Our Building Surveys Reports are structured, thorough and detailed. 

our surveys are not valuation surveys. The objective of a Building Survey is to identify any particular problems that may exist with a property before you finalize an agreement to purchase, sell or  refurbish.   


 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.


For newer properties a Home Buyer Report may be more appropriate, it is less expensive than a full dilapidation survey.


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Potentially a little too late to carry out a survey on this property.

Think will wait for the next gust of wind to help out.

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How do I know which Survey is right for me?


The following gives a very brief overview of the different surveys available. When considering the possible purchase of the property the choices are as follows:


Valuation only.

A Valuation only survey on an average house will cost the order of £150 to £300. It will usually be carried out by a Chartered General Practice Surveyor. This type of survey is usually done for the benefit of the mortgage lender.

A Probate Valuation will usually be of a similar cost and will be performed in a similar way. It will be commissioned by an executor who wishes to value the property of an estate with reference to his or her obligations to the beneficiaries and any liability for inheritance tax.

A Valuation in the situation of a divorce, or a sale within a family, will also be carried out in a similar way.


Homebuyer Report (previously called a Homebuyer Survey and Valuation)

A Homebuyer Report on an average house will cost in the order of £200 to £400. It will be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) , Architect, or equally qualified individual: usually  licensed to do this work. The appointed will normally look at the complete property and give an opinion as to whether or not the house is value for money to the purchaser.  A Homebuyer Report is usually suitable if the house is of modern straight forward construction and has not had any major alterations carried out.


Full Building Survey

A full Building Survey on an average house will cost the order of £300 to £600. It will be carried out by an Architect, or a Chartered Surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Architect or Surveyor will normally look at the complete property and give a detailed opinion regarding the state of the building. This is particularly suitable for older properties or properties which have had major alterations over the years or properties which appear to have problems that need further investigation.


General Structural Inspection

A General Structural Inspection on an average house will cost the order of £300 to £600. This will normally be performed by a Chartered Engineer who is a member of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) or the Institution of Civil Engineers (MICE). Some Architects also carry out these inspections, particularly when the nature of the problems requires detailed analysis and recommendations . The inspection will concentrate only on the structural aspects of the building (foundations, walls and roof). It is often useful if the prospective purchaser is intending to carry out a total refurbishment and hence will be replacing the interior decoration and all the services (plumbing, electrics etc).


Specific Structural Inspection

A Specific Structural Inspection is sometimes called for when you have already had some sort of survey and the Architect or surveyor has identified a potential structural problem and recommends further investigation. It should be noted that if a Structural Engineer is requested to look at a specific crack in a building then he will not necessarily look at any other part of the building.


Home Condition Survey (HCS)

A Home Condition Survey is a similar format to a Homebuyer Report but it does not address the question of value.  Initially these were carried out by Home Inspectors with the Dip HI qualification who were members of an accreditation scheme operated either by SAVA or the BRE.  Home Inspectors originally trained up to provide Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and the Home Condition Report (HCR) for the Home Information Pack (HIP) but the government then cancelled this requirement.  Many of the Home Inspectors have now taken further training to carry out Home Condition Surveys on properties being bought. The RIAS (Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland) , The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) have introduced schemes of this type and so these reports will also be available from Registered Certified members.


Other Reports

In some cases your appointed Architect or Surveyor will recommend that further investigations should be considered. In some cases these would be highly recommended while in other cases they may be just noted and hence bought to your attention. Some of these possible extra investigations could include:

Electrical Report to check the state of the wiring, which if very old could be dangerous.

Drainage Report to check the drains, which if partly blocked may be causing subsidence.

Asbestos Report to check for asbestos content and make recommendations.

Arboricultural Report to make recommendations regarding any trees on the site.


General Tips

It can be useful if the homebuyer can be present while the Surveyor is performing the survey. Some Surveyors are positive towards meeting the homebuyer at the property but some Surveyors are not (understandably the presence of the homebuyer can often be a distraction). A useful compromise that many Surveyors recommend is for the homebuyer to meet the Surveyor at the property towards the end of his inspection. The Surveyor can then point out any particular observations on the spot, in advance of the production of the report. The homebuyer may also have questions along the lines of what are the possible costs for any remedial work that may be required etc.

If you are not able to meet the Surveyor at the site then of course the next best alternative would be to speak to the Surveyor on the telephone as soon as possible after the Survey. It should be remembered that Surveyors can survey a large number of houses in a week and it is not realistic to expect the Surveyor to give an off the cuff verbal report weeks later.

Before placing an order with a Surveyor you should always ask them to confirm that they have adequate qualifications, accreditation, experience and insurance to perform the work.

Non-traditional housing: fabric survey
Flat Rot Survey Report