What Do Building Surveyors Do?

One of the questions our customers frequently ask is “What do building surveyors do?” It’s a good question because what we do can seem a little bit shrouded in mystery and yet everybody who buys a home is strongly advised to hire one. Let’s find out what we actually do for our money!

We know that buying a property can be a bit of a minefield, with a multitude of things to do and organise – generally with a price tag attached! Whilst a building survey is a very important part of the buying process, we often find that people aren’t quite sure why they need one and what it entails. So here are answers to some of the most common questions we get asked!

Building surveyor Matthew Brown

Building surveyor Matthew Brown

What does a building surveyor actually do?

Building surveyors check and advise on the condition of a property and on things such as build quality, damage, defects and any other material issues. Work can range from a full inspection on behalf of a prospective buyer to investigating a particular problem or advising on party wall issues.

Is my surveyor qualified?

Anyone can call themselves a surveyor, so qualifications and experience should be checked. A surveyor who is qualified and an accredited member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which is the industry’s regulatory body, is the best place to start. Home-Approved is a member of RICS and our surveyors are members of the RICS. Here’s why you should hire a RICS-regulated surveyor.

What does a survey cover?

Some surveys will only involve the most cursory inspection of a property, more for valuation purposes than anything. At Home-Approved our building surveys encompass a thorough inspection of a property, both internally and externally, to produce a detailed report of the condition. We look at all aspects of a property, from drainage and damp-proof courses to the loft space and roof covering – take a look at this illustration of what we look for during an inspection for more information.

So how much does a building survey cost?

Cost is determined according to the age and size of the property – a new-build two-bed apartment obviously takes far less time to inspect than a seven-bed period mansion. Location and sale price are also taken into consideration, so building surveys in Surrey and the South-East are naturally more pricey than surveys in the north of England. There are also different types of surveys available – at Home-Approved we specialise in full structural surveys.

And what do I actually get for my money?

You receive a full written report, which includes photographic evidence of what we’ve found. Crucially, we also detail any repair/remedial work required and how critical they are eg rotting joists are more significant than a damaged floorboard. For more information, take a look at what our surveys cover and the type of report you’ll receive.

This is where you’ll see the real value of paying for a full building survey because you will be armed with all the information you need to make a considered decision. It may give you peace of mind and reassurance to proceed with buying the property, in full knowledge that there is nothing major to worry about or knowing that down the line you’ll have to do some remedial work. If there are bigger structural issues you may decide to walk away from the property. Alternatively, you could use the information to negotiate with the vendor – to drop the price to reflect the cost of repair or to carry out repairs before completion takes place.

And then, of course, the current owners also have questions from time to time. Property owners also ask us “What do building surveyors do?”. It’s still their property, after all!

If you have any other questions you’d like answered before booking your building survey please just give us a call.

When you’ve found your perfect property, just get in touch on 0800 980 3113 or email info@home-approved.com to arrange a survey.