What is a Building Survey?
For many years Chartered Surveyors have undertaken detailed inspections of properties, in order to advise on the state of repair. These were variously referred to as structural surveys, detailed surveys and full surveys. Such inspections are now known as Building Surveys.
The purpose of a Building Survey is to advise, in detail, on the state of repair of the property inspected. Are there any significant defects that require attention straight away? What defects and repair items, apart from routine maintenance, will need to be dealt with during the next twenty years or so? Are there unusual maintenance requirements? What other important matters such as flood risk, radon level and geology should a client be informed about?
The Building Survey Report is sufficiently versatile to be used in the assessment of properties of all ages and types. Our service typically includes the following elements, although we are always flexible so that the individual needs of the client can be met.
- Discussion with Client
In order to understand any particular concerns about the building, or intended alterations, prior to carrying out the inspection.
- Detailed Inspection
We take as long on site as is needed to fully understand the property. The time taken varies from a few hours for small buildings to a number of days for very large properties.
- Initial Debrief
Within 24 hours of undertaking the inspection the surveyor will usually speak with the client by telephone to discuss the main findings.
- Written Report
The detailed written report normally follows 4 to 5 working days after the inspection.
- Follow-on Questions
Our surveyors expect to have ongoing dialogue with their clients following issue of written reports, in order to discuss contents and related matters.
Prior to the inspection the surveyor will undertake desk top research to establish background facts about the property including planning history, flood risk, conservation area status and more.
The first step in a Building Survey inspection is usually to establish the likely history of the structure. Many of the buildings we inspect have been considerably altered over decades or centuries. Unless the development is properly taken into account it can be easy to misinterpret some apparent signs of defects.
During inspection the surveyor will methodically assess the entire building, not only recording readily apparent defects but also looking for the subtle signs of less obvious problems. In most buildings there is a complex interaction between the various elements of the structure. Understanding this is vital, if an accurate assessment of the building's performance is to be made.
The principal limitation on a Building Survey inspection is usually an obligation not to cause damage to the property being surveyed. Floor coverings, furniture and other contents can also limit inspection. Where appropriate the surveyor will turn back some corners of floor coverings and move light furniture. It is rare for contents to seriously limit the survey.
A Building Survey includes visual examination of service installations such as electrical, gas, plumbing, heating and drainage. Surveyors have broad knowledge of building services, sufficient to give general advice, but will refer clients to individual experts when appropriate.
Please contact us for an informal, no obligation discussion about your particular requirements.