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Why do I need a survey ?

Before you decide to go ahead and commit yourself legally, you can minimize the risks by asking a Chartered Surveyor to answer these questions for you-:

  • Is the agreed purchase price reasonable ?
  • Are there drawbacks I don't know about ?
  • If so, what do I need to do about them ?

A survey may prevent you from making a costly mistake or it may influence the final price of the property. The best way to reach an informed decision on purchasing a home or commercial premises is to instruct a survey and valuation of the property.

The surveys are provided in various formats depending on the intended purpose, and include the following:

  • RICS Homebuyer Survey and Valuation Report: this survey is suited to residential properties of conventional construction. The inspection which lasts from between 2-5 hours looks at all structural elements of the building from the roof to the drains.

The survey covers any structural movement to the property, dampness, timber defects and a visual inspection of the services. The written report and valuation includes an assessment of any defects which are either 'urgent' requiring action or 'significant' thus having an effect on value. Where significant defects are found, the report guides you on what should be done and similarly provides a page guiding your Legal Advisor on specific issues which require investigation.

  • Building survey: this detailed survey is suited to residential properties and particularly if they are non-traditional construction and that require extensive remedial works.

The survey provides comprehensive details of the properties construction, materials, uses and defects. The report is in the Surveyor’s own format and is usually much longer and more technical.

  • Schedule of Condition: a record of the condition of a building at a point in time, often appended to a Lease, to limit or define the parties’ repairing liabilities.
  • Schedule of Dilapidations: this lists wants of repair during, or at the expiry of, a Lease and details the remedial work required.


Valuations of residential and commercial properties for acquisition, probate, bank lending, accounting and insurance. Properties valued include houses, flats, hotels, offices, retail units and industrial buildings.

The valuation process will include an inspection of the property. (If you require assurance as to the condition of the property, you will also need to commission a detailed survey report.) The valuation report will clearly state any assumptions that have been relied on to arrive at the opinion of value, so that these can be confirmed. Most valuation reports will need to comply with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Appraisal and Valuation Standards. These standards set out minimum requirements for the inspection of the property and preparation of the report.

Development Appraisals

Appraisals and advice on new build projects and conversion of existing properties regarding build costs, before and after valuations, market rents and saleability of the completed project.


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