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By Damien Finnegan

15434114_sWhen buying, selling or living in a property, it is highly advisable to have a full understanding of its true condition. There are many advantages of a survey report and these will differ depending on why the building is being surveyed.

There is no doubt that purchasing or selling a property are the two scenarios when you should seriously consider having a Building Survey undertaken by an expert (Chartered Building Surveyor)).  Both transactions are likely to be the most expensive processes you face, either as a once in a lifetime event, or regularly, as an investor or developer.  A survey puts you in the driving seat as a buyer or seller because it helps you to avoid unexpected/unforeseen and costly repairs.  If you are buying, it will put you in a stronger position to decide whether to go ahead with the purchase.

If selling a property, consider having a Vendor’s Building Survey

A Vendor’s Building Survey will give you a good understanding of the works that will need to be done prior to putting it on the market. This will help reduce the risk of:

  • Not getting the maximum price for the property
  • A sale falling through because of problems with the building
  • Stress when selling, particularly if you are not sure of the condition of your property
  • A potential buyer getting their own survey that reports problems of which you were unaware and  could lead to their lenders refusing to lend, resulting in a broken chain or inability of the vendor to commit to the purchase of another property
  • Last minute price negotiations just before exchange of contracts

Ultimately, selling a property is stressful enough without one of the above – all of which can be avoided.

A Vendor’s Building Survey helps:

  • Put vendors in the best position possible to get the maximum price
  • To reduce the risk of a sale falling through because of problems with the property

A Vendor’s Building Survey gives the seller an element of control because they will know the true condition of their property and that they are most likely to get the best value possible in the current market.

It is always advisable to get a Vendor’s Building Survey done early to allow sufficient time to carry out any necessary works before officially putting the property on the market.

When buying a property it is extremely important to consider a Building Survey (purchaser’s survey)  

As we all know, a property is an expensive purchase. So it is crucial for a buyer to be aware of what they are about to spend their hard-earned money on. A purchaser needs to safeguard their investment as much possible.

A Building Survey (Purchasers Survey) will protect the buyer from:

  • Over spending (time and money) on a property during the initial purchasing process as a survey will rule a property in or out quickly
  • Inheriting any nasty hidden defects and associated remedial costs
  • Buying a problem property

Ultimately, a survey can provide a good opportunity for a buyer to enter into price negotiations with the seller if the survey identifies problems which the purchaser is comfortable with taking on and rectifying.

We recommend two types of Building Survey for Purchasers

  • Full Building Survey Report – a detailed and extensive report on all elements of the property
  • Executive Summary Report – a more concise report with a basic level of detail

Full Building Survey Report

A full Building Survey is a comprehensive examination of the construction and condition of a property. It includes an inspection of all accessible areas, including safely accessible voids, such as the loft.

This report is recommended for those buying, selling or living in properties that are:

  • Large or more than 50 years old
  • Unusually constructed or altered
  • Run down
  • To have major works

The Full Building Survey contains a detailed technical review of the condition, structure and fabric of the main building, any outbuildings and garage, plus services.  It will include:

  • Traffic light condition rating on different elements of the property
  • A description of any visible defects and the consequences of inaction
  • Information on potential, but not yet visible, defects
  • Details of any building control or planning issues
  • Information on energy efficiency, location and the environment
  • A guide for methods of repair
  • Advice on any serious issues and dangerous conditions

Executive Summary Report

This is a less detailed, and therefore cheaper, version of the Full Building Survey Report. It involves inspecting all accessible areas and safely accessible voids and provides a clear and concise report on the condition of the property.

Because it provides only a basic level of detail, the Executive Summary Report is ideally suited to those buying, selling or living in properties that are:

  • In good condition
  • Built with standard materials

As with the Full Building Survey, the Executive Summary contains a technical review of the condition, structure and fabric of the main building, any outbuildings and garage, plus services – but in less detail. It also includes the traffic light condition ratings, a description of current and potential defects, together with repair and maintenance options, plus any planning, building control, or environmental issues.


Each report offers its own level of depth in detail and advice, so it very much depends on the condition, age, size and design of the property in question to determine which survey would be the most suitable. It is best to take a good look at the property and decide exactly what is required from the report before committing to either survey.  A Chartered Building Surveyor will advise you on the best route to take.

We will shortly be releasing a FREE Property Check List for people in the process of, or thinking about, buying a property. Watch this space!


Posted on 7 April, 2016

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