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RICS Building Survey
Formerly known as 'Full Structural Surveys', these premium 'Level 3' RICS home surveys provide a very detailed description of a building’s construction and condition. Ideal for period properties, run-down buildings that you plan to renovate or convert, or those that have already been extensively altered.
Building Surveys allow the surveyor to express extensive advice, including suggested solutions. Typically around 30 to 45 pages long these reports are illustrated with photos of defects, historic features and maintenance concerns.
This type of survey is essential for most older properties (before about 1880), thatched cottages, very large homes with 5 or more bedrooms, and for buildings of non-conventional construction. It's also advisable for renovation projects or where you intend to extend or convert the property, in which case you may want to ask the surveyor to comment on any specific concerns.
As well as covering all urgent and significant defects, a Building Survey will report on a wide range of less serious issues with maintenance implications.
A valuation is not normally included unless requested, and estimated costs of repairs can sometimes also be provided as an option. Carried out by a qualified MRICS or FRICS chartered surveyor who will be happy to talk you through the report's findings and discuss any queries you may have afterwards. > Quote me
RICS Homebuyer Survey
This is the most popular type of home survey. The Homebuyer Report is an RICS 'Level 2' survey which means it's suitable for the vast majority of houses and flats built since the late Victorian period. The inspection covers the whole property inside and out, from inside the loft down to the drains (where accessible) and is written on a specially designed RICS report, typically comprising at least 25 pages.
A simple red / orange / green 'traffic light' summary makes it easy to read with each part of the building allocated a 'Condition Rating' of 1, 2 or 3. A HomeBuyer Report (HBR) will cover all significant defects – in fact anything that could materially affect the value. It also alerts you to future maintenance problems. The report can include a valuation and insurance calculation if required.
Carried out by a qualified MRICS or FRICS chartered surveyor. Depending on the property, a typical HBR might cost roughly 60% of the price of an equivalent Building Survey. Not normally suitable for older period buildings (ie those built before 1880), unusually large houses, rambling mansions, or properties in need of extensive renovation. > Quote me
A more limited product than the RICS Homebuyer Report, these 'Level 1' budget surveys are suitable for modern houses where no significant problems are anticipated.
Originally designed for helping vendors identify any defects prior to putting their property on the market, they are also useful for purchasers who want more information than provided by their lender’s mortgage valuation (which assess the property’s market value).
Condition Reports are prepared by accredited Home Inspectors, who may or may not also be qualified Chartered Surveyors, although there is an RICS version called the ‘RICS Condition Report’.
The inspection is more limited than for Homebuyer Surveys and the report is written in a standard format with very brief descriptions, although it uses the same easy-to-understand ‘traffic light’ condition ratings to grade defects. Limitations compared to the more detailed types of home survey include:-
Drains: The surveyor does NOT lift inspection chamber covers to accessible drains, which for Homebuyer and Building Surveys are inspected.
Roof spaces: Only assessed with a ‘head & shoulders’ look via the loft hatch (the view may be limited by stored objects etc) - rather than physically entering the loft to inspect the structure for Homebuyer and more comprehensive Building Surveys.
Services: Only a ‘sample’ area of each of the services is inspected, compared to ‘all parts that can be seen’ for Homebuyers and ‘operating services where possible’ for Building Surveys.
Grounds: Only a ‘cursory’ inspection of the grounds is made, compared to a ‘thorough’ assessment for Homebuyers and ‘comprehensive’ for Building Surveys.
Also, unlike a Homebuyer report no advice is provided on the causes of defects or suggested repairs/solutions, and there's no option to include a market valuation or a buildings insurance reinstatement calculation.
This is the simplest type of property inspection. A market valuation report from a chartered surveyor is recognised as having legal status, unlike those produced by unqualified estate agents. However inspections for valuation purposes are relatively limited, only commenting on any obvious defects that have a major bearing on value. The prices quoted are for a standard valuation report of 2 or 3 pages normally including a professionally calculated BCIS rebuild cost insurance valuation. Ideal for use in tax and matrimonial cases, or for redeeming ‘Help To Buy’ shared equity loans.
Where any specific additional work is required (e.g. for use in court proceedings or where expert witness work is anticipated) please complete the quotation form as normal, then discuss your precise requirements with your chosen surveyor in advance of them visiting the property. In all cases, our valuation figures are carefully researched and calculated with reference to at least 3 recent local sales of comparable properties. > Quote me
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
For home sellers, an EPC is legally required before marketing a property. For Landlords an EPC is also legally required when letting a property. The EPC gives homes an 'A to G' energy rating, similar to those on new fridges. Only qualified and certificated Domestic Energy Assessors are allowed to prepare Energy Performance Certificates. Rightsurvey offer a swift and efficient service at some of the lowest prices available in the UK. > Quote me
Scottish Home Report / Single Survey
A Home Report is required by law for the majority of homes for sale in Scotland. Chartered surveyors are the only professionals allowed to carry out the single survey, valuation and energy report (EPC) contained in a Home Report. The single survey is similar to the popular RICS Homebuyer report. > Quote me
Listed Building / Historic Property Surveys
If you are considering the purchase of a Listed building, or one that’s very old, help from an expert could be useful - especially if you’re planning to make alterations, build an extension or carry out repair work. A Building Surveyor who specialises in historic and Listed buildings will be able to inspect and report, taking careful consideration of the traditional materials and techniques originally used in the construction of the building. When it comes to proceeding with alterations, then in addition to planning permission there may be various other consents that, by law, will need to be addressed prior to commencing building work. > Quote me
Structural Engineer’s Reports
If your home is showing worrying signs of movement - serious cracking, possible subsidence or serious bowing to the roof - it may be best to appoint a Structural Engineer in the first instance. If the problem is confined to one area and you do not require an inspection of the whole building then you will only need a Structural Engineer’s inspection. They can also provide services in relation to making structural alterations and the design of new buildings. > Quote me
Building Regulations Consultants
Any any sort of structural alterations to a property must by law have Building Regulations consent. So you may need to make a new Building Regulations application, or possibly an application for retrospective ‘regularisation’ for an existing ‘unofficial’ alteration. In fact Building Regulations compliance is required for a wide range of building work. Professional guidance is normally required to draw up plans that include all the necessary technical detail for a successful application to ensure that the work fully complies. Specialists include Building Surveyors, Structural Engineers, and Architects all of whom are familiar and experienced with regard to Building Control requirements. > Quote me
Party Wall Surveyors
The Party Wall Act applies where someone wishes to carry out work close to a boundary. This might involve the erection of a new building, changes to an existing property or excavating within 6 metres of an adjoining property or boundary. For example, if you want to install the end of a beam into a party wall, dig new foundations or remove an adjoining chimney breast, it’s advisable to appoint a professional Party Wall Surveyor who can serve the necessary Notices and arrange a subsequent 'Award' in accordance with the Act. > Quote me
This video explains which surveys the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recommend for each property type:-
Remember to compare prices for RICS surveys – before you buy!