Find out what a Building Survey is (previously known as a Structural Survey) with this simple guide
What is a Building Survey / Structural Survey?
Previously known as a full Structural Survey, a Building Survey is a wide-ranging inspection of a property. Occasionally, home buyers will use the former term, Structural Survey, to refer to a Building Survey. Regardless of which term you use, it is the most comprehensive of the surveys we have available for residential properties and will provide a detailed evaluation of a property’s condition. The Building Survey report will describe the condition of each element of your home and identify the property’s defects, their apparent cause, the urgency of repair, maintenance options and may also include an indication of the cost to repair. Although the most expensive survey, a Building Survey is the most comprehensive and detailed evaluation of a property’s condition and construction. Building Surveys are conducted by our RICS Chartered Surveyors. Our RICS Chartered Surveyors are highly qualified and experienced and this ensures that the advice you are getting is from an expert.
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.
What is involved?
Our full Building Surveys include:
A thorough building inspection.
A full written survey report.
A property valuation (if requested, subject to separate charge).
Our Chartered Surveyor will inspect all visible and accessible parts of your building, including roofs, walls, floors, windows and doors, chimneys, cellars, garages and outbuildings. Our surveyors have a legal responsibility to discover and inform you of any major problems with a property, so during the inspection our surveyors will actively search for potential problems and building defects. This includes looking into cupboards and manholes, and an inspection of the services but it does not, however, include investigating enclosed or concealed parts of a building, such as sealed roof spaces.
You are welcome to contact our Customer Care team to request that certain areas are included and given particular attention by your Surveyor, to cover particular concerns that you may have about your property. Our Surveyors are able modify a Building Survey report to your specific needs.
Aspects of a Building Survey
Here is a list of items that can be included in our RICS Building Survey for your property:
Most important and more insignificant defects and what they could mean.
Results of tests for damp in the walls.
Alterations to supporting walls.
Renovations that have occurred without necessary planning permission.
Presence of hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos).
Evidence of subsidence.
Damage to masonry and roof.
Damage to timbers.
Large trees close to the property.
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 Building Survey includes a very thorough inspection and because of this, the inspection can take up to a day to complete and the report may take up to 1-2 weeks to be issued to you, but is usually sooner. The report will disclose the findings of the survey inspection and make recommendations if further specialist surveys are required. The cost of the Building Survey will depend on the price of the property.
The Building Survey Report
When our Building Surveyor has finished compiling your report, our Customer Care team will issue it to you, usually via email for quickness and your convenience.
Our report will reveal whether the inspection has discovered any major and minor defects that are compromising the structural integrity of the building. The report will identify and describe the problems and their cause, provide recommendations for further investigation and an indication of repair costs, and state what could happen if the problem is not remedied.
You may also benefit from our offer of a complimentary 10 minute post survey consultation with your Surveyor once you have received and reviewed your report.