Structural surveys of listed and timber-framed buildings

I'm buying a listed house that is part 17thC timber frame and part 20thC imitation timber frame. Previous experiences with surveyors reports have been that they tend to "state the bleedin' obvious" (to quote Monty Python, I think) and don't contain much of any great value that wouldn't be apparent to anyone with more than 2 brain cells and a bit of DIY nouse. However, this is the first time I've ventured into listed timber frames so I feel the need to invest some money in someone else's expertise. Should I just request a "structural survey" and see what arrives, or get them to focus on certain parts or ... ? All factual advice gratefully received.
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On 08/02/2017 22:35, snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote:

If my understanding is correct, a structural survey is not really an off the shelf package, but would be something you need to discuss in detail with the surveyor to agree what tests would be appropriate and also relevant to what you want to find out.
You may find a simple valuation survey with some agreed added extras is actually all you need.
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Some people say that if you contact English Heritage or even the local council they may have lists of companies with expertise in these kinds of buildings. A bit of a warning though, if anything has been done to the property that contravenes regulations already, don't touch it with several barge p poles unless you are prepared to rebuild or kknock things down. Brian
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On 08/02/2017 23:30, John Rumm wrote:

Often a valuation survey is conducted by someone who never leaves the office, or spends a couple of minutes in a drive by. The valuation is usually requested by the lender who just needs the bit of paper saying that they stand a chance of getting their money back if the lender defaults.
Possibly what you need with a listed building, presumably of some age, is a structural survey to say that large crack is normal and stable or the 2 foot drop from one end of the room to the other is long standing and nothing to worry about.
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On 10/02/2017 17:14, alan_m wrote:

Indeed, that is why I said with "agreed added extras". I.e. rather than going for a packaged survey, customise one. Since you probably need a valuation anyway for a mortgage lebder, you can start with that as a baseline and then instruct the surveyor as to what bits in particular you want reports on. He can then come up with a price that hopefully does not include him telling you stuff you can assess for yourself.

Indeed. When I bought my current place, I told the surveyor to not bother spending any time looking at plumbing, or electrics, and that I was not interested in minor "damp" issues, but I did want a report on any main structural issues, dry rot etc.
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On 11/02/2017 01:29, John Rumm wrote:

Ours said "The wiring needs urgent attention". So we scheduled in a rewire before we moved in. Bastard builder didn't start on time, so we ended up living in the mess :(
Urgent meant rubber wiring in the thatch...
We've uncovered bodges over 100 years old (should have changed the sole plate when they rebuilt that wall...)
And yet finally I have a house that I want to live in. That I like to look at. Yes, it's cost a fair bit to sort out (and we're not finished yet... 3 years in...) and it's cost me a fair few bruises on the head.
But I hope to leave here in a box. I never felt like that ever before.
Andy
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On Wednesday, 8 February 2017 22:35:45 UTC, snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote:

A "structural survey" from a surveyor is pretty pointless and will actually contain not much information about the structural timber frame.
If you are worried about the structural framework then get a report from a *structural engineer* experieced in timber frame. But the 17th C stuff is probably okay if it's stayed up this long and will probably outlast the 20th C.
Owain
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On 09/02/17 07:27, snipped-for-privacy@gowanhill.com wrote:

Yes. It will be so full of maybes and mights you might as well toss a coin.

No, you cannot say that. It could be finally about to collapse from wet rot. Mine was. Only the plaster held it up. Fortunately it wasn't listed so I ended up knocking it down and starting over.
what you are looking for is damp in the timbers mainly. If there is any you have serious expense in terms of getting some form of damp proofing into the structure. To sort out the rising damp, and huge amounts of remedial work if the rains getting in from higher.
A work that needs doing immediately and will cost three arms and two legs if it's listed.
Unless its really cheap, if there is any damp in the listed part, walk away NOW.

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On 09/02/2017 08:47, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

I think you will find he can...
If its here now, then it outlasted the 20th C!
(how far it gets into the 21st is a different matter ;-)
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

    I'd say just run away from any listed building!
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On Thu, 9 Feb 2017 17:29:53 +0000, Capitol wrote:

Yes, why put yourself at risk for major costs and onerous conditions just to boast of a listed home?
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On 10/02/17 12:23, mechanic wrote:

Because a listed home can be bought in a location at well below market price.
IF you know what you are doing, it can be a good investment especially for a competent DIY er
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Because you may just happen to fall in love with it?
I'm sure it would be much easier if everyone was happy living in little boxes made out of ticky tacky.
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On Wednesday, 8 February 2017 22:35:45 UTC, snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote:

e.

Forget these fucked up old "half timber/black & white" buildings. The appearance you see nowadays is a Victorian fad.
I know several people who have bought similar. Once. Old timber frame houses have virtually all been mucked about with over the years and are totally fucked. Hidden damage is easily disguised at time of sale but soon manifests itself .
One example is replacing the mud and straw with bricks which are far too he avy and damage the structure. Such places are also very draughty as the timber moves according to the wea ther. Or putting tiled roofs on places that were thatched.
Best bet is to build a new one. There are plenty of firms out there using F rench oak. The frogs have a tradition of growing oak trees in special conditions so yo u can get suitable timber.
A modern oak framed building is far superior to the old crap. And you don't get busybodies telling you what you can and can't do.
Also easy to sell to dozy buggers who want to live in Lala Land. Not cheap, needs a good location to make it worthwhile. A medium sized one costs around £60,000 for the oak frame alone.
Eg:- http://www.borderoak.com/
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On 08/02/17 22:35, snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote:

A surveyor who specialises in listed buildings may be a good idea, or at least a local surveyor who is familiar with the building type and any local conditions.
Some surveyors offer something between a full structural survey and the useless 'homebuyers report': I had a 'Main Structure Survey' a year ago.
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TBH, my advice is "Don't".

It's worth getting in touch with the The Listed Property Owners Club;
https://www.lpoc.co.uk/
They can recommend specialist surveyors, conveyancers and tradespeople.
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On 08/02/2017 22:35, snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote:

The survey results were very "interesting" ... I've decided to "run away bravely", to quote MontyP
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On 20/02/2017 23:50, snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote:

What kind of survey did you get in the end? What was so interesting?
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On 21/02/2017 10:19, John Rumm wrote:

I went to a specialist surveyor who, amongst other things, found a lot of rot in the structural timbers and evidence of attempted cover-ups. I'd already spotted several examples of bodged DIY (I've got high standards) but must have been blinded by the beauty of the building (and a bit of lust) to miss some of the things that the surveyor found. It was a long list. I've wasted a lot of time on this house but am considerably wiser and only slightly poorer ... but I'm much better prepared for the next one. The hunt continues.
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On 21/02/17 10:57, snipped-for-privacy@thanks.com wrote:

I did the same. My 'surveyor' was actually a friend who worked in conservation for the national trust.
I asked 'how much to set it right' He said '£10,000 per room'
They wanted £130k. I reckoned sorted it was worth £160k. I took away £80k from that and offered them £80k.' That won't even cover our mortgage'.
I walked away.,..
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