Definitions of Surveys

There are many different types of surveys and investigations for buildings and the Construction Industry Council (CIC) has produced a useful document defining the different types.  The term “structural survey” although widely used should be avoided as it is not well defined and can lead to confusion as to what is included or excluded.  A link to the document is included below.

Definitions of Surveys

Retaining Wall in progress at Eastcombe, Stroud

retaining wall
Retaining walls in Eastcombe, Stroud

Retaining wall
Retaining Wall










Progress in Eastcombe, Stroud with the construction of large retaining walls.  The walls are on a steeply sloping site with the lower level  incorporated into an extension to a house and the upper level forming a terrace accessed from the new first floor.  Constructed from Stepoc hollow blocks with reinforcement they can be installed quickly without the need for shuttering.

The architect is Design for Living and the contractor is InShape Stroud.

Photovoltaic Roof Panels on Roof Structures

An alert was issued recently by CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural safety) regarding the fixing of photovoltaic cells onto existing roofs.

What can potentially happen?

The panels add weight to the roof which when added to snow and wind loading can bring the capacity of the roof to its capacity.

If the panels are not properly fixed, they can be blown off through wind suction loads.

Under snow loading, a sudden thaw on top of the smooth surface of the panel can lead to snow suddenly sliding off and causing injury to persons below.

What should you do?

The alterations to the roof form an alteration to the structure and needs to be assessed.

The effect of the additional weight and all of the fixings should be assessed by a suitably qualified person. This should be a Chartered Structural Engineer or in England and Wales this could also be somebody under a Competent Persons Scheme.

A full copy of the report is available here.