Local Building Surveyors Logo - Find Local Chartered Surveyors

 

Which type of survey do I need?

The RICS has two main types of survey: the RICS Homebuyer Report and the Building Survey (formerly known as a Structural Survey). These are the most popular survey types with the Building Survey the more comprehensive of the two, although it should be noted that it doesn't include a valuation as standard - you will have to request that separately if required, and there is likely to be an additional cost.

The RICS describes the Homebuyer Report as:

"most suitable for conventional properties which are in reasonable condition"

There are two forms for the HomeBuyer Report - survey only, and survey with valuation.

A Homebuyer Report (HBR), also known as a Homebuyer’s Survey, is a survey completed to a standard format set out by RICS, and it’s most suitable for conventional properties built within the last 150 years, which are in reasonable condition.

It doesn’t detail every aspect of the property, and only focuses on urgent matters needing attention. It’s not usually suitable for properties that have been significantly altered, or are in need of renovation, or if you’re planning major alterations.

A standard HomeBuyers Report includes details of:

  • The general condition of the property
  • Any major faults in accessible parts of the building that may affect the value
  • Any urgent problems that might need inspecting by a specialist before you sign a contract
  • Results of tests for damp in the walls
  • Damage to timbers – including woodworm or rot
  • The condition of any damp-proofing, insulation and drainage (though drains aren’t tested)
  • The estimated cost of rebuilding the property for insurance purposes


If you require a HomeBuyer Report with valuation, then an "open market valuation" will be provided, but you will need to check with your surveyor if this is included. Only surveyors who are also RICS Registered Valuers can provide a valuation, and there is usually a higher cost.

The Building Survey is described as:

“a comprehensive inspection of a property reported in a style to suit the property and your specific requirements"

A full Building Survey, also commonly referred to as a Structural Survey is suitable for all properties, but especially:

  • Listed buildings
  • Older properties
  • Buildings constructed in an unusual way, however old they are
  • Properties you plan to renovate or alter in any way
  • Properties that have had extensive alterations.


It examines all accessible parts of the property - and you can ask to have specific areas included, so it covers any particular concerns you have about the building. It is a product which can generally be tailored to your needs, agreed between you and your surveyor.

A Building Survey can include details of:

  • Major and minor defects and what they could mean
  • The possible cost of repairs
  • Results of damp testing on walls
  • Damage to timbers – including woodworm and rot
  • The condition of damp-proofing, insulation and drainage (though drains aren’t tested)
  • Technical information on the construction of the property and the materials used
  • The location
  • Recommendations for any further special inspections.


A Building Survey usually doesn’t include a valuation, but your surveyor may provide this separately if you need one, but again any valuation has to be prepared by a RICS Registered Valuer, and there will be an additional charge.

It is worth noting that not all surveyors adhere to the RICS format when conducting Building Surveys - many will use their own version, very often more comprehensive, and often tailored to the alternative building construction materials and methods common in their areas. Because the Building Survey is more flexible and can be tailored to your requirements, when instructing a surveyor to carry out a Building Survey it is well worth a discussion to check what is to be included and anything that will be omitted.

It is worth stressing that all standard survey types are 'non-destructive' - in other words won't cover areas that cannot be easily accessed; surveyors aren't usually able to raise carpets or flooring, insulation in roof-spaces, or remove contents of cupboards to gain access for example.

Access may also be limited by the current home owner. If you have concerns about any specific aspect of the property where access might be restricted, it's worth speaking to your surveyor about the options available, including the possibility of improving access arrangements.

Get quotes for RICS Surveys...

RICS Tech Affiliate Logo

Also proudly powering the surveyor search on...

Thatch Advice Centre  The Moving Centre  Mortgage Squared

User feedback for our Find a Surveyor service

4.11 Average

1375 Reviews

Anonymous

Could not fault the service we received. Friendly and professional. Would highly recommend Alister Woodruff to anyone.

Posted 18 hours ago

Anonymous

Your web site was fine and easy to use. Decided not to use one of the companies that quoted on the website due to their unavailability for the dates requested. Another company did not reply to my enquiry,. The third compantydid get back but by then I had found an independent surveyor to do the work

Posted 22 hours ago

Anonymous

Yvonne arrived on time & after viewing house inside & out she showed me areas of concern. She report she sent was v thorough. I would recommend her.

Posted 1 day ago

Anonymous

Very helpful. The survey was thorough and the photographs are a useful record. Would definitely recommend.

Posted 2 days ago

Anonymous

House sale fell through, I didn’t require survey.,

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

Very quick response. Listened to our concerns and reported back. Carried out additional request to measure up 2 bathrooms during survey visit. Top man.

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

Yes very good service if he couldn’t answer your call he would or you could leave a quick message We had a good thrower report which we got back with in 12,hours Of him doing it

Posted 4 days ago

Anonymous

Very professional and comprehensive.

Posted 5 days ago

Anonymous

Really good surveyors. Professional service, report emailed timely and very useful content.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Really impressive service. I was unsure as to wether I needed a home buyers report or a building survey and he was happy to have a look at the property and guide me as to what was best. From the initial contact he was very fast at confirming a date for the survey the following week and then had the report back to us a matter of days later. Would highly recommend and would not hesitate to use again.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Provided details very quickly

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Used the service to find a surveyor for a home buyers report , we used Wildetrice from Exeter and were very impressed with the prompt professional service they gave us - Highly recommended - thank you

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Good comparison site

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

We used Redwing surveyors and they were very good.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Just brilliant! We had issues trying to arrange our survey directly with a surveyor previously recommended to us but this was so much easier - and more professional! Value for money and service was excellent.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

The service I needed was quick and easy to find.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Great service and really helpful on phone.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Did a very good job the money we paid saved us thousands

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Very easy site to use and our surveyor (CKconsultancy solutions)based in Coventry I would highly recommend as was very thorough and precise with his report.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

The surveyors report we received was excellent, easy to understand and had all the information we needed. The surveyor was prompt and very reasonably priced.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

I am very glad that I chose Local Building Surveyors. Using them helped me find a Surveyor who suited my needs and offered a very efficient service.

Posted 6 days ago

What is the RICS?

RICS - London

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is the organisation responsible for the training and regulation of Chartered Surveyors. To be listed on Local Building Surveyors, surveyors must be either a RICS Member (MRICS/FRICS) or a Firm Regulated by the RICS, so you can be assured that your survey will be carried out by a fully qualified regulated professional.

Find out more about the RICS

What Survey Do I Need?

What type of survey do I need?

If you are looking for something more than a simple property valuation (highly recommended if you are buying a new property), there are two common "standard" types of survey.  Check out the links below to find out more:

RICS HomeBuyer survey

Building Survey (Structural Survey)


Moving Home?

Moving home? Need a mortgage advisor? Want quotes for other services?

Save time, find a local mortgage advisor, get quotes for conveyancing and more from reputable companies in your area. Our search and quote service is quick, easy-to-use, and FREE!

Secure Site

Secure Site - PadlockThis site is secured by SSL (https) so you can be sure your information is secure and cannot be intercepted. Click the padlock in your browser address bar for the certificate details. 

Surveyor Signup

If you are a RICS Chartered Surveyor and want to sign up, click here to find out more and sign up.

Become a Partner

Do you want to add value to your property website by adding our find-a-surveyor search facility to your site? Click here for more information...