Building Surveys London

Do you need a building survey but aren’t sure what it entails?

This simple guide explains what a Building Survey is and everything you need to know about it.

What is a Building Survey (Level 3)?

A Building Survey, which used to be known as a Structural Survey, is a detailed inspection of a property. It is the most complete survey available for residential properties and is intended to provide a detailed evaluation of the condition of the property surveyed.

A Building Survey (Level 3) report describes the condition of each element of the house and identifies any defects the property may have, their apparent cause, how urgent their repair is and any maintenance options you may have.

Building Surveys are conducted by Chartered Surveyors. It's important that the surveyor you select is regulated by RICS, which London Chartered Surveyors is, as they set the guidance for surveyors, which this means that the advice you receive is independent, expert advice issued by highly-trained professionals.

Building Surveys can be carried out on all types of properties, but they are particularly suitable for:

  • Listed buildings: a building on the Statutory List of Buildings of a building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
  • Older properties – generally properties aged over 50 years old
  • Buildings built in an unusual way, however old they are
  • Buildings that you are looking to renovate or modify
  • Buildings that you have already been renovated or altered in a significant way

What does a full Building Survey involve?

A full Building Survey will usually comprise:

  • An inspection of the building
  • A comprehensive survey report
  • A property valuation (if specifically indicated by the surveyor).

During the survey all of the visible and accessible parts of a building will be inspected, including the roofs, floors, walls, windows, doors, cellars, chimneys, garages and any outbuildings. Surveyors are legally required to discover and inform you of any major problems they find with a property. This means that during the building inspection, our surveyors will look for any potential problems and building defects.

During a full Building Survey we will look inside any cupboards and manholes, and services will be inspected, but enclosed or concealed parts of a building, for example, sealed roof spaces, will not be inspected.

If you have any specific concerns about the property you can ask for certain areas to be included. Unlike in the case of a HomeBuyer Report (Survey and Valuation - Level 2), which we can also provide, a Building Survey report does not have a specific format requirement, so our building surveyors can amend the Building Survey to meet your requirements.

A Building Survey includes the following aspects:

  • The most significant defects and what they mean
  • Results of damp in the walls tests
  • Alterations to supporting walls
  • Renovations made without necessary planning permission
  • Presence of hazardous materials (e.g. asbestos)
  • Evidence of subsidence
  • Masonry and roof damage
  • Timber damage
  • Large trees close to the property
  • Woodworm, dry rot and other timber damage
  • The conditions of existing damp proofing, insulation and advice on non-tested drainage
  • Information on the materials used to construct the property and any relevant technical information
  • Recommendations for further investigations on the property

The report will not go into detail about things like electrical or heating equipment. The report will, however, summarise what the findings of the survey are and make recommendations about whether any additional specialist surveys are required.

The Building Survey (Level 3) Report

On completion of the survey you will be issued with a final report which will indicate whether the inspection has uncovered any major and minor defects. The report will identify and describe any problems identified and their cause. It will also offer recommendations for further investigations and provide an indication of any repair costs, and inform you of what could happen if the problem is not resolved.

RICS Building Surveys

RICS categorises a Building Survey at level 3. This is the most detailed survey available. It considers potential problems hidden by flaws, provides an outline of repair options and the likely consequences of inactivity as well as outlining the visible defects.

If you are planning to have any type of extension to your property, once the sale goes through, you may want us to include a feasibility report at the likelihood that planning permission will be given. We can also assist in prioritising works and planning maintenance.

A valuation isn’t normally included in a building survey however, if you do require one, please ask.

Other useful sectors within the building survey report include issues for your legal adviser, noise and disturbance, hazardous materials, energy efficiency, means of escape and any health & safety concerns you are worried about.

If you want peace of mind that comes with an RICS building Survey, please call us on 020 7205 4534

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Why Choose London Chartered Surveyors?

We are regulated by the RICS – The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. We offer all three levels of RICS survey.

Whichever level of service you require, London Chartered Surveyors can give you reliable and cost effective support.

Get in touch today to speak to our team - 020 7205 4534