Building Survey Overview
A Building Survey is the most thorough and detailed report that you can commission on the condition of a property. The survey is usually carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who will be a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in which case he or she will have the letters MRICS or FRICS after his or her name. The RICS ensures that all its members maintain professional standards in their work. When commissioning a Chartered Surveyor to carry out a survey you should be able to feel confident that the results will be appropriate for your needs.
Another body for professionals specialising in the design, construction, evaluation and maintenance of building construction is the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE). Professionally qualified members will have the letters MCABE or FCABE after their names.
There is also the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) . Their members work in the development, conservation and improvement of the built environment. Chartered members will have the letters MCIOB or FCIOB after their names.
It should be noted that registered Architects also sometimes carry out surveys.
What Quality of Report Should You Expect For Your Money?
Generally a Building Survey is considered to be the most comprehensive service available. Prices vary between different Surveyors and so a common question from homebuyers is: what will I get for my money? In general most Building Surveys from most surveyors will be fine. Before carrying out a survey the Surveyor will discuss your situation and then recommend the most appropriate way forward. When deciding which Surveyor to go with, you may wish to consider the following:
- Qualifications, accreditation, experience and insurance.
- Likely survey date and likely date for delivery of the resulting survey report.
- Will it be possible to meet the surveyor at the property? Most surveyors are happy to do this but they will probably want to complete the survey first and then do a quick walk around with you afterwards.
- What will the report look like? Most surveyors will be happy to email you an example of a typical report to give an indication of what you can expect.
- Will the report contain photographs? This varies a lot between surveyors. Having photographs included is not essential but could be useful. Some surveyors will automatically include lots of photos. Some surveyors will provide photos but these will just be a separate file and will not be part of the report. Some surveyors do not generally include photos but will do so for an extra cost. If the property is in good condition then there will be less need for photographs. If the property is in poor condition then photographs might be useful.
It should be noted that most surveyors will have much of this information covered on their website.
Appointing a Surveyor
It should be noted that not all Building Surveyors are members of the RICS, they may be members of another professional body and have similar qualifications and experience. Some will provide a good level of service and some will not. In general it is always recommended that you use the services of a qualified Surveyor however, the choice is yours. Before appointing a Surveyor and placing an order you should ensure yourself that your chosen Surveyor has satisfactory qualifications, accreditation, experience and insurance to provide the level of service that you require.
Objective of a Building Survey
The objective of a Building Survey is to identify any particular problems that may exist with a property before you finalise an agreement to purchase. An experienced Building Surveyor will be able to cast an expert’s eye over the building with the possibility that he may pick up things that you have missed. Please note that a Building Survey does not normally include a valuation.
Building Surveys are sometimes referred to as Full Structural Surveys as they provide a detailed report on the property’s construction and condition. In general terms a Building Survey is recommended for older houses or houses that may have problems however they can be applied to any age of property and are particularly helpful for dilapidated properties and those that have been extensively altered. Building Surveys are also useful if you plan to renovate or convert the property.
Different Types of Survey
If your prospective new home has only recently been built you may wish to consider the alternative of a HomeBuyer Report which will probably work out to be slightly lower in cost. This report follows a format specified by the RICS and is generally suitable for situations where major problems are felt to be unlikely. It replaces what the RICS previously referred to as a Homebuyer Survey.
Your Building Society or Finance provider may commission a Valuation Report. This slimmed down report can be very useful but it should be noted that it is produced more for the lender rather than the purchaser and may not necessarily contain the detail that you require.
If you would like more information on the differences between surveys, please click here.
To discuss your requirement for a possible Survey on your new home the best people to talk to would be one or more of the Building Surveyors who cover the local area. By completing the estimate request form above, you will be given a list of contact details so that you can then speak to these people directly.
If you are looking for contact details for Mortgage Brokers then click here.
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What do our customers say about our surveyors?
We ask all of our Customers to let us have feedback on any of our Surveyors they used. Please see below for some of their comments: