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John Martin has now retired.
We have enjoyed our many years of survey and valuation work for our clients, but are taking no more business.

Are you RICS qualified?

Sometimes you may be asked for a valuation from a RICS qualified surveyor. Our surveyors are RICS qualified, with many years of experience after qualifying.

The terms:

FRICS: Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
MRICS: Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

The qualification is the same, and either set of letters is acceptable for most purposes.

How do we know we will get an ethical, thorough job?

As well as being regulated by the RICS, our firm belongs to "Buy With Confidence", a list of ethical traders, maintained by South Gloucestershire Council's Trading Standards Department. 70% of our work comes from recommendations or from past clients returning -- we rely on our reputation and will not let you down.

Will you look at the roof?

When carrying out a Valuation or RICS Condition Report, the surveyor will carry out a "head and shoulders" inspection of the roof void, from the loft hatch.

In a HomeBuyer Survey or Building Survey, if there is a loft hatch, our surveyor will always go into the roof void, to inspect the timbers at close quarters. Comment can be made on the condition of the roof itself, and also underlining felt, insulation, cold water tanks, etc. Some time is spent in this area, as the roof void also gives clues about other aspects of the property, such as the type and condition of electrical wiring, which is only usually exposed in this part of the house.

If there is no loft hatch, the report will tell you this, and the condition of a roof will be ascertained from an inspection of the outside. The outside of the roof is usually examined with the help of binoculars, which the surveyors carry as part of their kit. If there is a flat roof at first floor level, this might be used for closer inspection of a higher roof. If there is a velux window, giving access to a valley in a roof, the surveyor will, if possible, go out of this, into the valley, for a close inspection of the whole roof.

Do you check the drains?

In a Valuation or RICS Condition Report, drain covers are not normally lifted. The ground near to a drain run will be examined for any undulation or damage, which may indicate a problem with the drains.

During a HomeBuyer Survey or Building Survey, if there is a drain cover within the bounds of the property being inspected, it will be lifted and water run through to check for delays (blockages). The ground will be examined, and any possible problem pointed out (e.g. trees close to the drain run, cracked or sunken path over a drain run, etc.)

What if I have special needs?

Tell us. If you are disabled, or simply planning a conservatory off the dining room -- whatever your requirement, it is always helpful to tell the surveyor before his inspection, so he can consider this as he goes round.

John Martin Surveyors is a member of the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association, whose motto is, "Putting the Client first". Your needs, as clients, are paramount, so do not be afraid to tell us about them.

What can you provide that larger, corporate surveyors do not?

We pride ourselves on local knowledge and individual attention to our clients. The most important thing is that you know what you are committing yourself to in purchasing a property. If you would like the surveyor to talk through his findings with you, he will. If you don't understand anything, he will explain in simple terms. If, in six months' time, you get round to doing some work recommended in the survey and you find that you don't actually understand what you need to do, phone us. We will remember you, talk to you, visit to explain on-site if necessary.

In addition, we only carry out one Survey a day, so if the Surveyor finds something that needs more time and attention, he can stay longer -- all day, if necessary, without pressures to move on to the next job.

Can I come along?

Yes, of course. However, any Survey, even on the smallest property, takes several hours. You would not want to hang around for this length of time, nor would the present owner want you there for that long. We usually advise that you call in towards the end of the inspection. By that time, the Surveyor will have had a chance to look thoroughly at the Property and will be able to take you round, explaining his findings to you. You will still get a thorough written report a few days later, to reinforce what you have been shown.

I am buying a flat in an old, Grade II Listed building. The flat looks in quite good condition. What sort of Survey do I need?

When inspecting a flat for a prospective purchaser, it is difficult for the surveyor to look at the whole building, which will usually contain other, private, occupied flats. Sometimes the loft hatch is in another flat, and he cannot get access to the inside of the roof. Sometimes there may be a private rear garden, and close access to an external wall is not possible. All we say is that, if it is at all possible, we will look at it. However, because there are limitations, we do not offer Building Surveys on flats, as we feel the higher price tag is not justified. If you are buying an older, even Listed, flat, we will be happy to carry out a HomeBuyer Survey for you, and are confident that you will not be disappointed with the Survey you receive.

Why do you charge VAT?

Any business that takes in more than 85,000 in a year has to charge VAT on behalf of the Government. Any business taking less than this amount in a year does not have to be VAT registered, and does not have to charge VAT. For instance, a new firm setting up will not have to charge VAT until the takings reach this figure.

Do you ever use a thermal imaging camera?

Yes -- these are very useful to find areas lacking in insulation that will be cold in winter or hot in summer, particularly in areas like loft bedrooms.

We also use them to assess the efficiency of under-floor heating.

We do not search for ghosts using thermal imaging.

How can I reduce condensation and black-spot mould?

The 5 most common locations of black-spot mould are:
  1. Sloping ceiling areas in bedrooms,
  2. Around windows and door reveals, especially where walls are dry-lined with plasterboard,
  3. Bathroom and shower room ceilings,
  4. Behind furniture against outside walls,
  5. On leather furniture close to outside walls, and on clothes in wardrobes on outside walls.


The solution for condensation can be remembered using the initials H.I.V -- heat, insulate, ventilate:
  • Improve the warmth in the room
  • Improve the insulation of the walls and ceilings
  • Improve the ventilation of the room