Types of survey for residential properties5

Types of survey for domestic properties and when to use them


The Building Survey

The Building Survey is the most comprehensive survey (Note the Building Survey is also sometimes referred to as a ’structural survey’ or a ‘full survey’.) and is typically chosen for older or substantially modified properties. It is particularly useful if you plan to renovate or convert the property. It is an exhaustive survey into all risks, major and minor defects to the property which may affect its value.

The survey can forewarn you against any unexpected repair costs, and can help you negotiate a better price in the event that defects to the property are found. it will also provide you with peace of mind about the condition of the property. It does not include a valuation but is a tailor made report covering all the visible parts, including the roof voids of the property as well as an inspection into drainage, damp, construction materials and timber.

The report provides detailed information and advice in an individual format. The Building Survey follows the trail of any faults and finding out why they have happened. Providing advice on how the problems can be rectified, and in which order the work should be carried out. This is particularly useful when you are receiving quotes for the remedial work and will greatly help you when negotiating the purchase price of your new home. The report is unlike a Home Buyers Report, which is a set format with the surveyor answering listed questions.

The Building survey will provide you with a detailed analysis of the causes of problems and the repairs needed. There will be an assessment of the construction and condition of the property, giving technical advice on the remedial works.

You will get advice on any future maintenance that the property will need. This will help you assess the real cost of the purchase over a set period of time allowing for any work to be carried out. This makes your purchase more transparent and allows you to proceed with your eyes open.

The scope of the inspection will vary depending upon the type and age of the property.

This style of report is suitable for all types of properties however if required for a flat, all external and internal common parts that can be safely and legally accessed in addition to the flat will be inspected. A Mortgage Valuation (commissioned by the lender) lacks detail and should not be relied upon instead of a Building Survey.


The Mortgage Valuation Survey

This is commissioned by the lender (albeit paid for by the buyer!) to ascertain whether the property is adequate security for the loan. A common misconception is that the 'Mortgage Valuation Survey' is sufficiently detailed to inform Home Buyers about the structural integrity of their prospective purchase. The Mortgage valuation is by no means, a substantive report and should not be relied upon by a buyer for the purposes of being satisfied as to the structural soundness of the property. It is worth noting that the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) recommendation is to get a Survey.


Home Buyer Report

This report is suitable for properties of standard construction (brick and tile) which are less than 100 years old and have not been substantially altered. The format for this report was introduced relatively recently in response to criticism that Surveys were overly complicated and difficult to read. The report is set out in concise terms and uses an traffic light system to indicate the condition of the property. This survey is relatively inexpensive, and also includes a valuation, but is not as comprehensive as the Building survey.


Note JS Building consultancy does not carry out valuations or Home buyer reports these are for information only.


Defect survey and report

This type of report is required when it is necessary to identify the cause of a specific defect that has been identified, such as the ingress of water, damp, timber decay, cracking and movement of walls due to subsidence, or inadequate means of support over an opening. An in depth investigation will be carried out and a report produced identifying the cause of the defect and making recommendations for any remedial work that needs to be carried out.


Please note JS Building consultancy does not carry out valuations.

If you are uncertain as to which service, you require, or you don't see it listed please contact us by clicking on the contact button below or telephoning.

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