What is a Building Survey or Full Structural Survey?
A building survey, often known as a full structural survey, is one of the most thorough property inspections available when purchasing a home. A building survey is comparable to a homebuyer’s report in many aspects, but it is better suited to older or uniquely designed buildings and produces a far more complete report.
A structural survey is frequently confused with a Level 3 Building Survey. A structural survey, on the other hand, can be carried out by a Chartered Civil or Structural Engineer, whereas building surveys are carried out by RICS accredited surveyors.
The building survey will detail any faults in the property, their apparent source, the urgency with which repairs are required, and, in most circumstances, the cost of those repairs. The surveyor will also look at regions that are difficult to reach during the assessment.
There are several distinct kinds of house surveys, each with a particular pricing point and quantity of information and detail covered. Compare My Move provides everything you need to know about the building survey in this tutorial.
What Does A Building Survey Cover?
A thorough external and internal inspection of the property will be included in the building survey, which will result in a detailed survey report. Walls, cellars, floors, windows, doors, roofs, garages, and other visible and accessible areas of the property will be inspected by the property surveyor.
Once you agree that you want to proceed, this will be confirmed in their terms and conditions. The surveyor might take specific concerns into account and pay special attention to such areas. This is apparent in their report.
A complete structural survey includes the following:
- Examine for defects that could be dangerous.
- Examine the property for asbestos and other hazardous materials.
- Look for any signs of wetness within the walls of the property.
- Any structural work done without authorisation should be highlighted.
- Examine the property’s construction materials and look for any damage to the roof or structural timbers.
- Examine any potentially dangerous trees near the property and suggest a solution for any issues.
As a building survey checklist, use the following:
- Dampness & condensation
- Walls & floors
- Chimney breasts and joinery
- Woodworm & Rot
- Drainage & boundaries
- Roof space: Full inspection of the roof
- Main walls
- Windows and doors
A valuation is not included but can be requested for an additional charge.
When Do You Need a Building Survey?
The building survey, as the name implies, can be utilised on any sort of property. It is, however, better suited to structures that are over 50 years old or have specific and evident flaws that need to be addressed. If you’re thinking about buying a house without building regulations permission, a building survey is also recommended. This is mostly due to the report’s amount of detail and relative expense when compared to other solutions. A building survey is required if the property is:
- Properties that are historic or listed
- Over the age of 50
- Steel frame houses or PRC properties are examples of unusual or unique construction.
- Within protected zones
- Renovations have been completed or are planned.
- In a bad state
A survey such as a homebuyers survey is likely to be appropriate for homes under 50 years old because it will cover any areas of concern without spending a lot of money. It’s also recommended that you receive a snagging list for a new project that won’t have long-term structural difficulties.
A Listed Structure Survey is required when purchasing a listed building. Remember to read our guide to The Home Report if you’re relocating to or within Scotland, as the process differs differently from the rest of the UK. Check out our moving house checklist to get a timeframe for your relocation and be fully prepared for your survey.
How Much Does A Building Survey Cost?
Your construction survey will cost between £500 and £1,500 depending on the size of your property. The construction survey is one of the most costly surveys you may have done on your home, and it should be factored into the overall cost of purchasing a home.
Because the surveyor will need access to practically every section of the building, limited access can result in additional time or the necessity for specialised equipment.
For a variety of property prices, we’ve compiled the average structural survey cost.
|Avg. Cost of Building Survey
|up to £100,000
|£100,001 – £200,000
|£200,001 – £300,000
|£300,001 – £400,000
|£400,001 to £500,000+
To generate the table Buildify gathered average expenses from 20 RICS Chartered Surveyors and Building Societies across the United Kingdom. True survey costs will vary depending on your specific scenario and location.
How Long Does A Building Survey Take?
Depending on the size of the property, a building survey can take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to perform, with the report arriving in 3 to 7 days. The timing of a building survey will vary depending on access and the size of the property, so let’s have a look at what goes into it.
Booking the survey
Once your offer on the property has been approved, you should schedule a property survey. Offers are often accepted if no serious concerns are discovered during the survey. The price can be renegotiated after the survey is completed, based on any major work that has to be done on the property.
It is critical to communicate well with your surveyor ahead of time and to be aware of the locations to which they will require access. This will allow you to check ahead of time that each region can be reached simply and safely. If the house you’re buying has a loft, for example, you should be sure that either you or the surveyor has a ladder long enough to reach the entrance.
If the previous owner of your new house is still there, you’ll need to communicate with them to guarantee that the survey can take place. Because this is a potentially disruptive process, it’s a good idea to ask when they’re okay with you doing it.
On the day of the survey
This, too, is highly dependent on the size, accessibility, and location of the property you’re considering buying. It will generally take 2 to 4 hours to complete smaller properties, and 5 to 8 hours to complete larger properties.
When will you receive the report?
You can expect to receive your building survey report through email 3-7 working days following the inspection, depending on the size of the property and the kind of survey. Although you may receive it by mail if you choose, and you may be charged more for this service.
Once your surveyor has done the home visit, they should be able to give you a better idea of how long this will take. If you haven’t heard from your surveyor after a week, you can email them to inquire about their progress.
What Does A Building Survey Report Look Like?
Building surveys are easy to interpret and employ a simple ‘traffic light code.’ This draws attention to the regions that are most concerning and may require quick care. There is no jargon to understand, and the layout is clear and straightforward.
Unlike the homebuyers survey, however, the building survey will go into greater detail on each component while also addressing a much broader range of topics. In addition, the report will outline how much repairs and maintenance may cost as a result of the situation. This is especially useful if you decide to renegotiate the property’s price in the future.
RICS has provided an example of a building survey. We’ve added an explanation below to help you understand how this code works. For additional information on what to do if your survey raises difficulties, see our article on what to deal with unsatisfactory survey results.
|What This Means
|‘Condition Rating 1′
|This indicates that the area referenced needs no repairs and has no area of concern, these should continue to be maintained in a similar way to previously.
|‘Condition Rating 2’
|This highlights areas with defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered as serious. These areas are unlikely to impact the overall value of the property but are likely to need some maintenance or repair in time.
|‘Condition Rating 3’
|This highlights defects that are in need of urgent or series repair, need to be replaced or investigated urgently. These are the areas that should be seriously considered as part of the overall purchase. They may be areas that make the purchase void, or they may be areas that can allow you to renegotiate house offer based on potential repair costs.
Building Survey vs Structural Survey
A thorough structural survey and a building survey are the same thing. A building survey was once known as a “complete structural survey,” although most people just called it a “structural survey” for short. However, there are certain distinctions between a Level 3 Building Survey and a’structural survey,’ as defined by a surveyor.
One of the most important distinctions to keep in mind is that structure surveys can be performed by Chartered Civil or Structural Engineers, whereas a building or comprehensive structural survey requires the services of a RICS licenced property surveyor.
A structural survey examines a property’s structural integrity, whereas a building survey involves an assessment of all accessible sections and the documentation of any faults or maintenance issues. When seeking for a building survey or a comprehensive structural survey, most chartered surveyors would include it under their services as a building survey.
Homebuyers Report vs Building Survey
When it comes to home buying, there are two primary sorts of surveys to consider. To assist you decide which survey you need, we examine the most common types of surveys, such as construction surveys and homebuyers reports.
|Building Survey (Level 3 Survey)
|Homebuyers Survey (Level 2 Survey)
|Suited for older homes, those that may have structural issues or are built in an unconventional way.A comprehensive and thorough survey with a hands on approach.Assesses difficult to reach areas.Can include projected costing and timelines for any repairs.Useful if you plan to convert or extend a property.
|Suited for the majority of homes.Highlights most common areas of concern based on the general condition of the building. Relatively low cost compared to a Building Survey.
|Depending on the size of the property, it can take up to a day to complete.The most expensive type of survey.
|Only areas that are easily accessible are inspected. Areas such as drains and under carpets are not assessed.
What Questions Should I Ask a Building Surveyor?
Q. Do surveyors look in cupboards?
A: Yes. Surveyors will open cabinets to look for concealed damage or faults that may already exist or could become much worse. The survey will not proceed to assess the cupboards if shifting the contents of a cupboard could injure the surveyor or if the owner does not consent.
Q: Do surveyors look for Japanese knotweed?
A. Absolutely. During the survey, the buyer will be informed if Japanese knotweed is present.
Q: Do surveyors look in the loft?
A: Yes. For both a homebuyer report and a building survey, surveyors will examine and inspect the loft. Roof problems are frequently disguised, especially because this is an area that isn’t visible to potential purchasers.
Q: Does a surveyor check the boiler?
A: A surveyor will look over the boiler and electric meter to make sure nothing is damaged.
Q: Will a surveyor move furniture to look for mould during a survey?
A. Yes. A surveyor will only move furniture to inspect behind it during a building survey if it does not represent a risk of injury or damage.