Life of a Building Surveyor – Part 5

Posted by on Sep 10, 2018 in Building Surveying

Life of a Building Surveyor – Part 5

When working beyond the central belt, it is not uncommon to find yourself passing large country estates. These estates and the buildings within are shining examples of Scotland’s architecture and can be well maintained with the grounds groomed to perfection. In contrast to these buildings of grandeur, other historic, traditional buildings within rural areas have been left to deteriorate into a dilapidated condition. This can be due to their purpose now being obsolete or that the owner simply does not have the capital to maintain and modernise them.

My latest trip into the Highlands took me to a dilapidated steading which had not been maintained or used for any meaningful purpose for what appeared to be decades. Thankfully, the steading’s new owners have real ambition for both the steading and former hotel to which the steading is annexed.

Whilst GLM have been engaged for the full refurbishment of all buildings on the site, my personal brief is to make the structure of two of the larger buildings at the steading structurally sound and watertight before the onset of the winter weather. This will allow the interior works to continue on the building through winter before moving onto other buildings in the new year.

At first glance the steading appeared beyond repair, but upon closer inspection much of it can be saved and materials salvaged to reuse in the works. It is easy to be drawn into the dramatic deterioration, such as the collapse of some of the roofs and missing slates and the untrained eye may think all buildings on this site are beyond saving. However, as a surveyor you are trained to take a patient and methodical approach to such buildings. Whilst it is undeniable some roofs and walls require a full rebuild, much of the steading’s underlying structure is in excellent condition considering its neglect. Several roof slates are loose and have slipped, but it is likely that patch repairs will be sufficient to prolong the roof’s life for at least another 10 years. Once the debris has been cleared and repairs have been undertaken including the re-bedding of stones, repointing of stone walling, new gutters and rain water pipes the site will be unrecognisable from its current condition.

A surveyor’s advice would always be to regularly maintain a building to prevent it deteriorating. However, getting the right advice if your building does fall into disrepair is crucial and could save you valuable time and money.

Neil Dickson

Building Surveyor

Check back later in September for the final instalment in the series