Whether you’re buying a private or commercial property, you want to be sure that everyone inside will be safe. There are a thousand ways that buildings could be or become unsafe; so before you buy, there are a few vital tests and surveys that should be run to eliminate these issues, and to assure your safety.
Here are the 3 essential tests you should run before committing to buying a property, especially if it is 20 years old or more.
1. Asbestos Testing
The most important survey that needs to be conducted is asbestos testing, especially if you plan to extend or change the building in any way. Any property built before 2003 may still contain deadly asbestos –shockingly, buildings that were erected just 15 years ago could still contain it.
Since then, it’s been discovered that the microscopic, naturally-occurring fibers that make up asbestos are in fact extremely hazardous when breathed in. The material was used prolifically in construction between 1930 and the 1980s for its amazing insulation properties, but bans were implemented across the world between the 1990s and early 2000s after it was linked to cancer.
Asbestos causes no health risks until it is disturbed; e.g. if you decide to put a skylight in the roof of a property insulated with asbestos materials. Even breathing in small amounts could cause health issues years down the line.
Protect your family or your staff and colleagues in a commercial property by commissioning a full asbestos test before you agree to buy. Contact asbestos experts at SERS to arrange a full inspection.
2. Electrical Installation Condition Report
Electrical Safety First, a UK charity, recently reported that two-thirds of homes bought since 2014 have not been checked for electrical safety. They say that homeowners mistakenly believe that their home survey includes checking the property’s wiring, but this is not so – which leaves the new owners open to a host of electrical hazards like shocks and fires.
ESF recommend that every prospective homeowner should get an Electrical Installation Condition Report, previously known as a periodic inspection report (PIR), produced for the property before buying; or even afterwards just to be safe. Not surveying a home’s wiring can also leave owners beholden to high energy bills if it is faulty.
This report is conducted quickly and won’t take much time out of your day. A qualified electrician will inspect your fuse box and check sockets, outlets, switches and fittings, to ensure everything is safe and compliant with up to date regulations and laws. They will then advise of any urgent remedial work to be done, such as any rewiring. This is hugely important to prevent dangerous accidents.
3. Foundation Inspection
Inspecting the foundation of the property is essential for ensuring there will be no slipping or subsidence. A licensed structural engineer will need to conduct this inspection, and will look for the following problems:
- Whether the foundation is performing its proper function
- If it is compliant with laws, building codes and regulations
- Are there any repairs or modifications needed?
A structural engineer has far more specialist knowledge in this area than a regular home inspector. While a home inspector may indeed check the property’s foundations, they won’t do the inspection as in-depth as is necessary to fully report on whether there are underlying issues that need to be urgently addressed.
As part of the report, the engineer will closely inspect any suspicious cracks and isolate any found; examine internal support beams; test the fit of doors and windows; look for mold, water damage and ventilation issues; and more. All of these things are integral to assuring that the structure of the home is intact – as a home or commercial building buyer, it is your duty to ensure the property is fit for inhabitants.
Contact a structural engineer today to get your foundation inspection underway as soon as possible.
Article Submitted By Community Writer