A Building Survey is a thorough inspection of a property. It is the most comprehensive of the surveys available for residential properties and will provide a detailed evaluation of a property’s construction and condition.
Also known as a Structural Survey, the Building Survey report will describe the condition of each element of the house and suggest which aspects need attention or further investigation where the cause of a problem is not immediately apparent.
It is important to check that the surveyor you select is regulated by RICS, as they set the guidance for surveyors and this will ensure that the advice you are getting is independent, expert advice from appropriately trained professionals.
Building Surveys are suitable for all properties, but they are particularly appropriate for:
Older Properties that are over 100 years old
Buildings constructed in an unusual way, regardless of age
Buildings that you intend to renovate or change
Buildings that have already been renovated or significantly altered
A Building Survey examines all accessible elements of the property and the surveyor will actively search for any structural problems or defects. The building survey will also asses health a safety matters and draw attention to matters that your solicitors should investigate.
You can request that certain areas are included to cover particular concerns that you may have about the property. In contrast to the RICS HomeBuyer Report, there is a lack of a standardised format for the Building Survey report, so the surveyor is able modify a Building Survey to your needs.
Please note that a Building Survey does not include a valuation, so if this is something that you require please ask your surveyor separately if it can be included.
A cautionary tale about cheap building and structural surveyors
We recently had to clear up on behalf of a client who had opted for a survey from one of our cheaper surveyor allies.
The surveyor had not bothered to move the remains of a bed in an otherwise empty house to get in to the attic. It took us about 30 seconds.
The roof had a number of snapped rafters as an original slate surface had been replaced with heavier concrete tiles. Expensive
The surveyors had not opened the drain cover as it was supposed to be corroded in. Again it took us about 30 seconds.
The drain was of course blocked due to a problem with the channel.
The surveyor offered some advice about dampness. The suggestion was completely unnecessary and put everybody in the house at risk of burning to death as the suggestions severely compromised the fire protection of the property. In this case particular important, as it was three stories plus cellar and likely to be in multiple occupation.
We were able to advise the client against that course of action saving potential prosecution/ closure by the Environmental Health Officer.
By doing only half a job and not stopping to think about the content of the report they were naturally able to be much quicker and cheaper.
Not so cheap in the long run!
RICS Chartered Surveyors for Structural and Building Surveys Belper Ripley Alfreton