As if the outright purchase of a property isn’t costly enough, but then lenders insist that a number of additional homebuyer reports and related surveys are completed to safeguard any investment. The majority of which are for things that ‘general joe-blogs’ knows little, or nothing about, or would be deemed to have little relevance to the actual sale of a property.
Regardless of which camp you reside, the reality is that these assessments predominantly look at the physical performance of certain variables, and how they may positively or negatively impact on the property itself; architectural, structural, drainage, and energy, to name just a few.
Interestingly, the outcome if adjudged to be unsatisfactory doesn’t necessarily require any further action, or prevent any potential transaction taking place, which brings in to question the validity of the checks in the first place.
All well and good, but this becomes particularly unnerving when potentially harmful substances are identified, that could have catastrophic effects longer-term and prove costly to remove.
An estimated 14 million homes in the UK were built when Asbestos was most commonly being used as a building material, with experts suggesting those built before the year 2000 will have an 80% chance of featuring the contaminated material in question.
While most forms of Asbestos if undisturbed won’t pose any health threat, the very real statistics linked to Airborne Asbestos fibres which are directly related with ‘Abestosis’ and ‘Mesothelioma’ disease, suggest that something needs to change quickly.
One company that is proactively challenging to change such directive, is construction business Mick George Ltd. Having engaged a number of experts in the field, they are pushing for regulators to make Asbestos surveys compulsory, when purchasing a property.
The move coincides with the launch of an online residential survey service for Estate Agents, Conveyancers and members of the public who may be looking to buy, or are living in, homes built before the Year 2000.
Their justification for doing so is three-fold, but all revolve around the notion of protection in one form or another.
For the homeowner, clearly there are obvious health benefits, but in addition, it prevents ‘hidden’ unexpected costs to overcome any findings, appearing at a later date.
Subsequently, buying or selling prices will be reflective of any follow up works to be conducted, reducing the likelihood of jeopardising ‘sale chains’, in what remains a turbulent financial climate, which can only be a positive for estate agents and lenders.
Liz Darlison, Director of Services and Consultant Nurse at Mesothelioma UK said: ‘’The primary concern of Mesothelioma UK is to improve access to treatment and care for those affected by Asbestos related Cancer, but also to invest in initiatives that will aid prevention. One of the reasons we are delighted to be working in partnership with Mick George Ltd is due to their proactive approach, and dedication to achieving an end-goal similar to ourselves’’.
Liz Darlison Continued: ‘’This initiative is a great example of that. Sadly very low levels of exposure to asbestos can be fatal; the home is one of the more prevalent areas that large numbers of people could be exposed to contaminated materials, so pin-pointing the threat at the earliest opportunity could drastically help with prevention. There are a number of reports on houses that are mandatory and given the devastating effect asbestos can have it would make sense for Asbestos surveys to follow suit.’’