Does the surveyor check for any health and safety issues?
Yes! An important element of a pre-purchase survey is where the surveyor will note any health and safety issues found throughout the property. These may be issues which are in breach of fire safety regulations in the latest building standard, or they may be something in the property which poses a danger to people in it - like a loose piece of decking outside the back door!
Knowing these issues will 1: Help you make a decision on continuing with the sale or 2: Help you know what needs attention as soon as you purchase the property.
Health & Safety, and Building Regulation Issues
The list of possible issues here goes into the hundreds. Building regulations in Ireland are very heavy on fire safety and building regulations, and residential properties are no exception.
Gaps in Party in the Attic
This is usually visible in the attic space and usually involves a gap between the top of the wall and the tiles which leads into the neighbouring property. The presence of this gap makes it very easy for a fire to spread from one property to the other. For the last few decades, there should be no gaps between the party wall and roof.
This problem is fairly common in properties from the 80s and earlier and does pop up in some newer properties.
Missing Smoke or CO2 Detectors
This one is fairly straightforward. Every floor + the kitchen area should have a smoke detector and any room which has a solid fuel burning stove, fuel-burning boiler or fuel-burning cooker should also have a CO2 detector in place.
Regular Doors where Fire Doors Should Be
This one is very common in newer builds with more than 2 floors. Depending on the layout, fire doors may be needed leading out onto landings. In addition, doors leading to a kitchen should also be fire doors.
Older properties are exempt from some of these requirements.
Upstairs Windows Not Opening Fully
This is a more obscure one which a lot of people do not realise. Your upstairs windows should be functional as a fire escape. This means they are at a height where you can climb up to them and they open wide enough so that a person can fit out of them.
We regularly survey or snag newer properties where the widow is a bedroom is the wrong size or is prevented from opening fully. Or windows with locks - upstairs windows should not be lockable!
Bedrooms with No Fire Escape
For new and second-hand properties any "habitable space" (bedroom) should have a means of emergency exit. This means, like the example above, a window which is suitable for an emergency exit.
Unfortunately, there is a growing number of estate agents listing a property as a 3 or 4 bedroom house when one of the bedrooms only has a skylight.
This is not suitable as an exit. If you imagine a fire breaking out in the middle of the night and making its way to the landing, anyone in this room would be trapped. We, unfortunately, see quite a lot of these rooms being used as children's bedrooms and it is absolutely not acceptable that an estate agent would list this as a bedroom.
General Health & Safety Issues
In addition to the health and safety issues which are in breach of regulation, we also encounter a lot of general health and safety issues. These are things which may be relatively cheap to fix, and sometimes people just live with them. But if we have flagged any on the report, we strongly recommend they are addressed as soon as you get the keys to the property!
Some examples of these are...
Ah, decking, the symbol of the Celtic Tiger years! But unfortunately, a lot of people seem to have stopped taking care of their decking after the Celtic Tiger lost its roar... We regularly see untreated decking which is covered in moss and a slipping hazard, lose pieces of decking which could collapse or be a tripping hazard, or loose handrails around the deck.
Any of these issues should be addressed so that little children (or big adults) don't take an unnecessary trip to the emergency room
Loose Roof Tiles
Roof tiles are heavy! If one of these were to slip and hit someone in the head, the result could be very serious.
Although during a survey the surveyor observes the roof from ground level, they still do regularly spot loose roof tiles.
If this is the case, we strongly recommend getting a roofer up to fix the issue!
This one pops up occasionally! Stairs should have a minimum step depth and a maximum step height. If they don't, they are a health hazard!
Although not very cheap to fix. If this is the case we strongly recommend getting a new staircase measured up and fitted correctly. Especially if there will be any elderly or young people in the house.
Cracked Floor Tiles
Floor tiles can crack if you drop someone on them or if they had been badly installed. Regardless of the cause, cracked tiles present the same issue to bare human or pet feet!
Although finding similar tiles may be an issue, there are lots of creative ways to replace and repair broken tiles. If you want to prevent cuts on little feet, we recommend getting cracked tiles replaced.
These are just some of the more common health and safety issues we encounter. In reality, there are hundreds of potential issues that old and new properties can contain.
To be sure you are aware of them and to protect you and your family, it is vital that you get a pre-purchase house survey or snag list complete by a person qualified to conduct surveys.
At GetHouseSurvey.ie all of our surveyors are qualified, registered, experienced (minimum of 10 years) and carry their own insurance, so when you book with us, you are in safe hands!
To book your survey or snag list, just go to GetHouseSurvey.ie and click "Get Survey Now".