Full Structural Building Survey

Getting a survey carried out is always advisable when you are looking to purchase a new property, but the type of survey that you need might vary depending on the type of property that you want to buy and the plans that you have for it in the future. Most houses will be suitable candidates for a homebuyer’s report, but in some cases, a full structural survey might be the best option to ensure that you go into the purchase of the home completely informed about everything that you need to know. A structural survey is the most in-depth survey option available, and investing in one before you decide to continue with the purchase of a new property could help you save a significant amount of money in the future. So, what exactly is a structural survey, and what does it entail?

What Survey Options Are Available Besides a Full Structural Survey?

Firstly, since the structural survey is the most extensive and expensive survey option available, it’s worth doing your research to determine if this is actually the type of survey that you need for the home that you want to purchase. For an average home in reasonable condition that is under around thirty years old, a homeowner’s report may be sufficient in giving you all the information that you need to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to buy the property. On the other hand, newer buildings might only require a condition report, which is a shorter and more basic type of survey that will rate the different areas of the building using a traffic light system. If you are not sure about the type of survey that is recommended for the property that you want to buy, it’s worth getting advice from a RICS registered chartered surveyor who can help you make the right decision.

What is a Structural Survey?

A full structural survey is the most comprehensive type of building survey that is available. It is conducted by a chartered surveyor who will conduct a detailed survey of all areas of the property and leave no stone unturned. They will look at all aspects of the building including the condition of the roof, walls, and ceilings, the condition and integrity of the foundations, and the type of materials that have been used in construction. They will perform an active search for any potential defects or issues that you will need to know about before you go ahead and purchase the property. Because of the depth that this survey goes to, it is often the most cost-effective choice for many older or unusual homes since it is the best survey to make sure that you have all the information on issues that might not come up in a homebuyer’s report or condition report.

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Do You Need a Structural Building Survey?

Whether or not you will need a structural building survey will depend on several factors including your personal preference, the type of property that you want to buy and the plans that you have for the property in the future. Although it is recommended for older properties, unusual buildings or properties with obvious defects, you can choose to have a structural building survey carried out on any property that you want to buy. In some cases, your mortgage lender or bank might require you to have this type of survey carried out before they will agree to lend you the mortgage amount that you have applied for.

Which Properties Require a Structural Survey?

A full structural survey is usually the most recommended option for older properties that are more likely to have defects compared to newer buildings. It is also the advised type of survey for properties that are constructed with unusual materials or have an unusual layout. You may also be recommended a full structural survey if you are planning to carry out serious renovation work on the property in the future after purchasing it, since the survey will ensure that any hidden issues that might become a future issue if they do not show up in a different type of survey are brought to light before you make the purchase. If you are planning to purchase a property that falls into one of these categories, a structural survey might be the most cost-effective option despite being the costliest survey choice. This is because it can often make you aware of issues that could potentially cost you much more to repair in the future.

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What Does a Structural Surveyor Look For?

When carrying out a full structural survey on a building, the surveyor will look at several factors. This will include the construction and design of the property, along with actively searching for a wide range of issues that could be present including:

  • Damaged or removed lintels
  • Whether there have been any alterations made to the supporting walls or if supporting walls have been removed
  • The presence of hazardous materials such as asbestos
  • Any building work that has been carried out without gaining the necessary planning permission
  • Rising damp
  • Penetrating damp
  • Dry rot
  • Subsidence
  • Insect infestations

They will thoroughly inspect the roof for any signs of problems and inspect all the woodwork in the home including window frames for any evidence of damage, rot, and other issues. They will inspect the plumbing system, electrical wiring, and the heating system for any signs of potential problems. If you plan to make any significant changes to the property in the future, the surveyor will also keep this in mind when carrying out the inspection, taking note of any potential areas of concern like party wall or boundary line issues that might arise in the future.

What Does a Full Structural Survey Involve?

A full structural survey is typically more in-depth than other survey types. Unlike a homeowner’s report, it will require that the surveyor is provided with access to all areas of the property including behind furniture, underneath the floorboards, and in the loft or attic space. This is the most invasive survey option; however, it is also the most in-depth and the most likely to ensure that you are provided with all the information that you need as a potential buyer. The survey can take a few hours to complete and the surveyor will typically require full access to the property for up to a day depending on its size and any issues and defects that it has.

Benefits of Using a Structural Surveyor London

Other survey options tend to be more basic when it comes to the scope of factors that they look at and issues that they look for. If you are purchasing an older property, an unusual house, or a house that you want to renovate in the future, there are many benefits of using a full structural survey carried out by a qualified chartered surveyor. One of the main benefits of using a structural surveyor is that they will be working on your behalf to determine if the property has any major issues or defects that could become a concern for you in the future. After having a full structural survey carried out, you may be in a position to claim compensation from the surveyor in the future if you discover any issues that you should have been made aware of when the survey was carried out.

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Along with being comprehensive enough to provide you with details on any issues with the property that you should be aware of before you make the purchase of the home, the structural survey will also typically provide you with an estimate for the cost of having the issues repaired, which can be useful information to have if you want to negotiate a lower asking price with the seller in order to ensure that the cost of the repairs is covered.

How to Find the Right Structural Surveyors London

Finding the right surveyor is key to getting the best results from a full structural survey carried out on your potential new home. When looking for a surveyor, the first factor to consider is that they are registered with an accrediting body such as RICS. You can often find surveyors through your mortgage lender, estate agent, conveyancing solicitor or other property professionals that you are working with while buying a home since they will often work closely with teams of other housing professionals that they can recommend to you.

It may also be worth asking in your social circle to find out more about surveyors that your family and friends have used for a full structural survey when buying a property in the past and were happy with the service that they received. Since surveyors are independent companies or individuals, it’s worth doing your research beforehand to make sure that you are happy with the price quoted and to make sure that the surveyor that you choose is reputable.

A full structural survey can be carried out on any property, but is a comprehensive type of survey that is best recommended for older or unusual homes.