Common defects surveyors encounter in Victorian and Edwardian properties

Ian Rock, Director, Zennor Consultants Ltd

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Abstract: The case study chosen to illustrate this paper provides a clear example of the complexities involved in accurately assessing the causes of defects in buildings of the Victorian and Edwardian period. At a time when the surveying profession is evolving to make best use of IT tools, there is a danger that our understanding of survey fundamentals becomes overshadowed by the adoption of seductive technologies and widespread ‘surveying by app’ and use of pre-programmed text. There is a consequent danger that over-simplistic assessment will result in poor quality advice with increased potential for disputes and claims. This paper proposes that practitioners may benefit from the adoption of a simple ‘root cause‘ system, both as an aid to identifying the true causes of defects and to enhance client communication.


Keywords: Victorian houses, defects, conservation, damp, movement


Ian Rock is Director of Zennor Consultants Ltd and of the residential surveying website He is the author of eight popular Haynes Manuals including The Victorian and Edwardian House Manual (first published 2007, second edition 2015) and is a regular contributor to property magazines such as Period Living and Homebuilding and Renovating. He began renovating Victorian houses in the late 1980s before qualifying as a chartered surveyor in 1993.

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