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Snagging Survey

(Last Updated: 21/09/2023)
8 min read
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Key Takeaways
  • A snagging survey is generally carried out on new build properties, in order to make sure that they are built to a high standard.
  • You can get this survey either before you move in, or post completion.
  • Its aim is to pick up any 'snags' on the property that the house builder needs to address. You can check the pictures below as an example.

You get a snagging survey, or snagging list, when you want to identify defects in a property and get them corrected.

They are particularly associated with new build properties. You instruct your new build snagging survey once your developer serves you with a notice that the property is built; alternatively you may do this at any time during the first 2 years of the property’s warranty period.

The objective is to ensure the new build is built to a quality and a standard that was sold to you and if not, highlight what the developer needs to make good.

Snagging reports have become more prominent in the news because of the rise in popularity of buying newly-built flats off-plan – meaning they weren’t even built when the buyer initially started the buying process with the developer – which exposes the buyers to snags in the finish of the property.

Why get a snagging list survey?

You hire a building surveyor to carry out a snagging inspection to ensure that the new build property you’re in the process of buying matches the plans and specifications which the developer set down for it and is generally finished to a high standard.

In common with a standard home buyers survey, it is well worth you hiring a professional because they examine all aspects of the build and fabric of the property with an experienced eye. 

Given the amount of money you are spending, you should do as much as you can to ensure that what you’re intending to buy is worth it.

An experienced RICS surveyor is able to pick out faults, whether they are more traditional defects, such as subsidence, or more subtle – but very annoying – faults such as broken tiles, leaking showers and generally bad finishing. They will then present them in a snagging report.

What are the worst things to spot in a snagging survey?

It’s impossible to list all possible snags that might be noted in a survey, however we've pictured some actual snags observed in real inspections below.

Other commonly-observed faults and shortcomings include cracked tiles, leaking boilers and sloppy painting.

You can read more about these matters and other facts of interest in the following article about new build homes.
Snagging Survey - Kitchen Sink not Sealed Properly and Sponge Showing

1. Kitchen sink not sealed properly
Snagging Survey - Cracked Carcass under Kitchen Sink

2. Cracked carcass under kitchen sink
Snagging Survey - Painting Incomplete where Polyfilla has been used

3. Painting incomplete where poly-filla used
Snagging Survey - Wall Scuffs and Dents

4. Wall scuffs and Dents
Snagging Survey - Painting Incomplete

5. Painting Incomplete
Snagging Survey - Skirting Board Not Flush to the Flooring

6. Skirting board not flush to flooring

New Builds are exempt from most UK consumer protection legislation

UK new homes are excluded from the majority of consumer protection legislation, for example the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. For many other goods, a buyer would normally be able to order that any defects were put right in 14 days, and have the right to use another contractor if the original developer were unable to do this.

However, the providers of warranties for new builds, such as those offered by the National House Building Council, although they provide a dispute resolution service, insist that developers be given 8 weeks to solve defects.

This puts matter on the same level with most other matters related to buying and selling property, where caveat emptor – or ‘let the buyer beware’ – is the guiding principle. This gives even more reason for a new build buyer to hire a chartered surveyor to carry out a survey.

What types of snagging survey are there?

    Pre-completion New House Snagging Report
As it sounds, you hire your chartered surveyor to examine the property pre-completion. This way, if there are any major faults, you can negotiate with the developer before you hand over your completion monies.

    Post-completion snagging report
This occurs once you’ve moved in and had time to notice more subtle mistakes and deviations from what you were told you were buying. As stated, you’d normally get this type of survey in the first 2 years after buying the property and within the period that the developer has guaranteed the property.

Obviously the longer you live in the property, the less chance you have of holding a developer responsible for property defects because the property’s occupiers are causing wear and tear and guarantees eventually expire.

Snagging Survey Cost

The cost for a snagging list is less than for a HomeBuyer Report or a Building Survey, however not much less. Instead of concentrating on wear-and-tear defects, it focuses on build quality and whether a property has been completed to a reasonable standard. It ranges from £499 INC VAT upward and the defects found could save you in excess of this in repairs that the developer should pay for.

We have local RICS surveyors throughout England and provide:
  • Specialist New Build RICS surveyors
  • Photos of all defects
  • Detailed reports

Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written 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.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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