The Importance of Building Surveys: 5 Key Reasons You Need One

James Peck

James Peck

James has worked the residential property sector since 2005 with roles in Asset Management, Probate, Insurance, Party Wall Matters, Valuation and Building Surveying in both local and national areas having spent several years working within the London area and the Home Counties. James specialises in building surveying with a particular interest in non-traditional construction properties and historic buildings. James has an in-depth knowledge of residential buildings and provides clear and concise advice to clients.

Table of Contents

5 key reasons why you need a building survey

Buying a property isn’t just about getting the best price, but also about guaranteeing your future and investment. Before you allow yourself to be swayed by a property’s aesthetic allure or appealing layout, consider this: your new property could harbour hidden defects, unforeseen expenses, and potential health risks. This is where building surveys become essential.

 
 

Understanding Building Surveys and why they are important.

Building surveys play a vital role when purchasing a property, whether it’s a new home for you and your family or a commercial property. When it comes to assessing the condition of a building, identifying potential issues, and making informed decisions, understanding building surveys becomes paramount. These surveys are comprehensive examinations conducted by qualified professionals. It’s important to recognise that building surveys go beyond simple visual inspections; they involve a thorough evaluation of various aspects of a property’s infrastructure, including architecture, structure, electrical systems, roofing, fire protection, water management and safety measures. By engaging experts like Oakfield Building Surveyors to conduct a building survey, you can gain valuable insights into the current condition of a building.

  • According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), more than 20% of homebuyers rely solely on mortgage valuation surveys, thereby neglecting proper building surveys. This can lead to unexpected repair costs further down the line.
  • The same RICS report reveals that, on average, homeowners who did not commission a proper building survey ended up with unplanned renovation work costing nearly £5,750 after moving in.
  • Although precise figures are difficult to obtain, anecdotal evidence from industry professionals suggests that around 5-10% of buildings surveyed show serious structural defects which had not been identified prior to the survey.
 

What Does a Building Survey Include?

A building survey comprises a wide range of elements that are meticulously evaluated by Chartered Surveyors. The survey aims to provide an accurate assessment of the property’s condition and identify any existing or potential problems. In most instances, buyers tend to go for either the Level 2 Homebuyers report or the more thorough Level 3 Building Survey.

Typically, the survey begins with an examination of the existing building. This includes reviewing architectural plans, specifications, records of extensions or alterations made to the property over time.

Moreover, exterior envelopes such as party walls and masonry are thoroughly examined for any signs of deterioration or structural issues. The presence of hazardous materials like asbestos-containing materials (ACM) is also assessed to ensure proper management.

Overall, a comprehensive building survey provides crucial information about the condition of a property and serves as a foundation for decision-making prior to purchasing.

 

Building Surveyors

We are one of the leading Chartered Surveyors covering London, 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.

Target HCA
What is a Chartered Surveyor
Damp Window Building Survey
Homebuyers Survey Level 2

Role of a Qualified Building Surveyor

A qualified building surveyor plays a vital role in conducting thorough building surveys. These professionals have the expertise and knowledge required to assess the condition of a property, identify potential issues, and provide valuable recommendations for maintenance, repair and improvement. They are trained to conduct detailed inspections, assess structural integrity, review building systems, and ensure compliance with building regulations.

As part of their role, qualified building surveyors use their experience to thoroughly examine all aspects of a building, from its foundations to the roof. They employ various methods and tools to assess the condition of different components, such as electrical systems, plumbing, structural elements, and more. This comprehensive assessment enables them to provide an accurate view of a building’s current condition and identify any concerns or issues that need immediate attention.

Now that we understand the importance of qualified building surveyors and their role in carrying out thorough inspections, let’s explore five key reasons why you need a building survey for your property.

 

Five Key Reasons for a Building Survey

  1. Identifying Safety Concerns – One of the primary reasons for conducting a building survey is to identify any safety concerns within the property. A thorough inspection by a qualified surveyor can help uncover issues such as structural weaknesses, fire hazards, electrical problems, or hazardous materials that may pose risks to occupants. By addressing these concerns early on, you can ensure the safety of those using or occupying the building.
  2. Planning Extensions or Alterations – Before embarking on any projects, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the existing condition of the property. A building survey provides you with valuable insights into areas that may require repair or modification before commencing construction work. This not only helps you plan your project more effectively but also prevents any unexpected surprises or costly delays later on.
  3. Budgeting for Repairs and Maintenance – Building surveys provide you with a comprehensive overview of any underlying issues or maintenance needs within the property. Armed with this knowledge, you can accurately budget for repairs, replacements, and ongoing maintenance, ensuring that you are prepared for future expenses and able to prioritise essential repairs.
  4. Detecting Hidden Defects – Not all issues within a building are visible to the naked eye. A building survey utilises advanced techniques and tools to detect hidden defects that may not be apparent during a casual inspection. By uncovering these hidden problems early on, you can address them promptly and prevent them from escalating into major issues that could lead to costly repairs down the line.
  5. Protecting Your Investment – Whether you are purchasing or selling a property, a building survey is an essential step in protecting your investment. For buyers, it provides valuable information about the condition of the property, allowing them to make informed decisions before making a substantial financial commitment. For sellers, it helps identify any issues that need attention before putting the property on the market, ensuring transparency and potentially enhancing its overall value.
 
 

Selecting the Right Building Surveyor

When it comes to choosing a building surveyor, it’s essential to find the right professional who can meet your specific needs. Whether you are looking for a general building condition survey or a more specialised survey related to architectural, structural, electrical, or mechanical aspects, finding the right surveyor can make all the difference in the quality and accuracy of the assessment.

First and foremost, consider the qualifications and credentials of the building surveyor. Look for individuals who are members of recognised professional organisations such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or other relevant industry bodies. These affiliations demonstrate their commitment to upholding high standards and adhering to ethical guidelines.

Additionally, experience plays a crucial role in selecting the right building surveyor. Look for professionals who have extensive experience in conducting surveys similar to what you require. A seasoned surveyor will have encountered various types of buildings and potential issues, equipping them with valuable knowledge and expertise to identify problems accurately.

For instance, if you are considering purchasing an older heritage building, you would want a surveyor who has specific experience in assessing historical structures and understanding unique preservation considerations.

Another factor to consider is the range of services offered by the surveyor. Some may specialise in certain areas while others offer a broader range of expertise. Determine what specific services you need and ensure that the chosen surveyor has experience in those areas. This ensures that you receive a comprehensive report covering all important aspects relevant to your project or property.

Furthermore, take into account client reviews and testimonials. Feedback from past clients provides insights into the professionalism, communication skills, and overall satisfaction level of the surveyor’s work. Consider reaching out to references provided by the surveyor or researching online reviews to get a better idea of their reputation in the industry.

Lastly, don’t overlook the importance of good communication and rapport with your chosen building surveyor. Effective communication is crucial in understanding your requirements, discussing findings and recommendations and addressing any concerns you may have.

Remember, selecting the right building surveyor is an investment in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the survey report. Take the time to research and consider multiple options before making a decision. By doing so, you can have confidence that you have chosen a competent professional who will deliver a comprehensive evaluation of your property.

Oakfield Building Surveyors offers a range of property-related services including building surveys, homebuyer reports, defect inspections and reports, party wall matters, valuations and more. Our team of experienced and qualified surveyors prioritises client needs and provides expert advice throughout the process to ensure each customer receives personalised service that meets their individual needs. More information can be found at https://www.oakfieldsurveyors.co.uk/.

 
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