Blakemore Walker

Chartered Surveyors & Legal Consultants in North Spain

Tel : (0034) 985 556 142

UK : 07752 686 936









In Spain the methods of construction and associated building standards have varied enormously over past years. There are many properties in Spain that have been constructed without permission or regulation. We always advise our clients to arrange a survey prior to committing to a purchase or signing a contract. A survey can save the client both time and money and provides peace of mind. It can also be used as a negotiating tool.


A survey can be carried out of land and buildings to suit your requirements whether it be for new or second-hand properties, new build projects or the refurbishment/alteration of existing buildings.

Building surveys are applicable for both purchase and lease, building design and contract administration, party walls, dilapidations, and diagnosing building defects such as subsidence, damp and rot etc. A survey may also involve the management, monitoring and assessment of the environment in the context of land, property and construction.

Think of surveys as a kind of health check for your prospective home or investment. If you intend to buy, have a survey done and carefully consider its results before entering into a contract. It could save you money. Depending on the seriousness of any structural problems you could try to re-negotiate the sale price to reflect the cost of any necessary repairs in your offer, or decide not to buy the property at all.

Surveys for the residential sector are usually categorized as follows: Valuation: residential property purchase surveys. Building: residential building surveys. Insurance: reinstatement costs for insurance purposes.

Valuation Survey (a valuation is not a survey)
A valuation is carried out for a purchaser and it will simply provide a current market view of the value of the property taking into account factors such as location, condition and type of property. Also, a valuation can be carried out on behalf of your mortgage lender to spot anything that affects the security of your mortgage lender’s loan. A valuation will show whether the property is worth the amount that is being paid for it.

Building Survey
A building survey is a comprehensive inspection suitable for all properties but especially for older properties, any building constructed in an unusual way regardless of its age, properties you are planning to renovate or alter in any way or properties that already have alterations.

A building survey is a detailed examination of all accessible parts of a property and can be tailor-made to suit your individual needs and concerns. A building survey includes details of:
· Major and minor faults
· The implications of any possible faults and the possible cost of repairs
· Results of any testing of walls for dampness
· Comments on damage to timbers including woodworm or rot
· Comments on the existence and condition of damp-proofing, insulation and drainage
· Extensive technical information on the construction of the property and details about material used
· Information on the location
· Recommendations for any further special inspections

Remember: A building survey does not include a valuation. Although your surveyor can provide a separate valuation report if you need it.

It is often necessary to strengthen the base of existing stone walls to ensure the long term integrity of the building remains.
In this case strengthening works to the foundations have been carried out to allow for future redevelpoment of the structure which will provide for increased loading to the walls. When contructed over 150 years ago this increased loading was not envisaged and often arises due to the requirements of the building following resoration for modern use.
Stone walls are usually approximately 70 cm wide at the base and the stone utilised will vary from region to region. The facing stones (the ones seen on the outside) are larger towards the base and around the window openings. In many solid stone walls the infill material, which is used between the facing stones, is more rubble like. Stone walls are strong as long as they are maintained properly and to ensure continued strength repointing must be carried out as part of a regular maintenance programme.
In many cases stones walls will start to fail due to lack of maintenance and, or unstable foundations although the former scenario is the more common.
The roof also plays an important part in the stability of stone walls and there are several solutions for increasing stability when carrying out restoration work.

All so often in northern Spain older stone properties have to be treated with care when renovation is undertaken. In this example the stone wall will be made secure when a new roof is constructed.

In the meantime a reinforcing structure has been put in place to ensure the existing stone wall does not collapse.

Solid stone walls require continual maintenance to avoid deterioration due to weathering. Once the weathering process starts stone walls can deteriorate quite quickly and dampness levels will rise rapidly.

© Blakemore Walker 2004