Do I need a survey on a purpose built flat?
Tim from Bath
06 February 2014
Surveying Advice questions and answers
Do I need a survey on the 1970s purpose built block of flats that I am buying? I’ve had a mortgage valuation which hasn’t brought up any problems and it all looks fine. I mentioned to the current owner that I might get an independent survey and she said that she never bothered as it’s a purpose built flat and most people don’t – do you think I should?
During surveys of similar flats over the last few years I have been able to advise clients on a number of defects of which they were unaware. These included removal of inside partition walls without Building Regulation approval, outdated and unsafe electrical wiring and gas boilers and water leaks beneath kitchen units. Significantly, last week I saw water penetration around three window openings in a 1970s flat which had been caused by a combination of poor quality cement pointing and inadequate seals around the frames.
It is not just the inside of the flat that would be surveyed – the Homebuyer Survey includes an inspection of the roof coverings (where visible), walls, grounds and communal areas and often problems are identified which can be raised by legal advisers in terms of whether there are adequately funded Management Companies or whether the buyer of the flat might be faced with a demand for a large contribution to repairs.
I see that you have already had a mortgage valuation – this would have involved a much briefer inspection (sometimes only the outside of the building is looked at) and even defects which might cost hundreds of pounds to rectify would not be mentioned.
In summary, I would certainly advise an independent survey on a flat – it could save you money and hassle. At the very least it will enable you to be better informed and give you peace of mind.
Great Western Surveys
Whatever type of property you are purchasing, it is important to find a Chartered Surveyor to undertake a HomeBuyer Report or a Building Survey. The surveyor will investigate the structural condition of the house you're planning to buy and will inform you if any remedial work is necessary.