Building Surveying
Apr 30, 2024

What to Expect in a Building Survey Report

A building survey report is the most thorough building appraisal document that gives an overview of the state of a property.

A building survey report is the most thorough building appraisal document that gives an overview of the state of a property. It is usually done by an accredited building surveyor and helps both potential buyers or existing owners know about the condition of a property before they make decisions.

In this blog post, we will discuss what you should expect from a building survey report and how Survey Merchant can help you with this process.

Building Survey Report Checklist

Building surveys should cover everything about the property including its structure, condition and any possible faults it may have. Some key areas that must be covered in a building survey report include:

  • Structural appraisal: this normally requires looking at every single element like foundations, walls, roof, etc. in detecting structural flaws.
  • Dampness/Moisture Inspection: the surveyor tests for damp and checks for mold growth among other things.
  • Roofing and chimneys: for example, checking roofing materials, any leaks on your chimney etc., are some of things to consider.
  • Interior/Exterior: checking what inside and outside (e.g. both sides of the wall).
  • Energy audit: energy consumption and energy efficiency measures

Site Inspection and Structural Assessment

This involves inspecting external parts such as walls, roofs, windows, doors, etc. A careful examination tries to identify any weak points within these structures that may need prompt repair work carried out on them as soon as possible.

Furthermore, floors, ceilings and walls are checked for signs of moisture or water damage. The inspection also goes over electrical installations plus heating systems and plumbing (water supply) but without conducting specialist tests.

In addition, experts check that the property is safe from harmful substances like dangerous chemicals or asbestos if easily identifiable (although a building survey is not an asbestos survey). Any such issues identified in the building survey report may necessitate further investigation by specialist consultants.

Detailed Property Evaluation

A detailed property evaluation forms part of the Building Survey Report which is very important in providing relevant information about the condition of the premises. During this stage, the building surveyor examines everything within the structure provided it falls within their remit.

For instance, they can inspect cracks on the walls or any signs of water seepage. If these are not addressed in time, the situation will get worse. A good building survey should also take into consideration any shifting grounds or subsidence which may render the structure unsafe. There is a need for experienced surveyors to ensure that no leakages occur and drainage systems function properly as well. Otherwise, this may compromise the integrity of the soil. 

Repair Recommendations

This section on repair discusses defects found during the inspection that must be corrected. Not all repair works are emergencies; most are minor cases that do not need much attention paid to them. Nonetheless, what needs fixing most according to the buyer is their own decision. Check with your surveyor how much you need to prioritise the relevant repair.

For example, a broken gutter does not appear significant, but during heavy rain it can damage the house structure by way of flooding. The increased water volumes from roofs lacking proper drainage systems leads to adverse effects such as damp or ground movement.

So, what type of repairs could maintain security and comfort levels at your newly acquired house? Seek advice from a professional surveyor.

Benefits of a Building Survey Report

Building survey reports when buying or owning property can be life changing. Here is why:

  • A thorough inspection: the building survey report gives you the big picture of what you are getting into by providing an all-inclusive review about the overall condition of the property.
  • Savings: commissioning a survey may cost you some money but in future it will save you a lot. Early detection saves one from much more expensive repairs to be done in future. Moreover, the expert might as well advise on how to maintain your property, thus saving further.
  • Negotiating Leverage: buyers armed with information from the report could get better deals for themselves. So, after identifying issues from the survey, you can ask the seller to rectify them or even reduce prices.
  • Legal protection: a building survey can provide valuable information to your legal advisor.
  • Insurance benefits: many insurers demand evidence that your property is maintained properly before they offer cover. 

Understanding Survey Findings

However, to draw a complete conclusion from it, you must ascertain for sure how to deal with what is written there. Here are some tips on how to effectively interpret your building survey report:

Familiarise Yourself with Terminology

The terms used in building surveys are usually technical and unfamiliar. Take time to master the words often used by surveyors so that their reports make sense. Search for their meanings online or check our Glossary on the website.

Assess Risk Levels

Despite some defects or problems within the premises being indicated in the survey report, not all of them should be treated as emergencies. Analyse each case as per its severity and case priority then plan on how to address it.

Seek Professional Advice

Consult specialists relevant to any matter highlighted in the report (e.g. a certified electrician to check the electrics).

Seek Clarification

If something needs more explanation, contact the surveyor to have them explain it to you. They are obligated to run through the report with you if you request this.

Plan Follow-Up Inspections

The recommendations made in a survey report are relevant to future repairs and maintenance requirements. Consider planning routine follow-up examinations.

Cost Estimates in Building Survey Reports

This section of a building survey report is all about cost estimates, from minor plumbing and electrical works to more significant elements such as roofs and foundations, you want to ascertain the estimated cost of materials and labour. Cost estimates are not ordinarily included, but you can agree for the surveyor to give a guide price on these if you have agreed for them to do so. It usually costs you extra for them to do this and is not a mandatory requirement in a building survey report.

Survey Merchant Is Here to Help

A building survey report guides you to make good decision on property. With Survey Merchant, you can be matched with a professional surveyor suited to the relevant service required. The surveyors on our panel guarantee you an in-depth and accurate report. The surveyors also offer other services like energy performance certificates, Homebuyer reports and valuations. Our team is committed to providing excellent customer care, so contact us today for assistance with your building survey needs.