Oakfield Building Chartered Surveyors

What is a Level 3 Building Survey?

The Level 3 Building Survey is a comprehensive assessment of the condition of a property. It is the most in-depth property report we provide, giving you the information you need to help you decide whether to proceed with buying the house or apartment you are considering. It is sometimes referred to as a full structural survey, or an RICS Home Survey Level 3.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is responsible for promoting and enforcing high standards and qualifications in the construction and property sector and is a globally respected authority on surveying. RICS surveys can only be carried out by RICS-qualified surveyors. This assures you of the quality of the inspection and report. At Oakfield Chartered Surveyors all our surveyors are RICS-qualified, offering you the highest standards of professionalism combined with extensive experience and a focus on customer service.

Building Survey from Oakfield Chartered Surveyors

What is covered in a full structural survey?

The Building Surveys Level 3 cover the following areas:

Review of other risk factors, including:

The report is broken down into sections covering the internal and external conditions of the property. It also lists all problems identified at the inspection, as well as potential problems from hidden defects and areas which cannot be fully investigated. Recommendations for how to address issues and how urgently this should be done are provided in the report.

Other aspects which can be covered in a structural survey

For houses or apartments which include land as part of the property, the survey can also include checks for the presence of Japanese knotweed and other invasive plant species in the garden. Costs for having Japanese knotweed removed can run into thousands of pounds, so this is an important check.

Limitations of a Level 3 Building Survey

As a non-destructive inspection, the 3 Level Building Survey has some limitations in its scope. The survey is restricted to assessing the property without causing any damage to the fabric of the building. For example, building surveyors may move furniture, but are not permitted to lift floorboards or carry out an invasive investigation behind walls.

Cameras mounted on telescopic poles can allow surveyors to inspect areas as much as 10 metres above what they would otherwise be able to reach. Additionally, drones can be used to take images of areas which are not accessible to the building surveyor, so that these areas can be checked for defects.

Chimney Part of Building Survey

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What additional surveys may be needed for the property?

If the Building Survey highlights issues or suspected issues which cannot be fully investigated in a non-invasive inspection, the report may recommend that you arrange for further investigations to be carried out. This may be done through a Specific Defect Survey.

What is a Specific Defect Report?

When there is a suspected or known issue which needs further exploration, a Specific Defect Report can provide a more detailed inspection and analysis of the problem. Issues which are commonly investigated with a Specific Defect Report include:

• Condensation
• Cracks and distortions
• Damp
• Defective workmanship
• Insulation
• Leaks

The report will give a diagnosis of the problem, known or suspected causes, and recommendations for action to take to deal with the problem.

Damp Window Building Survey

If the property you are considering buying is not modern or a new build, we would recommend a Level 3 Building Survey. For any older properties, buildings with a complex design, listed buildings or properties in poor condition or with known issues, the in-depth assessment of the Level 3 Building Survey is what you need. This will give you the assurance that the survey has covered as many aspects of the building as possible with a non-invasive inspection.


The Level 2 Homebuyers Survey requires less time on site, is lower cost, and is a popular option for newer homes, but it is not recommended for older properties. The Level 2 Homebuyer survey is ideal for modern properties, which generally means properties built in the last 50 years and new build homes. It is best suited to houses which have not had an extension added, and which are constructed from standard materials. The Homebuyer survey is shorter and does not have the same depth of inspection as the Level 3 Building Survey, so if there is any likelihood of defects at the property you are considering buying, we would suggest you opt for the more comprehensive Level 3 survey. Our surveyors are very happy to answer any questions you have about the different survey levels and offer advice as to which would be the most suitable for your circumstances.


The cost of your Level 3 RICS Survey will be determined by several factors specific to the property you are considering buying, including the size of the property, its location and whether there are any known issues. It will usually cost between £750 and £2,500. Speak to one of our team of building surveyors for further details of how much our structural surveys and other services cost.

It is well worth spending the time and money to have a house survey conducted on the property, as it could save you thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds in the long run. If structural issues go undetected and are discovered later on, once you are the owner of the property, you could find yourself facing very costly repair bills. You could also find that insurance premiums are significantly higher than expected when issues are uncovered, and it could make it harder for you to sell the property when you want to move on. Learn more about How to find a RICS surveyor.


The Building Survey report does not include a valuation as standard. If you need a valuation, for example, if one is required for a mortgage application, we can arrange that for you. There will be an additional charge for our valuation service.

A reinstatement figure is not included in the Building Survey, but if you need to have a reinstatement value for your home insurance, we can add this service to your building survey package.


It is important that you have a survey carried out prior to making any property purchase. For most people, a house purchase is the most significant financial investment we will ever make. So it makes sense to seek a professional opinion on its condition and whether the purchase is the right decision. The aim of the survey is to give you reliable information about the state of the property. You can then use this information as a basis for deciding whether to go ahead with buying the property.

Once you have the survey report you will have a full picture of any defects and the estimated costs for repair work. If there are different options for addressing the problems identified, these will be outlined in the report, and you can decide which approach would work best for you. The report will also identify which repairs are urgent and which can be delayed if necessary, and undertaken with general ongoing maintenance of the property. It will also detail the consequences if no action is taken to deal with the issues identified in the report. Armed with this information, you can decide whether you still wish to proceed with the purchase at the original price, renegotiate the price, or walk away from the purchase.

In most cases Level 3 Building Surveys are likely to be the best option. Unless you are purchasing a modern home with no known issues, we recommend the Level 3 Building Survey because it gives you more detailed information on the condition of the property. The more comprehensive inspection offers the best opportunity to uncover any issues with the building or land.


Although there is no legal requirement to have a survey carried out before buying a property, it is very risky to proceed with this kind of purchase without the information you can gain from a thorough inspection of the property.


As soon as you have instructed us to carry out a survey on the property, we will contact the vendor or selling agent to arrange a suitable time to visit the site. The Level 3 Building Survey usually takes between four to eight hours for the property inspection. Following the site visit your surveyor will prepare a comprehensive report, recording all the details of the survey and preparing a list of recommendations for any remedial work required, together with suggested priorities and timescales. The report is usually ready within a few days. Provided it has been possible for the site inspection to be arranged with the vendor promptly, you should receive your survey report within one week.


Services provided by Oakfield Chartered Surveyors

At Oakfield Chartered Surveyors we have a team of highly qualified and experienced building surveyors. Our RICS certification assures you of our excellent professional standards in all our surveying and valuation services. With offices in London and Beaconsfield, we pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of local issues in the region. We are here to support you through your house buying decision, providing you with the information you need to make sure you have a clear picture of what you are buying, and any associated risks and costs. Whether you are a seasoned property buyer or just making your first step onto the property ladder, we can help you through the process and make sure you are in a position to make informed choices.

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