Building Surveying
Apr 30, 2024

The Importance of a Structural Engineer Survey

When purchasing any property, it is important to ensure that the structure is safe and sound. Usually, the survey is...

When purchasing any property, it is important to ensure that the structure is safe and sound. 

Usually, the survey is carried out by specialists in the area such as structural engineers who take their time to inspect every aspect of the building’s structure. They assess the durability, strength and state of the property mainly focusing on key aspects such as foundations, walls, roof and floors. The survey helps buyers make informed decisions about the safety and stability of the purchased property through the identification of any existing defects or potential structural issues.

Ultimately, having a Structural Engineer Survey provides satisfaction in knowing that your purchase meets acceptable standards for structural safety in terms of giving confidence to buyers.

However, several factors determine how much it will cost you for a structural engineer survey such as how complex your project is, what size your property is, and where it is located.

This blog will discuss some recent reports and news about the cost of structural engineer surveys in the UK. We will touch on things like the average cost of one, what they cover in those surveys and who is responsible for making payments.

Average Cost of a Structural Engineer Survey

According to Checkatrade the average cost of a structural engineer survey stands at £700 while a site visit costs approximately £300. Nevertheless, prices may vary depending on the size, age, or location relative to other properties.

An engineer’s report ranges between £600-£650 at the bare minimum for property values below £500,000. Beyond this property value the cost of a structural engineer survey can be £700-800 on average.

What is Included in a Structural Engineer Survey?

A structural engineer survey typically deals with a specific loadbearing wall and how it can be taken down/supported. It is not to be confused with a full building survey (formerly known as a “full structural survey” to make matters confusing) which is carried out by a building surveyor in respect of assessing the overall condition of a property you are looking to buy. A structural engineer’s report on the other hand is carried out by a structural engineer and typically makes calculations in respect of one part of the property you are looking to assess for safety or renovation.

In contrast to a structural engineer survey, a full building survey is a comprehensive inspection of the whole of a property's structure, including its durability, strength, and condition. The surveyor will look at the property’s foundations, walls, roof and floors among other structural aspects. It is also prudent for a building surveyor to look out for signs of subsidence or dampness. Furthermore, the building surveyor will provide an extensive report listing all the problems found as well as suggestions on remedial actions.

Who Should Pay for a Structural Engineer Survey?

Who pays for structural engineer surveys? This depends on whether you are buying or selling property:

  • Buying Property: usually, if you want to buy a house, then it becomes your responsibility to find and pay for a qualified structural engineer. By doing so, this survey enables you to understand what condition the property is being sold under and evaluate if it could make sense financially.
  • Selling a Property: conversely if you are the one selling a property you might have to arrange and pay for the survey so as to provide information to the potential buyers who are curious to know more about issues they may already be aware of (possibly after the full building survey they commissioned). 

In simple terms, whether it’s buying or selling, the responsibility of footing the bill of an engineer structural report usually falls on those who require them. Buyers typically bear costs when they need information about how well-maintained houses are but sellers can pay for these to boost their confidence.

Latest Reports and News

As per HomeOwners Alliance (2016) there are various factors affecting the cost of a structural engineer survey including project complexity and hours deployed on it. More hours spent in assessment means increased fee outlay by owner(s). The following table provides some rough estimates regarding how much different types of assessments would cost:

Table 1.1: Cost of a Structural Engineer in 2024

Nevertheless remember that these figures are only general estimates; therefore charges differ depending on size age location among many other factors.

Summary Differences

Structural engineer reports tend to focus on loadbearing capacity and develop the respective calculations whereas a full building survey is a comprehensive inspection of the entire property that goes beyond a single component. 

A full building survey is an essential step in the buying process of the property as it assures the overall safety and structural integrity of the complete building whereas a structural engineer report is more suitable to one feature of the building you are concerned about in respect of safety or renovation.

Cost of building surveys can vary depending on several factors like size, age and location of properties with the responsibility of paying for the report usually falling on the buyer. Structural engineer survey prices, however, are contingent upon project complexity and time spent working on it and are usually paid for by the homeowner.