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THE COUNTRY HOUSE SURVEY: BY DAVID HORNSBY B.Sc., FRICS, BCAS

(RICS Accredited Building Conservation Chartered Surveyor)

DAVID HORNSBY, CHARTERED SURVEYORS, HISTORIC BUILDING SURVEYORS & CONSULTANTS

In historical terms, the Country House has been an evolving subject since the sixteenth century, when for the first time, the defence was not the primary concern for the design and location of a principal house. The Tudor and Jacobean aristocrats were able to indulge in a grand level of designer furnishings and fittings which encompassed landscaping on a level not seen before, or for that matter, in Europe. This was all made possible from a very buoyant economy and as the Country House concept developed so did the need for architects. Styles developed with a classical appearance became a fashionable giving way to the Victorian influence of Gothic architecture. As the nineteenth century came to a close, influences such as the Art & Crafts Movement were having an impact on Country House architecture and this developed through into the 1930's with Modernist influences on the style of Country Houses.

I have been fortunate that my professional work has taken me throughout the Country to inspect many types of Country Houses from different periods, many being Grade1 and Grade2* listed. Some properties have displayed features from several periods in a single property.

Based on this expertise, I'm able to offer clients significant in-depth service, second to none. One of the fascinating parts of my work relating to country houses is being able to work out the order in which a property has evolved and this can provide some interesting situations. The Yorkshire Post has described my detective skills as "Poirot style" but this is just down to having a good understanding of what the original architect was trying to achieve and how this may have been altered at a later date to possibly take into account changes in fashion etc.

Once the detective work is complete, it is a case of assessing the condition of the property, the standard of maintenance already undertaken and providing definite advice to the client in terms of assisting with the purchase. I can provide a market valuation and purchase negotiation service, by agreement, if required.

For clients looking to purchase a country house or estate, my service is second to none

Many country houses are listed buildings but not all are listed. The survey report that is prepared is very similar to those contained in the listed buildings section because it is important to understand the significance of a property and I do try to establish how a property has developed.