What is a building survey and how do I get one?

By SofiaDecember 14, 2021London's Blogs
Real estate agent handing house keys to buyer

Property surveys give you all of the relevant information about your property that you need to move forward in the buying or selling process. There are 3 main types of property survey that you’re likely to come across: condition report, homebuyers report, and a building survey.

The 3 property surveys differ in focus, detail and cost so it’s important that you understand the differences so you can choose the right survey for your needs.

  • Condition report – Also known as a Level 1 RICS survey, is a basic report detailing the immediate risks and urgent defects on a property, ideal for good condition and relatively new houses.
  • Homebuyers report – A homebuyers report, or Level 2 RICS survey, is a more detailed report on the condition of a property that’s less than 100 years old, and also includes a market valuation.
  • Building survey – A building survey, or Level 3 RICS survey, is an in-depth look at a property’s condition that advises how to repair and maintain the property, and also includes a market valuation.

What is a building survey?

A building survey is the most thorough report you can get that details a residential property’s construction and condition. The survey can be tailored to your specific needs.

It can be carried out on the majority of residential buildings and is suitable for older or untraditional properties. For example, if a building is over 100 years old or has been built using unconventional construction methods. It can also be useful if a property has been changed in the past or you plan to carry out major renovations.

The RICS accredited surveyor providing the building survey will help you make an informed decision when buying a property or when planning for repairs, maintenance or upgrades. They will provide detailed advice on the condition of the property, risks or defects, and where agreed, estimate the costs and timescale for relevant repairs and work.

What does a building survey include?

A building survey consists of an inspection and a report. After the inspection, the report will detail the following areas:

  • Introduction to the report – Outlines the purpose of the inspection and the conditions on the day of the inspection.
  • About the property – Outlines the details of the property including the type, date of build, number of rooms, main services, and the local environment.
  • External condition and construction – Describes the external features of the property including chimney stacks, roof coverings, soil, foundations, trees, external walls, and external joinery.
  • Internal condition and construction – Describes the internal features of the property such as the roof, ceilings, walls, chimney breast and fireplace, floors, internal joinery, decorations and thermal insulation.
  • Services – A visual overview of the services within the property including electricity, gas, plumbing, water, heating, sanitary fittings and drainage.
  • The site – Features of the land the property is on including garage, outbuildings, gardens and boundaries.
  • Environmental matters – Issues relating to the environment that might affect the property such as flooding or contamination.
  • Matters for your legal advisor – This includes factors such as building regulations, planning regulations and roads.
  • Summary and repairs – Summarises the general condition of the property and lists the recommended repairs along with the timescales they should be carried out to avoid further deterioration of the property.
  • Market valuation – Based on their professional expertise, the surveyor will recommend the market value of the property which may be used to negotiate the purchase price.

If you’d like to see an example of a full building survey, view the report here.

How do you get a building survey?

You can get a building survey from a reputable and qualified RICS accredited surveyor. This will make sure you receive a thorough inspection and detailed report. A building survey is typically the most expensive of the surveys due to the level of analysis involved.

At London’s Surveyors and Valuers, we have a team of 12 surveyors with over 200 years of combined experience. We can deliver bespoke building surveys that give you the knowledge and information you need to make informed decisions about your property.

Get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.

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