Oakfield Building Chartered Surveyors

Do you require a Structural Survey?

A Structural Survey is the most comprehensive of the home surveys. Often referred to as the Level 3 RICS survey or building survey, this type of survey gives you a detailed analysis of the condition of the property. The term structural survey is also sometimes used to refer to a Structural Inspection which is a different from a Structural Survey.

What is a full Structural Survey?

A full Structural Survey, or RICS Level 3 Building Survey, is a thorough inspection of the property, designed to give you detailed information on its condition and to identify issues which affect or could in future affect the integrity and value of the property. It gives you details you can use to inform your decision as to whether to proceed with the purchase of a property. A full Structural Survey is carried out by a chartered surveyor, who must be RICS-accredited. It combines visual assessments with specialist checks, such as tests for dampness.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a regulatory body which sets professional standards for the land and property development and building surveying sector. Choosing a surveyor regulated by the RICS gives you the assurance that the advice you are given is from trained and qualified professionals with relevant expertise and experience. Oakfield Chartered Surveyors is certified by the RICS, so you can have complete confidence when you choose our services for your structural survey.

Structural Survey
Beaconsfield Surveyors
Loft Survey
Survey of Windows

Looking for a Structural Survey?

We are one of the leading Chartered Surveyors covering London, Beaconsfield Buckinghamshire, Marlow and Oxfordshire and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality building surveys.
Contact us to discuss your requirements further.

Beaconsfield Chartered Surveyor

What is a Structural Inspection?

A Structural Inspection is a survey carried out to investigate a specific problem or suspected problem. It is usually conducted by a structural engineer, rather than a chartered surveyor and will not always cover the entire property, but instead may focus on a particular aspect of the building’s structure.

You will need the property owner’s permission to have a structural inspection carried out. A structural inspection will usually start with a visual assessment, but will generally also need to involve invasive investigations. This could consist of work such as lifting up floorboards to examine joists underneath or digging trial holes to expose and assess foundations.

A general Structural Inspection will examine the condition of load-bearing parts of the property, including floors, roof structure, load-bearing walls (both internal and external), beams, lintels and columns. The surrounding site will also be assessed for potential impacts on the building, for example, trees which are growing in close proximity to the property could be a potential risk to the integrity of the building’s foundations.

A specific Structural Inspection will examine a particular aspect of the building’s structure. This could have been identified as a potential problem from the general assessment as part of a general Structural Inspection, or it could have been noted as part of a building survey by a chartered surveyor. A specific Structural Inspection may also be required if you discover a structural defect in your own property. An insurance company may require a Structural Inspection to assess the problem and estimate remedial costs for the building.

What does a structural survey look for?

The aim of the Structural Survey is to find any problems or faults in the property. These problems could include damp walls, damage to the roof, or defects in the electrical wiring. Your surveyor will use specialist equipment to carry out tests for damp. As part of the inspection, the surveyor will look for signs of problems with timber, such as dampness, rot and woodworm.

The Structural Survey report includes a description of the nature of the property, both building and land, and gives an overview of the location. It details the type of construction, including the materials used.

A Structural survey can be tailored to meet your requirements, but as a minimum, it should cover the following areas of the property:

• Walls
• Windows
• Roof
• Floors
• Doors
• Timber
• Cellar
• Garage
• Permanent outbuildings
• Plumbing
• Electrical wiring

A structure survey will also look for signs of subsidence and will assess risk factors such as flooding, noise pollution radon levels. The means of escape from the property will also be assessed, to identify whether there are adequate ways to exit the building in the event of an emergency, such as a fire.

You may be able to customise house surveys to include checks on party walls, or you could arrange a separate party wall inspection, to make sure that there are no issues relating to shared walls, either within the property or on the land with a neighbouring property. At Oakfield, we have chartered surveyors with specialist expertise in managing party wall issues.

Full Structural Survey

Looking for a Structural Surveyor?

We are one of the leading Chartered Surveyors covering London, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Our team is dedicated to providing the highest quality building surveys.
Contact us to discuss your requirements further.

What is not covered in full structural surveys?

A Structural Survey is classified as a non-destructive inspection. This means that the surveyors who carry out this type of inspection are not permitted to investigate areas which are not accessible without causing material disruption. For example, surveyors may not take up floorboards as part of the inspection, but they are allowed to move furniture in order to access parts of the property they want to inspect. If there are suspected defects in an area of the property which is inaccessible, this will be mentioned in the building survey report.

How we mitigate survey restrictions

With advancements in technology, it is becoming easier for our surveyors to assess the condition of even the less easily accessible parts of a property. Drones can be used very effectively to capture images and footage of inaccessible parts of the building or land. This allows your surveyor to inspect these elements remotely and identify any issues. We can also use the data to assess whether further investigation, for example, with an invasive inspection, may be necessary.

Pole-mounted cameras are another option for inspecting hard-to-reach areas for any defects. High-quality cameras are fitted on reinforced telescopic poles, which can extend to several metres, in some cases over 10 metres long, and can be used for high-level areas both internally and externally.

Optional elements to add to a full Structural Survey

Valuation: A Structural Survey does not include a valuation as standard, but this can be added to the building survey if needed. If you are planning to purchase the property with a mortgage, you are likely to be required to have a valuation undertaken so that the mortgage provider has assurances of the value of the property.

Reinstatement Estimate: Your surveyor can arrange to include an estimate of reinstatement costs. You may need these details when you arrange an insurance policy for the property.

Is it worth getting a structural survey?

It is very important to have a survey prior to making a commitment to purchasing a property. The Structural Survey is designed to minimise the risks you are exposed to when you purchase a property. If you don’t arrange a survey, you are effectively choosing to buy the property “blind” because you have no assurances that the condition of the property is as it appears, and you cannot be sure of the structural integrity of the building. Without a survey, you run the risk of discovering defects in the property further down the line when you have already purchased the property. This could lead to costly bills for repairs and could even mean that you find you own a property which is very difficult to sell on, for example, if you discover a problem affecting the property structurally, such as subsidence.

Investing in a Structural Survey means you have a clear picture of the state of the property before you proceed with the purchase. This gives you the opportunity to propose a price reduction if extensive and costly work is required for the property. Alternatively, it gives you the chance to walk away from the deal and find a more suitable property.

A Structural Survey can be conducted for any property, but it is strongly recommended for anyone considering buying an older or listed property. It is also advisable for a house which has been extended or has had major structural work carried out to it, and for houses located in an area where there are known to be issues which have affected other properties, such as flooding.

For newer properties with no known faults and no extensions, a Homebuyer Report may be adequate. However, there is a risk with other properties that this type of survey could leave some defects undiscovered, so we would always advise that you have a structural survey for any older property.

If you are uncertain about which type of survey you need, ask for advice from one of our surveyors, who will be happy to guide you and explain the advantages of each type of survey.

The cost for a building survey is likely to be between £750 and £2,000. Your surveyor will be able to give you a no-obligation estimate of fees for a Structural Survey for the property you are considering buying.

The exact cost of your property Structural Survey will be determined by the size and type of property as well as its location.

If there are known issues with the property you may need to expand the scope by adding more detailed and potentially invasive inspections to the survey, which will incur additional costs. For example, you may need a specific defect report to be added to the survey work. If there are concerns about a party wall, we may recommend that.

The time required to conduct a building survey will vary depending on a range of factors, such as the size and age of the property. It will usually take between a half and a full day to complete the on-site inspection work, and you can expect the survey report to be prepared for you within around 5 days from the date of the survey. Once you have made an offer on the property, you will want to know the details of its condition as soon as possible, so get in contact with us as soon as possible so that we can get the process underway and make arrangements for a member of our team to visit the property and conduct the house survey.

Why choose Oakfield Chartered Surveyors

Oakfield Chartered Surveyors is proud to be an independently owned practice of chartered surveyors, providing a range of surveying and valuation services for clients across the home counties and London. RICS regulation assures you of our high standards of professionalism and expertise. Our team of building surveyors has a wealth of experience, combined with extensive local knowledge. We work closely with you to make sure that the building surveys we carry out will give you the information you need to guide you with your property purchase. Contact us to find out more about how we can support you with your property decisions, and to arrange your Structural Survey.

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