Snagging and inspection essentials

Snagging ExpertDouglas Ralph, CPI, CEO, Snag & Inspect

Of late, most home buyers and real estate investors have begun to appreciate the need for thoroughness when it comes to examining the product one intends to buy. As it is, the same attention and minute examination one pays to the technological and mechanical details of a car one would like to own should be applied to buying property.

Douglas Ralph of Snag & Inspect discusses some nagging snagging concerns.

Difference in snagging involving residential and commercial units

Residential properties are, of course, more about living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms while commercial properties are more about workspaces. It is important to keep in mind the function of the property when inspecting. The materials used for different areas of a house should be appropriate for their purpose. For example, electrical fixtures in bathrooms should be waterproofed. For commercial spaces, typical offices are straightforward, but businesses which need provision for various equipment need additional consideration.

The fundamental principles are the same – protection from health and safety risks, protection of investments. When it comes to importance, we cannot say that one type of inspection is more important than the other. Both residential and commercial properties need to be free of health and safety risks.

The size of the property and available facilities are often the most telling factors when considering the difficulty of the inspection. Larger properties, whether residential or commercial, take more time to inspect. They are usually equipped with more complex systems and additional facilities.

Residential properties and commercial properties have their own nuances. Some inspections, either for residential or commercial properties, are more challenging than others because of the uniqueness of the situation.

All properties should be thoroughly inspected. Villas, apartments, offices, pools, warehouses and en-tire buildings should be inspected to ensure maximum protection.

Common types of faults found in UAE property

• Waterproofing of bathrooms and other wet areas. Poor waterproofing practices are seen in the UAE, leading to water damage that could result in mold and moisture problems, which are both health and property hazards

• Electrical systems. It is not unusual to find electrical systems which are wired in a way that is not com-pliant with UAE codes

• Fire systems in complete buildings. It is critical to ensure that all fire systems, including fire stopping, fire alarm, firefighting, fire doors, sprinklers and emergency/exit lights, are fully operational to eliminate havoc in the event of fire

Swimming pools in villas. Some swimming pools only have a single suction water return line at the bottom of the pool. This is a dangerous condition and a code violation as the code requires two return drain points. This is also a potential safety risk as it could lead to entrapment and drowning if a swim-mer’s body, limbs or hair becomes entrapped in a drain because of the excessive suction power of the circulation pump

• Improper commissioning of building systems, particularly the air-conditioning system that includes compromised air flow that could lead to moisture damages, thus, resulting in mold growth

• Poor installation of thermal insulation could lead to higher energy bills and a faster rate of degrada-tion due to corrosion of pipes, fittings and fixtures caused by condensation

Aspects buyers should consider due to specific weather conditions

Keeping in mind the extreme heat, corrosiveness and humidity, property buyers should ensure that the house or office they are looking to buy has minimal air leaks, proper HVAC systems and components that can withstand the extreme temperatures in the region. Waterproofing is often ne-glected, but many properties are prone to moisture and water leak problems. Waterproofing is important as it prevents damage and early deterioration. Properly-working fire safety systems are a must anywhere.

Points one must pay most attention to:

*Issues which relate to the health and safety of the inhabitants

- fire safety, building integrity, proper wiring and air quality

- when children are present, be on the lookout for sharp corners on glass and steel barriers

*Issues which affect comfort and aesthetics

- check for paint discoloration which could be a matter of aesthetics or a sign of moisture issues

- windows and doors that creak, among others

Source: Claire Dangalan, Special to Freehold


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