A Surveyor's Guide to Roof Issues

When undertaking surveys on residential and commercial properties, our clients often have concerns regarding roofs. This blog aims to highlight the common issues relating to roofs and what clients should do in the event that roof repair work is required at the property concerned.

What issues can be found with roofs?

Issues with roofs can manifest in a number of other internal issues in a property – including water damage and leaking, and even visible gaps of light coming through into the loft area of a property.

Signs that may be visible from the exterior of a property include damaged roof tiles, missing roof tiles, insecure guttering, a sagging roof or a collection of algae, moss or mould. Other signs, that may not be visible without a closer inspection of the property include granules in guttering and sitting water.

Flat roofs – often used on small extensions and garages – are also common culprits for issues. If your survey highlights considerable wear and tear you’ll need to get it replaced by a specialist. Flat roofs are prone to leaks, and depending on the way the roof was constructed, it can be difficult to identify the exact location of the leak, which may necessitate an entire re-roof.

What should I do if a residential survey identifies roof issues?

Finding out that the house you are keen to buy needs roofing work can be disappointing. If the extent of the disrepair is significant, the buyer may need to consider setting aside funds to undertake works when they move into the property. It may be possible to ask the vendor for a discount on the sale price to account for this, but any reduction will be entirely at the vendor’s discretion.

In many cases, it may be that minor works can be undertaken to extend the life of an existing roof. A survey will usually identify the potential remaining lifespan of a roof and when it is likely to need replacing.

Who is responsible for roof issues in commercial properties?

The responsibility for maintaining the roof of a commercial property may vary depending on the nature of the building (whether it is shared with other tenants) and the contents of the lease relating to repair and upkeep obligations.

Arranging for a roof survey is always advisable for businesses taking up tenancies on standalone commercial properties where they are responsible for upkeep and repair of the whole property. Some landlords may agree to contribute to the cost of roof repairs – particularly if substantial work is required. However, this is not a given.

If purchasing a commercial property, having knowledge of the condition of the property’s roof is preferable. A pre-acquisition survey can identify any potential or existing issues with roofing and can give an idea of the potential likelihood and cost of repairs.

The majority of roof issues will be identified by Chartered Surveyors instructed to carry out survey reports at properties, including RICS Home Survey Reports and Building Survey Reports on residential properties and Pre-Lease Assessments, Pre-Acquisition Surveys and Schedules of Condition on commercial properties. In some cases, where roof issues are initially identified, a further full roof survey, sometimes requiring the hire of a cherry picker for closer inspection, may be recommended.

To speak to us about arranging a survey on a property, please get in touch.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: 7 Ferry Road, Office Park, Preston, PR2 2YH.