What is a Building Survey?
A Building Survey is a wide-ranging 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 condition.
Previously titled as a Structural Survey, the Building Survey report will describe the condition of each element of the house and suggest which aspects are of concern and would need further investigation. Occasionally, home buyers will use the former term, Structural Survey, to refer to a Building Survey.
Building Surveys are conducted by Chartered Surveyors. 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. You can get quotes from RICS Chartered Surveyors for your Building Survey through reallymoving.com.
Building Surveys are suitable for all properties, but they are particularly appropriate for:
Listed Buildings – a building that is on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Older Properties – recommended for properties over 50 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 – they are legally obliged to inform of all problematic defects within the final report.
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.
Aspects of a Building Survey
Here is a list of the aspects that can be included in a Building Survey:
Results of tests for damp in the walls
Woodworm, dry rot and other damage to timbers
The conditions of existing damp proofing, insulation and advice on non-tested drainage
Information on the materials used to build the property and any relevant technical information
Recommendations for further investigations on the property
The report, however, will not report in detail on aspects such as heating or electrical equipment, but if requested your surveyor can arrange for the suitable expert to investigate these further.
The Building Survey
The Building Survey, due to its thoroughness, can take up to a day to complete and the final report can take up to two weeks to receive. The report will disclose the findings of the survey and make recommendations for if further specialist surveys are required.
The thoroughness of the survey also makes it the most costly house survey available, however, by comparing quotes for Chartered Surveyors you can save yourself money and find a quality surveyor who operates in your area. The cost of the Building Survey will depend on the price of the property.
If you are buying a property it is vital to employ the expert knowledge of a surveyor before completion, to ensure that you are receiving independent advice on the true condition of your potential property. The comprehensive investigation that the Building Survey involves may uncover a structural problem with the property that would otherwise go unnoticed until you have moved in, so make sure that you get a house survey to prevent any unwanted, and costly, surprises.
Here is a video link with tips on what to look for in an older property.
Here is a directory of Chartered Surveyors on reallymoving.com.