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RICS Building Survey: Why it’s essential for home-buyers

Most of the time mortgage lenders will request a Building Survey report for insurance purposes. This is mainly to ascertain major defects that would not be covered in their insurance policy for the property.

Moving into a new home can be an extremely stressful period in a person’s life, and with current values in the property market, it can be a very daunting task where value for money is of utmost importance.

A building survey can give a potential purchaser or borrower peace of mind of the quality of the existing structure of the building, whilst providing recommendations on improvements that can be made.

A main purpose of the survey is to analyse for any severe structural defects, such as subsidence, heave, and damp problems within the structure that might not be visible or obvious. Also covered are minor defects and their remedies.

A potential purchaser of a property will want to make sure they choose a Surveyor who provides a detailed report which covers all the important aspects of the house.

What does a RICS Building Survey include?

A typical RICS Building Survey will be in more depth than other levels of the survey such as a valuation survey and stock condition survey.

It will give a clear description of each element of the property, its condition, the remedy to any defect in said element, and in what timescale this should be achieved.

Potentially, there can be a lot of defects present that can be hard to spot, which in the long term can cause the building occupier extra costs post purchase. These could have not been brought up at the viewing.

If these are major costs, they can be negotiated with the seller of the property to reduce the price, or the seller of the property may even remedy themselves.

The RICS building survey ensures that you get an overall view of the properties condition and how this could incur additional costs in the future, which can allow you to budget effectively.

A full building survey will take a considerably longer amount of time than lower level surveys but deliver a greater insight for the client.

Properties age and defects

Defects in properties are common, due to the fact that the majority of the houses have been constructed over a hundred years ago.

A Surveyor will be able to estimate the properties age with a fair bit of accuracy, and more importantly, understand the building trends of that time. This will allow them to assess the construction of the building to recommend a suitable remedy

A lot of older properties suffer from defects due to works being carried out on the property which are not suitable for original construction.

For example, our Kingston Surveyors have surveyed Victorian houses around Kingston and London areas which originally used very breathable materials and discovered that they have been refurbished with more modern methods, restricting that breathability. This would indeed have caused moisture problems, as Victorian houses were originally well ventilated.

If there are problems that need more than just minor remedial works, a Building Survey will direct you on the right course of action to remedy this. This will most likely save money in the long run, as some defects left alone can lead to more serious and costly issues.

Several homeowners have upgraded their original timber windows for uPVC, which restricts air flow without trickle vents. Another popular defect is using impervious renders or plasters, which do not allow moisture to escape through the building envelope, resulting in moisture being trapped in the walls.

With a clear and understandable RICS building survey report, a client can realise why these defects have occurred and know the correct remedy in order to prevent these problems recurring in the future, which can allow them to make an informed decision when it comes to remedial works.

Structural movement in buildings is common. A lot of cracks can appear on the exterior and interior of the property, and especially to the elevations of the property which are exposed to the elements.

These can be the main causes for concern for potential buyers of the property.

The way our Building Surveys in London and Kingston allow for client’s peace of mind is to provide a reasoning behind the cracks which have resulted due to structural movement. For example, it is very common for cracks that are larger than hairline to appear at the junction between an extension of the property and the original building.

An effective survey report will deliver that reasoning, which in the above case is most likely to be differential settlement due to different foundation depths between the old and new. This is just one example of where a crack can seem a lot more intimidating than it really is for a potential buyer.

The problem laying in structural movement is that it can be very deceptive; some areas it can be unhealthier for the building than others and have a knock-on effect to the structural stability of other elements in the building.

The key elements will be assessed regarding this and will make the client confident that any of these defects will not be a massive cause for concern in the future.

Do you want a RICS building survey report by a top surveyor in London or Surrey?

And for more information on our RICS building survey report, please visit the link below:

Building Survey