Full Building Surveys (Level 3)

Formerly referred to as a “Full Structural Survey”, the Building Survey (Level 3) is an exceptionally comprehensive pathology report.

Full Building Surveys (Level 3)

Our panel of surveyors have expertise ranging from standard dwellings to prime property for celebrities.

The surveyor meticulously scrutinizes both the structure and condition, both inside and outside of the building, from top to bottom, at a non-invasive level and where access is available. The report typically covers the following:

  • construction materials
  • movement
  • damp: capillary action, penetrating, and condensation
  • mould and timber rot
  • roofing and rainwater good
  • schimneys
  • loftspace
  • SVPs
  • ceilings
  • walls
  • windows
  • doors
  • floors
  • staircases
  • means of escape
  • drainage
  • foundations and basements
  • services (e.g. gas, water, electricity and heating), etc.
  • finishes
  • garages, conservatories & outbuildings
  • grounds

Searches are also conducted as relevant to environmental issues such as:

  • soil type
  • flood risk
  • radon
  • air quality
  • noise or flight paths
  • landfill
  • mining
  • bomb sites
  • EMF factors, etc.

Additionally, information on hazardous materials is provided. References to legal matters are made for the attention of your solicitor as well.

Frequently asked questions

What makes a full building survey worthwhile?

A Level 3 Building Survey is classed by RICS as the most detailed type. It goes beyond merely identifying visible defects. The report describes potential issues and outlines repair options, as well as the likely consequences of inaction.


The ground levels behind a property have recently been elevated, obstructing sub-floor vents. Although the defects may not be immediately evident, the report explains the risks associated with impeding cross-ventilation and bridging the damp-proof course (DPC). This includes an increased risk of rot and infestation. A suggested remedy might be to lower the ground levels, but a more cost-effective alternative could include installing an open channel and additional vents. 

If the mortgage valuer has visited, should I still get a building survey?

Yes. Mortgage valuations do not focus on the property condition. Rather, they are there to value the property for lending purposes. Their report is unlikely to cover all significant defects and maintenance issues, which may cost you a substantial amount of time, money and hassle to take care of.

How much can I save?

A study confirmed that those who do not commission a building survey end up being lumbered with £6,000 in repair costs on average. Moreover, 17% of those buyers end up with costs exceeding £12,000.

Such a scenario could have been avoided by obtaining a building survey beforehand and then using it to get the vendor to undertake the repairs themselves or lower the asking price.

Why do I need a building survey?

Engaging the services of a professional surveyor is extremely helpful to the buying and selling process or for maintenance reasons. Examples of benefits include:

  • mortgage: mortgage companies typically mandate a survey (plus a valuation), ensuring compliance with their requirements.
  • peace of mind: for homeowners, a survey serves as a safeguard against unforeseen issues, particularly in the case of older properties. This enables better future-planning.
  • renegotiation: identifying property issues may warrant a renegotiation of the asking price. For instance, if addressing a damp issue requires substantial expenditure, such concerns can be grounds for lowering the purchase price.

In summary, clients who spend on a building survey typically earn far more back in savings due to nipping defects in the bud before they worsen and/or being able to agree a better deal with the vendor.

How long does a building survey take?

The time required to conduct a building survey varies based on factors such as the property's size and complexity. Generally, a site inspection lasts between 2-4 hours, contingent on the property's dimensions. Nevertheless, larger properties or those with intricate issues may necessitate additional time for a thorough examination.

When do I receive the report?

You usually receive the report within 3-4 days of the property being attended to by the surveyor.

Should I accompany the surveyor?

No. It is best to let them concentrate on conducting the inspection alone, otherwise their workflow is interrupted and they may miss something.

Should I have a post-survey call with the surveyor?

Yes. Our panel of surveyors will happily talk you through the findings of the survey in order to ensure you understand them. It is advisable for you to arrange a follow-up conversation with your surveyor within a week of obtaining the survey report and only after you have read it. This provides an opportunity to address any uncertainties, seek clarification on the findings, and evaluate what action you need to take.

What do I do if significant defects have been identified?

In the event that the survey reveals noteworthy defects or structural issues, it is crucial to engage in discussions with both your surveyor and solicitor. They can assist in helping you understand the implications, such as potential repair costs and impact on the value of the property. Armed with this information, you may then explore options such as renegotiating the property price or reassessing your decision to proceed with the purchase.

How much does a building survey cost?

The standard market rate may be around £500-700 on an average property, but it really does depend on how big the property is, the location and its value.

For the larger and/or more expensive prime properties, expect to pay between £1,000 – 5,000. However, we endeavour to provide high quality reports at affordable prices.

Avoid commissioning surveying work that is too cheap, though, as you want to be instructing surveyors who are incentivized enough to do a good job, thereby “getting what you pay for”.

Is a valuation included?

Full Building Surveys are not supposed to include a valuation by industry standards; however, one can be arranged for you.

Will you tell me how much the defects cost?

A Full Building Survey is not a Quantity Survey or a Schedule of Costs. However, we can also organise a defect cost report to be undertaken for you to establish how much you need to pay for rectification.