Building Surveys

A Level 3: Building Survey is the highest visual inspection carried out by a RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Building Surveyor. The type of survey you choose depends on the style of property you are buying and RICS state a Building Survey is suitable for:

  • larger properties;
  • older properties built around Edwardian/Victorian and older or rundown;
  • unique or altered buildings such as a cottages or thatched roofs; or
  • if you are planning major works.

Download an example Level 3: Building Survey

Building Surveys used to be called a Full Structural Survey. The focus of the service is to provide a thorough review of any current or potential defects and are non-intrusive (this means that a surveyor won't be pulling up floorboards or drilling holes in walls unless they get prior written consent from the seller allowing them to do so and agreeing to make good any damage).

Their level of detail, however, and greater expense means that for the following properties, a less comprehensive survey will normally be more than adequate:

  • a flat; or
  • a bungalow; or;
  • a standard construction house built after 1960.

For these types of property you need to get a HomeBuyer Report and you can read more about it here - HomeBuyer Report.

*RICS Surveyors – Local Knowledge – Same Week Availability
Want help now? Call us on 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply)

Proud of our reviews

Panel of regulated Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Surveyors, local knowledge and at competitive prices.

I agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Sections of the Building Survey

What is inspected?

A. Introduction to the report

Declaration that the HomeBuyer Survey is conducted by a RICS surveyor

B. About the inspection

Details of the property

C. Overall opinion and summary of the condition ratings

General overview of the property

D. About the property

Details number of rooms, age, type

E. Outside the property

Chimney stack, roof covering, rainwater pipes & gutters, main walls, windows, outside doors, conservatory & porches, other joinery & finishes

F. Inside the property

Roof structure, ceilings, walls & partitions, floors, fireplaces, chimney breasts & flues, built-in fittings (kitchens but not appliances), woodwork, bathroom fittings.

G. Services

Electricity, gas/oil, water, heating, water heating, drainage, common services.

H. Grounds (including shared areas for flats)

Limitations (reasons why they couldn’t be inspected), garage

I. Issues for your legal advisers

Regulation, guarantees

J. Risks

Risks to building, risks to grounds, risks to people

K. Energy Efficiency

Review of energy efficiency of property

L. Surveyor’s declaration

Information about RICS Building Surveyor

What to do now

Standard information

Description of the RICS Building Survey Service

Standard information

Typical house diagram

Standard information

Does the survey inspect for subsidence or asbestos?
The surveyor will aim to identify if there are any signs of subsidence or asbestos inside the property. If there are signs of either, then this is flagged in your report and you will be advised to seek specialist advice. Read more about Subsidence and Asbestos here.

Building Survey Costs

The costs are more than for a standard HomeBuyer Report due to the additional work which is included within the survey. The cost can also vary depending on where your property is and which surveyor you use. Surveyors normally decide on the Building Survey's cost by how much the property is selling for or how many rooms it has.

Our Building Surveys cost from £600 Inc VAT and are fixed regardless of the area of the country. We'll review the property with you over the phone and provide a competitive fixed cost for your property survey along with a confirmation of when the survey is likely to take place - subject to access.

Building Survey Report Format?

The Building Survey can be delivered in one of two formats. It is either hand written in the surveyor's own chosen format or it it is delivered in the RICS standard format that has defects are graded by a traffic light colours.

Condition rating 3 – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.
Condition rating 2 – defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.
Condition rating 1 – no repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.
NI – not inspected.

If the surveyor is unable to view any parts of the property they’ll make a note of this in their report which is why it is important the estate agent and the seller give access to all areas in the property.

The surveyor provides a list of work required to be completed on the property. Some surveyors will include the cost of repairs, and others won't. Make sure to check with you building surveyor to confirm if they include the costs within their quote or if they charge an extra fee.

Book your Building Survey

All of our surveyors are RICS regulated with years of experience working on all ages and types of properties throughout England. With over a 100 surveyors we’ll have a local surveyor near to your property able to give you the reassurance you need to buy your home.

If you would like to book a Building Survey you can call our head office on 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply) and we’ll arrange the access and get the survey booked for the earliest possible time.

*RICS Surveyors – Local Knowledge – Same Week Availability
Want help now? Call us on 0333 344 3234 (local call charges apply)

Related News Articles

HomeBuyer Surveys
What type of survey do I need
Conveyancing Process

FREE Online Conveyancing Process for Buyers

Includes online checklists, videos, downloads and tips - plus it is completely free to use from start to finish and saves your progress along the way.