Building Survey/Property Condition Report
What is a Building Survey / Structural Survey / Condition Report?
Also known as a full Structural Survey, a Building Survey is a wide-ranging inspection of a property. Occasionally, home buyers will use the former term, Structural Survey, to refer to a Building Survey. Regardless of which term you use, it is the most comprehensive of the surveys available for a property and will provide a detailed evaluation of a property’s condition.
The Building Survey report will describe the condition of each element of the property and identify the property’s defects, their apparent cause, the urgency of repair, maintenance options and may also include an indication of the cost to repair.
Although the most expensive survey, a Building Survey is the most comprehensive and detailed evaluation of a property’s condition and construction.
Building Surveys are conducted by qualified builders and structural engineers.
Building Surveys / Structural Surveys are suitable for all properties, but they are particularly appropriate for:
- Listed Buildings – a building that is on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
- Older Properties – recommended for properties over 50 years old
- Buildings constructed in an unusual way, regardless of age
- Buildings that you intend to renovate or change
- Buildings that have already been renovated or significantly altered
What is involved?
A full Building Survey will include:
- A building inspection
- A full survey report
- A property valuation (only if specifically stated to the surveyor).
The survey will inspect all visible and accessible parts of a building, including roofs, walls, floors, windows and doors, chimneys, cellars, garages and outbuildings. Inspectors have a legal responsibility to discover and inform of any major problems with a property, so during the building inspection our inspector will actively search for potential problems and building defects.
This includes looking into cupboards and manholes, and an inspection of the services but it does not, however, investigate enclosed or concealed parts of a building, such as sealed roof spaces.
You can request that certain areas are included to cover particular concerns that you may have about the property.
There is no specific format for the Building Survey report, so the inspector is able modify a Building Survey to your needs.
Aspects of a Building Survey
Here is a list of the aspects that are included in a Building Survey if relevant:
- Most important and more insignificant defects and what they could mean
- Results of tests for damp in the walls
- Alterations to supporting walls
- Renovations that have occurred without necessary planning permission
- Presence of hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos)
- Evidence of subsidence
- Damage to masonry and roof
- Damage to timbers
- Large trees close to the property.
- Woodworm, dry rot and other damage to timbers
- The conditions of existing damp proofing, insulation and advice on non-tested drainage
- Information on the materials used to build the property and any relevant technical information
- Recommendations for further investigations on the property
The report, however, will not report in detail on aspects such as heating or electrical equipment, but if requested your inspector can arrange for the suitable expert to investigate these further.
The Building Survey, due to its thoroughness, can take up to a number of days to complete subject to the size of the property and the final report can take up to six weeks to receive.
The report will disclose the findings of the survey and make recommendations for if further specialist surveys are required.
The cost of the Building Survey will depend on the size of the property.
The Building Survey Structural Report
When the survey has been completed, your sinspector will produce a final report which will reveal whether the inspection has discovered any major and minor defects that are compromising the structural integrity of the building.
The report will identify and describe the problems and their cause, provide recommendations for further investigation and an indication of repair costs, and state what could happen if the problem is not remedied.
Cost of a Building Survey / Structural Survey
The full Building/ Structural Survey cost will vary from project to project subject to the age, condition and size.