Sellers - HIPs & Radon FAQ's
If you are considering marketing your
property for sale and it's been designated as "located
within a radon affected area" in the local area
search (CON 29R) as part of your new HIPs pack, don't
panic !!! Most properties in the UK don't actually harbor
dangerously high levels of radon, even properties designated
by the government as being "located within a radon
affected area", however - some do.
Q: My property is highlighted
as being "located within a radon affected area"
in the HIPs pack, what should I do ?
A: If your selling
your property and its been flagged as being "located
within a radon affected area" in your HIPs pack
it's vitally important you conduct a radon screening
test immediately to protect yourself financially. Being
able to establish or eliminate radon as a problem will
immediately remove all the awkward and unanswered question
marks hanging over the sale and ensures your property
is not unduly blighted by radon gas. If your test results
indicate the annual average radon levels are below the
government's action level you can incorporate the report
into your HIPs pack to enable prospective buyers and
their acting solicitors to eliminate radon as a problem
at your property.
Occasionally testing does uncover elevated
levels of radon, however, knowing you have a problem
keeps you in control of the costs and provides you with
the time to install a radon mitigation system or arrange
for quotes before the exchanging of contracts. Failure
to be able to provide a radon test on a property that
has been highlighted as "located within a radon
affected area" will almost certainly lead to the
buyers solicitor imposing a condition of sale (radon
bond), reduced offer, delays on completion or a lost
Q: My property has been flagged
as "located within a radon affected area"
in my HIPs pack. Is it possible to establish if my house
harbors elevated levels of radon gas by paying a search
company for a written radon report on my property ?
A: The only way to
establish if your property has elevated radon levels
is to conduct a test. Its totally pointless spending
money on a written report that produces an estimate
to the radon levels at your property purely based on
its location or postcode. Due to the very nature of
radon neighbouring properties can contain very low levels
whilst an adjacent property can harbour dangerously
high levels. Producing a report without actually having
tested the property is at best just an educated guess
and can be extremely damaging to both the buyer and
seller and will not satisfy any lenders or acting solicitors.
Q: A prospective buyer of my
property has requested permission to conduct their own
radon-screening test, should I agree ?
A: Its very much in
your interest to agree to conduct the short-term radon
screening test, refusing to comply will only lead to
a reduced offer or a lost buyer.
Q: Although my property is
"located within a radon effected area" in
the CON29(R) local area search, I have been advised
that radon gas is not a problem in this area and I should
just ignore the warning.
A: If your property
has been flagged as "located within a radon effected
area" it basically means, that for every 100 properties
located within the same 1km square area, 1 or more of
the properties can be expected to exceed the radon action
level of 200 bqm3. As the dangers of living with elevated
levels of radon gas are well documented no prospective
buyer is knowingly going to gamble with their families
heath or financial security. Advising anyone that radon
is not a problem without actually having conducted a
test on the property is completely unethical. If the
person discouraging you from testing for radon has any
direct involvement in the sale of your property they
also risk exposing themselves to serious levels of liability.
AlphaLab have first hand experienced
of numerous prospective buyers walking away from properties
seller were unwilling or unable to conduct a radon test
on. It's very much in your interest to be able to provide
a valid radon test result and nobody should ever discourage
you from conducting a radon test.
Q: I noticed you provide a
long and a short-term radon test, what test should I
conduct on my property ?
A: Radon levels fluctuate
and peaks and troughs occur due to numerous seasonal
and environmental factors. Taking a long-term test over
a prolonged period of three months will produce a result
that can estimate your annual average exposure levels
to radon. The short-term 2 to 4 day test, while highly
accurate, provides a grab value of the radon levels
at the time of testing and is deployed to screen a property
for radon gas when time is of the essence and its impractical
to take a 90+ day long-term test. The short-term 2 to
4 day activated charcoal test is the most widely deployed
type of radon detector in the world selling over 15
million a year and has been specifically developed to
provide buyers and sellers the means of screening a
property for radon prior to the exchanging of contracts.
Results from the short-term radon test provide an accurate
picture of the radon levels at your property and can
establish if annual average radon exposure levels may
exceed the government's action level of 200 Bq/m3.
Q: I am in a hurry to exchange
contracts on my property, how long will it take before
I can receive the test results from my 48 Hr short-term
radon test ?
A: Analysis and reporting
of your radon test takes our laboratory three working
days to complete, please allow a few extra days for
Royal Mail to return your test kit to AlphaLab. If you
have requested your report to be posted, please also
take the extra postage time into consideration, alternatively,
we can fax or email you a copy of your report to help
speed through your results.
Q: The results from my short-term
radon screening test indicate annual average radon levels
are below the 200 Bq/m3 action level, what should I
do next ?
A: You should now
incorporate the test results into your HIPs pack to
allow prospective buyers and their acting solicitors
to view the information. The test report eliminates
all the radon question marks hanging over the sale of
your property and ensures your property is no longer
blighted by radon.
Q: The results from my short-term
radon screening test indicate annually average exposure
levels could possibly exceed the government's action
level of 200 Bq/m3, what should I do now ?
A: If time allows
you should immediately conduct a 90+ day long-term radon
test, as the results will help establish if the annual
average radon levels are actually below the governments
200 Bq/m3. If however a prospective buyer is looking
to conclude on the sale of your property immediately
their acting solicitor may request a radon bond is implemented.
The bond allows for the exchanging of contracts to proceed
whilst still protecting their client's financial interests.
Q: How can I be sure my test
results are accurate ?
A: AlphaLab employs
a rigorous quality assurance program to ensure all test
results are scientifically sound and of known precision
and accuracy. The program includes a written procedure
for obtaining QA objectives and a system for recording
and monitoring the results in four key elements.
1/ Calibration measurements are taken
daily and include samples from known standards and radon
2/ Background measurements are taken
daily to establish a reliable check on instrument operation.
3/ Duplicate measurements provide a
check on the quality of the measurement result, allowing
for any precision in error.
4/ Routine daily instrument performance
checks of analysis equipment.
A: What does the short-term test results
| A result below 100 Bqm-3
||It's unlikely the annual average
radon levels exceed the action level of 200 Bqm-3.
If making an offer on the property, no radon
bond is required to be implemented.
| A result between 100 Bqm-3 and 400 Bqm-3
||The result indicates the safe annual average
radon limit of 200 Bqm-3 could possibly be exceeded
and mitigation work may subsequently be required
on the property. Further long-term testing should
be conducted to conclusively establish the annual
average radon levels before any radon mitigation
If making an offer for the property you should
implement a radon bond prior to the exchanging
|A result over 400 Bq m-3
||The result indicates it's likely the safe annual
average radon gas levels of 200 Bqm-3 will be
If making an offer for the property you should
reduce your offer accordingly to allow for radon
mitigation costs on the property.
Q: What is a "radon bond"
A: f your short-term
radon screening test is elevated and indicates the annual
average exposure levels could exceed the 200 Bqm-3 a
further long-term test should then be deployed over
an extended period of 90+ days. The long-term test provides
an estimate to the yearly average radon exposure and
should always be undertaken before any final decision
is made on installing a radon mitigation system to reduce
your radon levels.
Conducting a long-term test over an
extended period of three months in the middle of a conveyancing
transaction is however impractical and unfair to both
parties. In order to avoid the sale collapsing acting
solicitors armed with the information gained from the
earlier short-term radon screening can implement a radon
bond that allows both parties to exchange contracts
without further delay whilst still protecting the financial
interests of the buyer. The bond involves a third party
(normally one of the two solicitors) retaining an agreed
percentage value of the sale until the new owner has
time to settle into the property and conduct a three-month
long-term radon test. Should the subsequent buyers test
results prove the annual average radon exposure does
exceed the governments action level the money held by
the radon bond can then be allocated to installing a
mitigation system to reduce the radon exposure.
If however the new owners long-term
follow-up test actually proves the annual average radon
levels are below the government's action level the whole
sum held in the radon bond can then be returned back
to you the seller.
Q: How Long Should A Radon
Bond Be In Place ?
A: The new buyer of
your property must first wait a full 60 days after moving
into the property before commencing the long-term radon
test as the upheaval of moving in and out disturbs radon
levels and can produce an erratic result. After the
60-day resting period a long-term test can then be conducted
for a period of 90 days.
In order to allow for further re-testing
in the event of any mitigation work being required a
radon bond should therefore be implemented for a minimum
period of 11 months, with a maximum period of 18 months.
Q: How much money should be
placed into a radon bond ?
A: Its important to
retained a fair sum of money that's a true reflection
on the current mitigation costs that could be incurred
without unduly burdening the seller.
An averaged sized three bed roomed
property should request a radon bond of around £3,000
The current average cost of installing
an active fan assisted radon mitigation system is approximately
Q: How can you reduce radon
in a property to safe levels ?
A: In most cases,
a system with a vent pipe(s) and fan(s) is used to reduce
radon. These "sub-slab depressurisation systems"
do not require major changes to the property. Similar
systems can also be installed in properties with crawl
spaces. These systems prevent radon gas from entering
the property from below the floor and foundations. Radon
mitigation contractors can suggest other methods that
can be just as effective on your property. The right
system for any property largely depends on the buildings
construction and the annual average radon levels recorded.
Q: Do you provide a radon mitigation
A: AlphaLab only provide
a radon gas testing and laboratory analysis service.
For further independent advice on installing radon mitigation
systems you should make initially contact with the BRE
(Tel: 01923 664707).
We understand radon can be a complicated
and confusing issue with many people offering conflicting
advice. AlphaLab have established a new Radon Hotline
Tel: O1224 864446) to provide a free information service
for anyone seeking further advice.
Radon Is Only A Problem If