Property Surveys - Services Offered

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  • How can an RICS Surveyor help?


    When you buy a home, take advantage of professional expertise and independent advice by using estate agents and surveyors who are RICS members.

    Your home is likely to be one of the most expensive purchases you ever make – you need to know as much as you can about the property before you buy it, so having a survey makes good sense – and could save you thousands of pounds in costly repair bills.

    Which? and The Council of Mortgage Lenders advise you to get a survey before you buy, and not just to rely on a valuation. A valuation is not a survey. The services of an RICS surveyor offers confidence because:

    • They give you clear, impartial and expert advice
    • They act in your interest
    • They are tightly regulated and have to follow strict rules of conduct including having in place insurance to protect you
    • RICS members have to update their skills and knowledge throughout their careers, so you can rely on their expertise
    • You are protected by a complaints procedure.

    Look out for firms that are ‘Regulated by RICS’. Estate agents and surveying firms that are regulated by RICS will be easier to spot as they will be using ‘Regulated by RICS’ on their stationery and advertising material.

  • What can you expect from a survey?


    Surveys are a kind of ‘health check’ for buildings. If you’re buying a property, you should have a survey done before you enter into a contract – or before making an offer, if you live in Scotland.

    A survey can actually save you money. If there are serious problems, you can often re-negotiate the sale price of the property to reflect the cost of necessary repairs – or you may even decide you don’t want to buy it at all.

    Your surveyor will report on all the parts of the property they can easily reach. They don’t inspect under carpets or furniture, and they don’t test the water supply or wiring – though they’ll comment on their condition.

    There are two main types of survey:

    • Pre-Purchase Survey (Level 2)
    • Building Survey (Level 3)

    If you’re about to buy a property, you may have specific worries about the building you’re going to buy. Talk them through with an RICS member – they’ll be happy to discuss your particular concerns in more detail and help you decide which type of survey is right for you.

    If you’re interested in making structural changes to a property, or you think there may be a damp or dry rot problem, a RICS member will be able to advise you about this too.

    Their report is designed to help you make a more informed decision. Costs vary according to which type of survey you have, but both Pre-Purchase Surveys and Building Surveys can offer reassurance.

  • Pre-Purchase Surveys


    A Pre-Purchase Survey (PPS) previously known as a Homebuyer’s Report, is a survey completed to a standard format – it’s most suitable for conventional properties built within the last 150 years, which are in reasonable condition.

    It doesn’t detail every aspect of the property, and only focuses on urgent matters needing attention. It’s not usually suitable for properties in need of renovation, or if you’re planning major alterations.

    An PPS includes details of:

    • The general condition of the property
    • Any major faults in accessible parts of the building that may affect the value
    • Any urgent problems that need inspecting by a specialist before you sign a contract
    • Results of tests for damp in the walls
    • Damage to timbers – including woodworm or rot
    • The condition of any damp-proofing, insulation and drainage (though drains aren’t tested).
  • Elemental Building Surveys (structure only)


    A Building Survey is a comprehensive inspection of a property reported in a style to suit the property and your specific requirements. It’s suitable for all properties, especially:

    • Listed buildings
    • Older properties
    • Buildings constructed in an unusual way, however old they are
    • Properties you plan to renovate or alter in any way
    • Properties that have had extensive alterations.

    It examines all accessible parts of the property – and you can ask to have specific areas included, so it covers any particular concerns you have about the building. It is a product which can be tailored to your needs, agreed between you and your surveyor.

     A Building Survey can include details of:

    • Major and minor defects and what they could mean
    • The possible cost of repairs
    • Results of damp testing on walls
    • Damage to timbers – including woodworm and rot
    • The condition of damp-proofing, insulation and drainage (though drains aren’t tested)
    • Technical information on the construction of the property and the materials used
    • The location
    • Recommendations for any further special inspections.

    A Building Survey doesn’t include a valuation, but your surveyor can provide this separately if you need one.

  • Building Pathology / Elemental Defect Analysis / Diagnostic Advice / Remedial Design


    An Elemental Defect Analysis is a comprehensive inspection of the property in a context of a specific fault or defect and is suitable for all properties. This type of report is often required following a lender’s mortgage valuation or a RICS home buyer’s report which has raised concerns about a specific aspect of the property. Generally, but not exclusively, related to structural failure/cracking in respect of which remedial works may be required. All accessible parts of the property are inspected which are relevant to the specific defect.

    An Elemental Defect Analysis can include details of:

    • The specific defect and its implications
    • The possible costs of repairs
    • The technical information on the construction of the property and materials used
    • Diagnosis of the cause of the defect(s)
    • Recommendations for any necessary further investigations
    • Advice on recommended remedial solutions
    • Design of an appropriate remedial solution
    • Preparations of a specification for the solution
    • Obtaining of quotations, supervision and certification of the recommended remedial works.
  • Schedules of Condition