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Defect Inspections

Defects in property, whether they are residential, commercial or public, are surprisingly common and widespread. Some defects can be categorised as minor, whereas some are definitely major in nature.


A good example would be an ageing flat roof. Initially, it may only let in a small amount of water and not cause too much damage. As time goes on, if left unchecked, water damage will occur to any insulation present, rendering it useless. Structural timbers could become dangerously wet; under such conditions wet or dry rot have the potential to take hold. Dry rot particularly will spread, not just across any timber it finds, but through masonry and plaster, causing yet more damage which often goes unnoticed. Eventually, the building's structural integrity will be compromised and structural failure could occur. Remedial costs in the end could be unnecessarily high.


Typical defects can include:


  • Rising damp.

  • Penetrating damp.

  • Mould growth.

  • Condensation.

  • Missing or incomplete thermal insulation.

  • Dry rot in timber.

  • Wet rot in timber.

  • Woodworm in timber.

  • Structural movement to foundations.

  • Structural movement to load-bearing walls, floors and roofs.

  • Defective roofing.

  • Defective brickwork.

  • Salt contamination to walls and floors.

  • Defective underground drainage systems.

  • Cavity wall tie failure.

  • Cut edge corrosion to metal roofing systems.

External Detailing

Water is both a life-giving substance and for the Chartered Building Surveyor, a constant source of work! It is truly amazing and will, given the chance, find its way into a building through a variety of ways. The image on the left shows a solid brick parapet wall that is problematic. Amongst the issues noted by us were:

  • A coping stone with insufficient overhang.

  • We suspected no damp proof course existed below copings.

  • Broken flashing upstand material.

  • Incorrect flashing upstand material.

We were not too surprised to find penetrating dampness below the area, when we undertook our internal roof void inspection.


Many people are shocked to know that a significant number of defects we note can be traced back to faulty rainwater goods and a lack of maintenance. In the image on the left, staining is evident to the wall, which in this case is a solid brick wall made up in 'soft reds'. We noted that the staining was well above the wall damp proof course, and there was also vegetative growth at the base of the pipe. You can clearly see the damp proof course, which is stepped and has a thicker grey band. This damp proof course proved to be in a traditional two course slate. It really was not too surprising to find dampness internally corresponding with this area. We suspected that the leaking pipe had been faulty for some time.

Defect Inspection
Cavity Wall Inspections

The image on the left represents an inspection of a solid wall. But how can that be, it has a cavity and a wall tie? Well, the answer is that a previous surveyor had seen it externally only and as the wall was in a solid brick bond (Flemish bond), he had wrongly assumed that it had to be a solid wall. We used rigid cavity cameras to establish:

  • Where walls were cavity construction.

  • The presence and condition of wall ties.

  • The presence and extent of cavity insulation.

  • The presence of any debris which could bridge the cavity.

  • Any debris build up that could bridge damp proof courses.

We do require permission to drill some small holes into the wall.

Building Thermography

Richard Bedford is a Certified Thermographer and we use thermography very successfully to identify 'hidden' defects and issues not apparent to the naked eye. In many ways it is a bad building contractor's worst nightmare, as many previously unknown issues can (in experienced hands) become evident immediately. Typical examples of issues discovered by us using thermography include; missing/incomplete thermal insulation, rising and penetrating damp, defective heating components and air leakage (infiltration & exfiltration).  The image on the left shows air infiltration (in purple) next to a boxed-in soil stack. Also of interest, is the back wall construction in blockwork, and also the vertical light lines which are service conduits embedded within the wall plaster. None of this would be apparent visually.

We use the latest inspection techniques and equipment, including drones, hygrometers, thermal imaging cameras, rigid cavity endoscopes and high-elevation camera poles, along with 36 years' experience to inspect, identify and report on building defects.

We are able to undertake inspections on most building types, including residential, commercial, educational and institutional buildings, and as commercially licenced and insured drone operators with our own fleet of drones, we can inspect and report on any high level inaccessible or fragile area.


Our bespoke reports will tell you in detail, and plain English, what is wrong, the severity and what will happen if left to progress.


Your property or investment could currently be compromised, and not just by issues you may be aware of, but more worryingly, issues you are not. 


If you are a landlord you may have a duty to protect your tenants, or if a homeowner, you may just want your home to be a safe and healthy place to live in.


Please contact us for more information on any of the above as we would be happy to have an informal chat with you in the first instance.

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