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

4.09 Average

1595 Reviews

Anonymous

Useful search engine. Found a local surveyor but there was not much choice in my area.

Posted 19 minutes ago

Anonymous

Quick easy to use and company we chose contacted us within the hour to book in

Posted 1 day ago

Anonymous

A short request for help provided 3 instant quotes and a call secured surveying services 10 minutes later. Most impressive. So survey awaited. Let’s hope the service is as efficient!

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

Helpful tool

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

Easy to use no fuss efficient and done on time

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

Immediate response. Great service.

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

Waiting for the survey to be done.

Posted 4 days ago

Anonymous

The surveyors communicated rapidly and I was able to make my selection based on price very easily. Highly recommended.

Posted 4 days ago

Anonymous

Found a building surveyor very quickly and easily, at an acceptable price.

Posted 4 days ago

Anonymous

Couldn't ask for better. Very quick and responsive. Great price. The review of the home buyers report was very extensive and thorough. Brilliant definitely recommend

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Helped make an informed choice and managed to get quick response

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Terry Gallagher provide an excellent service, communicating well throughout the process. Very good all round.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Prompt service, with good fee compare the others, helpful

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

We found a local surveyor, Stephen Sands, on this web site. He completed a Homebuyers survey for us which was vey comprehensive and he was good enough to provide a valuation for which he did not charge us. The survey saved us from buying a "pig in a poke"! I would certainly recommend him.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

We used Tim Beevers we highly recommend his work and punctuality.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Professional and friendly

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Survey happened as planned, good report

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

I received a number of recommended Chartered Surveyors in my area from which to choose. The site was easy to use and I was soon in conversation with an honest up front surveyor. The info I received gave me confidence with my decision making.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Very professional, helpful and thorough. Arrived on time and spent time looking over the property. There was a delay receiving the report or would have been 5 stars.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Very good survey, pointing out problem areas. A little disappointed with lack of information about drains.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

I found the site useful to connect me with a surveyor in the Rye area where I'm con siding relocating to. Although only one surveyor came up in the search, we've been in contact and he's checking the property next week.

Posted 1 week 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...