A Home Condition Survey is the most thorough and detailed report that you can commission on the condition of a property. The survey is usually carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who will be a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or an approved surveyor from the Surveyors & Value's Association (SAVA) in which case he or she will have the letters MRICS or MSAVA after his or her name. This ensures that all its members maintain professional standards in their work. When commissioning an approved surveyor to carry out a survey you should be able to feel confident that the results will be appropriate for your needs.
Generally a Building Survey is considered to be the most comprehensive service available. Prices vary between different Surveyors and so a common question from homebuyers is: what will I get for my money? In general most Building Surveys from most surveyors will be fine. Before carrying out a survey the Surveyor will discuss your situation and then recommend the most appropriate way forward. When deciding which Surveyor to go with, you may wish to consider the following:
It should be noted that not all Building Surveyors are members of the RICS or SAVA, they may be members of another professional body and have similar qualifications and experience. Some will provide a good level of service and some will not. In general it is always recommended that you use the services of a qualified Surveyor however, the choice is yours. Before appointing a Surveyor and placing an order you should ensure yourself that your chosen Surveyor has satisfactory qualifications, accreditation, experience and insurance to provide the level of service that you require.
The objective of a Building Survey is to identify any particular problems that may exist with a property before you finalise an agreement to purchase. An experienced Building Surveyor will be able to cast an expert’s eye over the building with the possibility that he may pick up things that you have missed. Please note that a Building Survey does not normally include a valuation.
Building Surveys are sometimes referred to as Full Structural Surveys as they provide a detailed report on the property’s construction and condition. In general terms a Building Survey is recommended for older houses or houses that may have problems however they can be applied to any age of property and are particularly helpful for dilapidated properties and those that have been extensively altered. Building Surveys are also useful if you plan to renovate or convert the property.