RICS Building SURVEYS & Structural Surveys (Level 3)

At Foundation Surveyors, our Chartered Surveyors in London have a wealth of experience conducting detailed building surveys for our customers in the capital. With four offices across London and Essex, our team of building surveyors are conveniently located to inspect your property as required.

When you set out to invest a significant amount of money in buying a property, it is essential to get an independent assessment of the building’s true condition from top to bottom. For this, you need the expertise of a highly qualified Chartered Surveyor who represents your interests and reports to you.

We offer three levels of survey that follow the guidelines set out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The most detailed inspection endorsed by the RICS is the Level 3 Building Survey, formerly known as a full structural survey.

What is a Building Survey?

Buying a home is the most important investment that you will undertake in your lifetime, so it’s important that you know what you are getting. A Building Survey (Level 3) will investigate the condition of the property and report any defects in detail, allowing you to make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to proceed with your purchase.

This report includes an analysis of the entire building, including every accessible element, externally and internally. If any problems or structural issues are uncovered, the report will provide an estimated cost of repair and indicate the level of urgency required, so that you can factor these into your budget and any renovation plans you may have.

What type of property is a Building Survey (Level 3) for?

A Building Survey can be carried out on any home; however, the level of detail is specifically designed to benefit certain buildings. A Building Survey is particularly recommended if:

  • You are planning to buy a listed property
  • The building is very old or large
  • Unconventional building methods or materials have been used
  • The structure has unusual features from a particular period
  • The original building has been extensively remodelled or modified
  • You are already aware of defects or problems like damp

Buying a property is the biggest investment most of us will ever make, which is why it’s essential to fully understand what you’re buying before you commit. Even if you’ve got no reason to believe that the building is structurally unsound, it’s easy to miss small problem indicators with an untrained eye. This is particularly the case when the property you are buying is old, large or unconventional in some way.

Without a survey, buyers can get as far as exchanging or even completing a house before noticing defects that may have affected the price they offered or their decision to buy the property at all. Unfortunately, once you have exchanged contracts, these issues are no longer the responsibility of the vendor. According to RICS, buyers that fail to get any kind of survey to pay an average of £5,750 in unexpected repairs once moving in.

Avoiding these surprise expenses is as simple as instructing a professional surveyor to inspect the building before you exchange contracts. With our training and experience, we are able to identify potential problems throughout the property and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about proceeding.

At Foundation Surveyors, we offer three levels of survey that follow the guidelines set out by RICS. For homes that are new, or nearly-new, a Condition Report (Level 1) provides a basic overview and confirms that there is no need for further investigation. However, in most cases, a HomeBuyer Report (Level 2) is more appropriate. This level of inspection considers the ageing building materials and expected wear and tear, providing buyers with more details about how to care for their new home.

Where a building is particularly complex – perhaps due to its materials, size or age – a Building Survey (Level 3) offers better value. Although it is the most expensive of the three RICS surveys, it allows surveyors enough time to complete a full visual inspection of an unusual home and report in detail about any defects or concerns that are identified. Building Surveys are also useful for homes that have been extensively modified or need to undergo renovation, as they will look closely at the performance of old and new construction materials to recommend necessary maintenance or alteration.

Building Surveys include a thorough, visual inspection of all accessible areas of the house. Although your surveyor won’t be able to force their way into locked cupboards or move furniture around, they will carefully look around each room, go into loft spaces and check any outbuildings.

Your report will contain a detailed description of each property feature and any observed defects. With a Building Survey, the surveyor will make recommendations about repair options, next steps and the likely consequences of inactivity. Should they notice anything that might concern your legal advisors or pose a serious threat to health or safety, this will be noted too.

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