The quality of construction of Cyprus property varies greatly. If you are looking to buy a new or resale property, here are a few things you should look out for when inspecting properties under construction:
Inadequate damp proofing – allows water penetration resulting in damp, cold and musty properties and may lead to structural problems in the longer term.
Poor insulation – makes concrete houses hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
Inadequate drainage – causes drains to block frequently as they are unable to cope with toilet paper and kitchen waste disposal units.
Combined ceilings and roofs – provide attractive vaulted ceilings. But without the insulating properties provided by a separate roof and ceiling, houses built in this manner can be hot in summer, cold in winter and expensive to cool and heat.
Reinforced concrete roofs – leak unless properly waterproofed and maintained. As concrete is also a poor insulator against the summer heat and winter cold, concrete roofs exacerbate problems caused by the lack of insulation.
Protruding steel reinforcing – rusts, allowing rainwater to penetrate the reinforced concrete superstructure. The rusting steel expands, causing the surface rendering and concrete to crack and fall away.
Windows and doors are installed without caulking – allowing water to penetrate, adding to any damp and insulation problems.
Electrical cables are set into walls without conduit or just nailed to the wall surface and rendered over – these pose an obvious safety risk and makes the job of replacing damaged or defective cables a nightmare.
Inadequate electrical circuits – are unable to cater for the demand placed on them. As well as the risk of fire from overheated electrical cables further, less serious, problems may become apparent:
- Circuit breakers trip out for no obvious reason.
- Lights dim and/or flicker when appliances, or even other lights, are turned on.
Simple plastic water pipes – are used in place of the more usual pipe-in-pipe plumbing systems. As these are buried in the concrete floor, repairs are often impossible without major building work. Any flexing or cracking of the concrete raft may damage water pipes; such damage may not become apparent for months or even years after it has occurred.
Inadequate foundations – result in properties that are susceptible to:
- Flexing and cracking as the building settles. The visible symptoms are uneven floors, cracks in walls, floors and wall tiles and jamming doors and windows. The more sinister, invisible, symptoms are damaged water pipes and possible structural instability.
- Small movements during minor earth tremors. This may break water pipes and cause the supply of other utility services to the property to fail.
- The concrete raft may also flex and crack.
- Subsidence when heavy winter rains wash away the surrounding ground soil.
Fortunately such building methods are dying out as building regulations and building standards improve and as people demand higher quality properties.
It is possible to get your property built to a good standard without paying through the nose. But as some developers may try to charge you extra for such niceties as insulation and damp proofing, be prepared to shop around and haggle!
Happy property hunting!