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What is a Structural Survey?

Dec 28, 2022

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Thank you for clicking on today’s property surveying blog post.  Today we are going to be looking at building surveying and pre-purchase surveys.

Pre-purchase surveys are a pivotal part of a home buyer’s property purchase process.  A pre-purchase survey will ensure that the purchaser is not only fully abreast of all the issues that lie within the property, they also have a full understanding of the relative risk associated with them, and the all important cost considerations to take into account.

Here at Stokemont, we fully understand that a property purchase is likely the most costly investment you will ever make.  You will therefore, want to make sure you not only understand what you are purchasing into, but also understand the cost risks that can come with that purchase.

A pre-purchase survey will ensure that an RICS qualified surveyor will visit your property purchase prior to shaking hands on the deal.  The RICS surveyor is going to be tasked with fully inspecting all parts and facets of the property.  The aim being to ensure that they can fully advise you on the existing condition of the property, whether that is in a good or bad order.

There are, generally speaking, two types of pre-purchase surveys on the market that will give you the necessary information to make a fully informed purchase decision.

RICS Home Buyer Report

An RICS Home Buyer Report is a mid level pre-purchase survey.  The survey will see the surveyor inspect and comment on all parts of the property, including:

External Parts

This will include, however is not limited to:

  • Roof
  • Walls
  • Drains
  • Gutters
  • Fascias
  • Gardens
  • Windows
  • Grounds

Internal Parts

This will include, however is not limited to:

  • Ceilings
  • Roof structure
  • Walls
  • Electrics
  • Gas
  • Installations
  • Heating
  • Hot water
  • Doors
  • Joinery

The aim being that you fully understand how all these various different installations are operating, whether they are in good order, in need of repair or in need of replacement.

Full Building Survey

A full building survey is commonly referred to as a Structural Survey or a Full Structural Survey.

A Full Building Survey, much like an RICS Home Buyer report will cover all the same bullet pointed items above.  However the only difference between the two surveys is that a Full Building Survey will go into significantly more detail when informing the client of the issues that the surveyor has located.

Here at Stokemont, we tend to recommend RICS Home Buyer reports for flats.  Equally we tend to recommend Full Building Surveys or Full Structural Surveys for houses.

Condition Rating System

Both reports will use a handy and easy to follow condition rating system.

This condition rating system will ensure that the reader of the report, and ultimately the property purchaser, fully understands the surveyors diagnostic when it comes to the issue being reported upon.  These condition ratings systems are set out as below:

Condition Rating 1: Green

This means that there is no repair currently needed – It’s the best outcome!

Condition Rating 2: Amber

This means that the item being inspected has a defect that requires repairing or replacing.  However, it is worth noting that the defect is not considered to be serious or urgent. – This is a medium rating confirming that the item may need attention at some point in the near future.

Condition Rating 3: Red

This means there are defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently – This is the worst rating possible and will mean urgent attention and likely cost is required.

Stokemont Cost Rating System

Here at Stokemont, we firmly believe that a pre-purchase survey is one of the most key and pivotal parts of the building surveying profession.

It will not only give our clients the opportunity to understand what they are buying into, it will importantly give them full facts when it comes to their cost planning in respect of the planned property purchase. 

The last thing they will want to do is stretch themselves financially, to only find out when they move in that there’s a raft of issues and hidden costs that they may not have necessarily been aware of. 

This is a worst case scenario here at Stokemont, and therefore, we have developed and devised an industry first cost rating system.

Our cost rating system is set out as below:

Low Cost

These are costs towards the lower end of the spectrum. We’d classify these as less than £1,000.00.

Mid Cost

These are costs towards the mid end of the spectrum. We’d classify these as £1,000.00 – £5,000.00.

High Cost

These are costs towards the upper end of the spectrum. We’d classify these as more than £5,000.00.

We believe that the cost rating system will go the full distance in ensuring you are fully accommodated with the full financial facts.  Furthermore, we have found that our cost rating system is an excellent negotiating tool when it comes to re-negotiating the property price once you have received the report.  In many cases, property purchasers will always budget in some degree of remedial work and redecoration.

However, where there are more severe defects such as damp, structural issues, or subsidence, cost rating systems will give the buyer the all important information to go back to the seller and ultimately aim to renegotiate the price to take into account the issues located by the surveyor.

Here at Stokemont, we are very proud to undertake handfuls of pre-purchase surveys each and every week.  Over this time, we have inspected all types of properties from flats, maisonettes, semi-detached houses, terraced houses, detached houses and commercial properties. 

If you would like to discuss pre-purchase surveying matters with our team of experienced and qualified RICS building surveyors here at Stokemont, please feel free to get in touch with us today.  We will be more than happy to assist and advise you.

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