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What is a Building Survey?




Introduction

For most people, purchasing a property will be the single largest investment they make, resulting in the most expensive asset they own. It is therefore only natural to want to know if there is anything wrong with the property prior to purchase and in this way make sure that the investment is worthwhile.

In this blog we will look at building surveys and how they relate to the purchase of property and how information provided by a building survey can guide a purchaser.

What is a building survey?

A building survey is the name for the most detailed level of inspection undertaken by a chartered surveyor however there are three levels of survey broadly known as either level 1, 2 or 3 or as a Condition Report, Homebuyers Report and Building Survey respectively.

The RICS have released a helpful video which can be found here:




The importance of getting a home survey

Condition Report:

This service includes a visual inspection that is less extensive than a Homebuyers and Building Survey. No tests of the building fabric or services are undertaken and the report objectively describes the condition of the building, its services and the grounds.

It highlights relevant legal issues and any obvious risks to the building, people or grounds. The report is succinct and provides an assessment of the relative importance of the defects and problems. Where we are unable to reach a conclusion with reasonable confidence, a recommendation for further investigation may be necessary.

A Condition Report does not include advice on repairs or ongoing maintenance and this, combined with the less extensive inspection, usually means it is better suited to conventionally built, modern dwellings in satisfactory condition. It will not suit older or complex properties, or those in a poor condition.

Hombuyers Report:

This intermediate level of service includes a more extensive visual inspection of the building, its services and grounds, but still without tests. Concealed areas normally opened or used by the occupiers are inspected if it is safe to do so (typical examples include roof spaces and under-floor areas).

The report objectively describes the condition of the different elements and provides an assessment of the relative importance of the defects/problems. At this level, although it is concise, the report does include advice about repairs and any ongoing maintenance issues. Where we are unable to reach a conclusion with reasonable confidence, a recommendation for further investigations may be necessary.

This level of service suits a broader range of conventionally built properties, as is the case here.

Building Survey:

This level of service consists of a detailed visual inspection of the building, its services and the grounds that is more extensive than a Homebuyers Report. Concealed areas normally opened or used by the occupiers are inspected if it is safe to do so. Although the services are not tested, they are observed in normal operation – in other words, they are switched on and/or operated where appropriate.

The report objectively describes the form of construction and materials used for different parts of the property. It describes the condition and provides an assessment of the relative importance of the defects/problems.

Additionally, it will:

  • Describe the identifiable risk of potential or hidden defects in areas not inspected

  • Propose the most probable cause(s) of the defects based on the inspection

  • Outline the likely scope of any appropriate remedial work and explain the likely consequences of non-repair

  • Make general recommendations in respect of the priority and likely timescale for necessary work

  • Identify and describe the legal implications of ownership

If you are interested in obtaining a quote you will find that The Hopps Partnership staff offer excellent free advice at the outset and can provide you a competitive quote for undertaking a survey of your choosing.

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