Home Buyers Survey
Should we go for a Full Structural Survey, Building Survey or HomeBuyer Report on a home in UK and which is cheaper?
The Full Structural Survey has been renamed by RICS as a Building Survey, although it is essentially the same level of survey.
If the UK property is an apartment, or is 100 or more years old, or has been substantially modified, or is of non standard construction, RICS advise the cheaper Building Survey.
If you are planning to do any major works on the UK property, you should you go for a Building Survey. The Building Survey is less cheap but it will offer an in-depth analysis of the UK property's condition as well as advice on defects as well as maintenance options .
For more detailed advice get a UK Home Survey Quote via our website or call 0800 038 6667 to speak to our survey team.
What is a home survey, and what will the surveyor actually do?
There are three main types of home buyers survey, the HomeBuyer Report, the Building Survey and the Property Valuation Report. Each of these has a different focus, so buyers should consider which of the three is the right choice for them:
HomeBuyer Report - A general survey of a home, including any visible defects or issues. If the property to be surveyed is of standard construction, and was built after 1900, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recommend that the HomeBuyer Report is usually the best choice. The report is delivered in a standardised format for easy reference. The HomeBuyer Report includes a valuation.
Building Survey - A more in-depth survey of a property, including all accessible areas of a home. RICS recommend the building survey for older properties, or those of non-standard construction. Building survey reports are tailored by the individual surveyor, and can address any additional questions or concerns. Note that this home buyers survey does not include a valuation as standard.
Property Valuation Report - The most basic of the three, this report is primarily a valuation, and will not include details of particular defects.
For more detail please see the detailed survey comparison table.
Will the surveyor look at parapet walls during a home buyers survey?
Parapets are where the wall extends above the roof line, primarily as a means to prevent the spread of fire. Parapets can be especially problematic - so much so surveyors have coined the phrase 'parapetitus'. They are particularly common on Victorian and Georgian homes. The top of the wall can suffer from moisture problems if left as exposed brick so a suitable non water permeable cap should be fitted.
The surveyor will ensure that these are fitted and not dislodged during a street level inspection of the roof. The Home surveyor will also ensure that the lead flashing that provides a waterproof seal between the brick and the roof has not been compromised. Often the internal wall is rendered and this render is prone to cracking and flaking away. This too can lead to damp issues. The surveyor will check for cracking, efflorescence, brick spalling, and displacement and these will be reported in the Homebuyer report or building survey.
Parapet walls are particularly vulnerable to the elements (wind and rain) as both sides of the wall are exposed. This can result in a cycle of expansion and contraction that produce cracks which if left, can worsen due to water ingress, ultimately leading to damp.
Does a qualified surveyor give details on the state of repair of the gas installations?
Yes. A chartered surveyor will visually check any easily accessible parts of the gas system. This will include gas (and oil heaters) for instance, in addition to gas affiliated fittings for example - chimney linings. However, the UK surveyor won't remove any fittings and he or she won't carry out any tests on the system or appliances. Needless to say, gas is potentially hazardous, should you have any concerns relating to gas installations, call a gas safe engineer.
When buying a derelict Victorian detached property, is it best to order a full structural survey?
The Full Structural Survey has been renamed as a Building Survey. Go for the Building Survey if you are thinking of buying the house outlined. The HomeBuyer Report is appropriate if buying a 60 year old or less UK property of normal construction materials.
There are some restrictions exist with any survey as a qualified RICS surveyor is not in a position to force or open up the structure of the UK house for example, or inspect where doing so could cause damage to the house.