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Full Condition Survey of a University Hall Building: Case Study

Brief: Carry out a full structural survey to highlight key issues and indicate costs for repairs and maintenance.

Property: University college building and chapel, dating from the early 19th century.

Instructed by: The trust that owns the building.

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Project specification

  • The building comprised a basement storey and five other storeys, with two rear wings. The southern wing including a chapel. The top floor accommodation was sited within the mansard roof.
  • The building contained spaces for teaching, meeting, library, worship, dining and sleeping.
  • Our client was aware that the building was in need of repairs. They asked us to carry out a structural survey to highlight key issues and indicative costs of repair.
  • Two of our surveyors attended the site to ensure that we could get the required information to the client in a timely manner.
University hall condition survey

Key survey findings

  • As our client had expected, several areas of the property needed work.
  • Although the overall costs of all the works was estimated to be over a quarter of a million pounds, we were able to help our client prioritise the works and budget repairs over several years.
  • In the immediate term, the windows to the property were clearly in need of significant repair, renewal of putty and thorough preparation and redecoration. We suggested setting aside a provisional sum of £60,000 for repairs and redecoration works. An additional £30,000 was likely to be needed for access scaffolding.
    • Other items that needed addressing immediately included loose masonry, a fire door that did not shut, a corroding steel staircase and detached railings.
  • The flat roof was also identified as an area of concern.
    • Whilst in the medium term the flat roof would need replacing (est. £70,000), in general the condition of the roof was commensurate with its age. Its lifespan could be increased slightly by carrying out repairs to the flashings at the roof perimeter; we recommended doing this immediately to prevent water ingress, and suggested setting aside a provisional sum of £3500 for this work.
  • In the longer term, the client would need to upgrade the kitchen areas of the property. We suggested setting aside £50,000 for these works.
  • We were also able to help the client plan the regular maintenance required to keep the property at a high standard.
    • Although dampness to the internal faces of the external and party walls was evident, we were of the opinion that damp-proofing would be extensively costly. Therefore, we recommended that periodic repairs and decoration works should be carried out on a biannual basis, costing in the region of £2,500.
    • To keep the electrical supply in good condition, inspections should be carried out every 5 years by a qualified and competent electrician. Costs for the inspections and associated works should be budgeted at around £7500.
    • Loose plaster and cracking is commensurate of a building of this type of construction and age. Further additions constructed in differing materials can also cause minor settlement and thermal cracking, therefore we were of the opinion that a budget of £2,000 should be set aside annually for repair and redecoration works to the walls and ceilings.
window defects
flat roof defects

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