Pre-Georgian farmhouse building in the countryside. SAM Conveyancing's guide to farm building surveys
Are you buying a traditional farmhouse?
Getting a Level 3 Survey before making your purchase could save you thousands in repairing costs.

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Farm Building Survey

(Last Updated: 17/05/2024)
4 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Traditional farmhouses, especially if built prior to 1850, might be classed as listed buildings and thus will require a Level 3 Survey.
  • It is important to get a survey on this type of property because due to its age, it can hide multiple issues which can be expensive to fix.
  • While they're generally made from brick or stone build, old traditional farmhouses can often have hidden features. Their exterior design could have been updated to suit the changing trends and you can often find timber frames underneath the brick. A proper farm building survey will inspect for this.

What do traditional farmhouses look like?
Historically, farmhouses weren't purely built for residential purposes. Instead, rooms inside the house were converted to serve a local agricultural purpose (i.e. dairy room). As a result, traditional farmhouses will be bigger in size than the cottages you can find in the countryside. It is also common for these properties to have other adjacent buildings.

These types of properties can usually be recognised by their pitched roofs and large number of small windows. They will also usually have brick chimneys. The walls of a farmhouse will generally be built from stone or brick. However, the exterior aspect of these buildings will have been updated across the years, to suit the changing trends.

For this reason, some historic farmhouses can sometimes hide timber frames underneath their stone or brick walls. Oftentimes, the previous owner might not even be aware of this.

Is a full building survey worth it?

We always recommend getting a full building survey when purchasing a property and a farmhouse building survey, especially, is an essential step. A RICS surveyor will be able to properly investigate the house and its adjacent buildings and spot any hidden features, like timber frames.

Improper care can cause the timber to rot or for damp to penetrate and compromise the structural integrity of the building. Aside from specific issues with this type of property, you still need a survey to check for any common property defects.

What issues are associated with farms?

  • Subsidence - the foundation of a property, especially if old, can shift in time. A property with a compromised structural integrity is dangerous for you to live in.
  • Damp - older properties may not even have a damp proof course, which can lead to damp penetrating and damaging your property, like rot in your window frames)
  • Woodworm - if your farm has timber frames, a woodworm infestation can cause serious damage. If the timber frames are hidden by stone or brick, you might not even be aware that you have a problem. This means that by the time it is revealed, the damage might be too serious/expensive to fix.

Traditional farmhouses are a great opportunity for homebuyers who want a property with character and most times, they will come with outbuildings attached, or even extra plots of land. However, because of their historical heritage, you might find that your farmhouse is a listed building. In this case, your farm building survey will have to be a Level 3 Survey.

What is included in a full building survey?

Your full farm building survey will include the following:
  • Roof and loft space inspection

  • Review of drains

  • Assessment for suspicions of subsidence or asbestos

  • Testing for Damp

  • Property valuation and reinstatement value

  • Inspects the communal area nearby

  • External review of the property

  • Review of utilities (gas and electric)

How much does a full structural survey cost?

Our full structural survey fees start at £400 EXC VAT. The final cost depends on the type and size of your property, but all our fees are fixed. You can request a quote using the form below.

Frequently Asked Questions
Laura Cristian - Digital Marketing Assistant - Meet the team - SAM Conveyancing
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Laura has a talent for data analysis and fact-finding. She is an advertising graduate with a broad range of skills in the web marketing field within conveyancing sector. She works closely with our panel of solicitors and surveyors to understand our clients' needs and challenges and to write the most valuable content for you.
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

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