartial guide to party walls produced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to which a link is provided below.

     building surveyor wokingham                  RICS Party Wall Consumer Guide click here

Architectural Design Services

Since we at Daniels & Associates are primarily Chartered Building Surveyors, we have a wealth of experience in understanding the many problems that can arise when undertaking construction works and how these problems can best be avoided at the design stage.  Particular care is therefore taken to ensure that our design drawings not only take on board our Clients’ requirements, but also are sufficiently detailed to effectively convey to any Contractor exactly how various parts of the new-build structure, alteration or refurbishment project should be constructed to avoid problems later, which are often overlooked by other, less experienced designers.  This is, of course, in addition to ensuring compliance with the detailed requirements of modern Building Regulations where these apply.

We have built our reputation on our attention to detail and our drawings are generally more than just documents sufficient to obtain Planning or Building Regulation approval.  They are, in many ways, a specification which will form an important part of any contract between you as the Client and any Contractor you ultimately decide to employ to undertake the proposed building work, to a standard dictated by the drawing details.

For all projects we first of all need to fully understand our Client’s requirements and only then will a draft design be prepared for approval.  Scale drawings are produced using industry-leading software, AutoCAD, which not only enables everything to be drawn to a high level of accuracy, but also allows any changes you may require to be carried out more quickly and efficiently.  Most projects will require Planning and/or Building Regulation approval and Daniels & Associates can advise on these matters, as well as preparing and submitting the applications, including Design & Access Statements where necessary, to the relevant Local Authority.  Once all the necessary statutory approvals have been obtained, of course, Daniels & Associates can fully assist in taking the project forward, both in terms of preparing detailed specifications and contract documents, as well as the associated project management.  See further details of our services in this connection below.

 

building surveyor A sympathetically designed side extension showing before and after

Specifications

To ensure that any building work is undertaken to the high standard normally expected by our Clients, using preferred materials and to convey to the Contractor exactly what is expected of him, both in terms of construction detail and contractual obligations, it is best to supplement the detailed drawings with a carefully prepared project-specific specification before proceeding to tender to reputable contractors to undertake the works.  There is clearly insufficient scope to include all the information the Contractor needs to know for pricing purposes on the project drawings.  This is where the detailed specification is so important because it narrows down any ambiguities and will ensure that a more realistic fixed price can be obtained for the work without including numerous provisional sums for items that have yet to be agreed.  A specification will generally mean that there will be far fewer variations during the course of the contract work, so that the Client can budget more precisely when tenders are received.  A detailed specification is also a requirement if the Client wishes to take advantage of a formal Joint Contracts Tribunal standard form of contract procedure, whereby a Chartered Surveyor is appointed to act as Contract Administrator to oversee the work, to issue certificates of payment on a monthly basis and to issue formal instructions before any variations can be instigated.

Daniels & Associates have many years of experience in the preparation of detailed project-specific specifications and can advise on the most suitable procedure to follow for any particular project.       

Project Management and Contract Administration

The role of the Project Manager is fundamentally to ensure the successful planning, execution, monitoring, control and closure of a project and Daniels & Associates have the necessary combination of skills, developed over numerous and varied projects, to meet our Clients’ requirements.  We fully understand that all projects are carried out under constraints, namely cost, time, scope and quality and that these must be embraced with the Client’s expectations as a central theme.  A project will only run smoothly if there is effective communication, organization and problem-solving and these are our core skills, as well as being able to build a good project team with whom we can work based on long-term relationships with many other specialists.

Daniels & Associates can offer a complete project management service, or tailor individual services to meet our Clients’ requirements.  We can take projects right through from their feasibility stage to the end of any defects rectification period, or alternatively provide services during pre-contract, contract or post-contract periods.  We work closely with all other parties involved, including Engineers, main contractors, specialist sub-contractors and Local Authorities to always ensure that high standards of quality and honest communication are maintained throughout any project. 

As a basis for good Project Management, there must be good contract documentation, as well as effective Contract Administration. Carefully worded project-specific specifications for the building works are key, incorporating appropriate contract conditions, including payment provisions, insurances, health and safety requirements, how variations are to be dealt with, a defined defects rectification period and liquidated damages which will become payable in the unlikely event that the contractor runs overtime without reasonable excuse.  A standard form of contract, such as those produced by the Joint Contracts Tribunal, is typically adopted to formalize all these matters and a professional consultant such as ourselves, familiar with the various contract provisions, is required to advise on and administer the terms of the contract.  In addition to formulating the contract documentation, Daniels & Associates are able to source specialist suppliers and sub-contractors, as well as obtain quotations from experienced and reputable contractors, with whom we have built up long-term relationships and oversee the construction work to ensure compliance with the agreed specification, detailed drawings and any statutory requirements. This invariably ensures that contracts are completed on time, within budget and, most importantly, to our Clients’ satisfaction.

Building Defects Analysis

As chartered building surveyors building defects analysis, or building pathology as it has come to be known, is one or our specialisms, because an analytical mind is required to gather all the necessary data to enable the cause, or causes, of the problem to be ascertained and effectively dealt with, rather than simply addressing the symptoms.  A thorough understanding of how a building or structure is constructed and the likely reasons for the premature failure of a particular element, are pre-requisites to being able to effectively diagnose any particular problem and to then recommend an effective remedial solution.  Analytical equipment can always be hired, but there is no substitute for experience and knowledge which Daniels & Associates possess.  We also pride ourselves in being able to effectively communicate the results of any investigation in a manner that can be fully understood by our Clients or any contractors who may be subsequently employed to carry out the necessary repairs.   

Once we have established the cause of building defects, we analyse and report on the measures required to overcome the problems and, where appropriate, provide alternative options.  We would normally recommend that the problems are followed through to resolution and to this end, a detailed specification can be prepared, tenders sought from reputable contractors who specialize in the particular field involved and the remedial works then overseen to ensure that they are carried out strictly in accordance with the specification to prevent ongoing problems.  Our services can be tailored to the Client’s requirements to suit the type and scale of the building defects involved.

    wokingham surveyorFloor slab subsidence                                               Oak purlin deflection

Subsidence Investigation and insurance Claims 

The cause of movement is identified by undertaking appropriate on-site investigations, soil samples extracted followed by laboratory analysis, the effect of any nearby trees or leaking drains ascertained, an insurance claim substantiated where appropriate and advice given on the most suitable and cost-effective remedial action.  Level and crack monitoring can be undertaken, as necessary, to confirm whether or not any structural movement is ongoing, a detailed repair specification produced for the works agreed and tenders sought from reputable contractors.  Flood, storm or fire damage insurance claims can similarly be substantiated.

chartered building surveyor wokingham  

Shallow foundations exposed on a subsidence investigation 

     chartered building surveyor
                   

                 RICS Subsidence Consumer Guide Click Here

Expert Witness Reports

An expert witness must, above all else, have expertise in their subject area and Chartered Surveyors acting as expert witnesses must do so in accordance with the current RICS practice statement and guidance note, a copy of which is available on request.  The primary duty of an expert witness is to the Court or Tribunal, not to the Client or person instructing him.  Any expert evidence provided must be independent, unbiased and impartial, should state the main facts and assumptions on which it is based and should not omit material facts that might be relevant to the conclusions.

Daniels & Associates will only accept instructions to act as an expert witness in areas where they can demonstrate high standards of competence.  This would apply to most of the fields outlined above, given that competence is based on knowledge and experience gained over many years in these various areas of work.  Carefully written and reasoned reports are prepared to assist Clients, Solicitors or the Court to resolve disputes, quantify costs and make recommendations.
 

Schedules of Dilapidation

As an occupier, your liability for dilapidations at the end of the lease, or at any time during it, may be significant. Equally, from a Landlord’s perspective, a Tenant’s failure to look after the property they occupy can damage the value of your asset. We act for Landlords as well as Tenants in assessing, costing, negotiating and agreeing dilapidations claims. The covenants in the lease are carefully examined, as are the demised premises, a schedule of dilapidations is prepared to record any breaches of covenant and loss assessed, all in accordance with the latest RICS guidance notes and the Civil Procedure Rules.

 

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