A building survey is a health check of a building and should be an essential part of the buying process particularly if you are buying an older property. The building survey, which will be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor will look at all elements of a property to identify hidden defects giving you the opportunity to renegotiate the price and save money.

A building survey is a technical examination of all accessible parts of the property and an assessment of the materials, methods and techniques used in construction as well as an investigation to trace and report upon problems found or suspected based on the type and age of construction.

With a building survey the customer gets the opportunity to increase the scope, for example: to report on loading and rearrangement of the property for conversion or extension. In general, the report includes details on:

  • Major and minor defects and their meaning,
  • Damp proofing, insulation and drainage,
  • Condition of timbers, including woodworm and rot,
  • Loading a performance of structural elements

Typically, a building survey inspection will take a Chartered Building Surveyor 3-6 hours on site for a typical 3 bed house, and for larger properties the inspection may be carried out over a couple of days. The Chartered Building Surveyor’s inspection is a detailed surface examination of all components of the building and a detailed descriptive analysis on how structural and non-structural elements interrelate to determine whether they are satisfactory and still fit for purpose.

The full written report will prescribe any remedial action required and conclude with a summary list, which, for a small additional fee can be priced.

Building surveys: what will the survey inspect

After setting the scene: descriptions, location, type, accommodation, and explaining an limitations as to what could not be surveyed due to access issues, a building survey will go on to assess matters such as the following in detail.

Tenure and title issues

  • How much the property should be insured for (the Insurance Valuation)
  • Environmental Matters
  • High Voltage Risks
  • Legal Matters
  • Planning matters
  • Building Regulations
  • Listed Building Consent
  • Roads Pavements and Cross-Overs
  • Rights of Way
  • Shared rights of drainage
  • Noise/Disturbance
  • Party Walls

Building Survey : the exterior property inspection

  • Chimney Stacks, Pots and Flues
  • TV Aerials and Satellite Dishes
  • Main Roof
  • Lower Roof
  • Roof Ventilation
  • Rainwater Goods
  • Soil Drainage
  • External Walls
  • Damp Proof Course
  • Sub Floor Ventilation
  • External Joinery and Windows and concealed Woodwork
  • External Decoration

Building Survey: the interior property inspection

  • Minor Faults
  • Roof Voids
  • Ceilings
  • Internal walls
  • Fireplaces Flues and Chimney Breasts
  • Floors: structural stability and ventilation
  • Dampness: Rising, Penetrating, Leaks
  • Woodworm