Surveyor negligence claims for Regents Street Disease

31st January 2015 by

If you have received a survey report from a professional surveyor which has failed to take into account structural damage such as that caused by Regent Street Disease, it may be possible to make a negligence claim against the surveyor responsible.

What is Regent Street Disease (RSD)?
Although it has a very place-specific name, Regent Street Disease (RSD) is not confined to London’s Regent Street. In fact, it is known by various other names. For example, in Manchester the problem is referred to as Deansgate disorder.

Whatever its name, the “disease” is confined to buildings, usually from the early 20th century, which have been built using a steel frame then covered in facing stone, brick, faience or terracotta.

Problems arise when moisture permeates the stonework façade and begins to rot the internal steelwork, eventually causing the frame to corrode and potentially give way.

There is a great deal of variance in the rate and rapidity of RSD’s progress in any two buildings. This is because of the impact of various environmental factors, such as sheltering and prevailing winds – these microclimate effects will determine the rate and rapidity of corrosion.

Problems of corrosion may not be evident to the unscientific eye until defects such as vertical cracking become visible in stonework. Eventually, faults may become more pronounced and may actually become so severe as to present a public liability risk through the possibility of corroded stone or other facing becoming dislodged and falling.

Inadequate measures
Unfortunately, many beautiful and listed buildings from the early 20th century suffer from RSD. This is because, at the time, there was little widespread understanding of the dangers of moisture permeating steel frames.

For example, much steelwork received only one coat of lead paint to seal it – now known to be little protection against the dangers of corrosion damage.

A notable case
In 2008 one of Lord Alan Sugar’s companies asked professional negligence solicitors to make a negligence claim against surveyors for their alleged failure to spot extensive corrosion caused by RSD in a £5.9 million property.

The negligence claim against the surveyors stated a reduction of £300,000 on the purchase price of the property could have been negotiated if the buying company had been aware of the reduction in its value because of the corrosion of the steelwork supporting the roof. The property company consequently sought damages in recompense.

Healys professional negligence solicitors
Healys LLP professional negligence solicitors can provide expertise and advice to assist you with a negligence claim against a surveyor, valuer or real estate agent. Contact our Brighton and London offices by using our call-back form, email partner Robert Johnson or call directly on 020 7822 4106