Home Buyers Survey
Should we go for a Full Structural Survey, Building Survey or HomeBuyer Report on a home in UK and which is cheaper?
The Full Structural Survey has been renamed by RICS as a Building Survey, although it is essentially the same level of survey.
If the UK property is an apartment, or is 100 or more years old, or has been substantially modified, or is of non standard construction, RICS advise the cheaper Building Survey.
If you are planning to do any major works on the UK property, you should you go for a Building Survey. The Building Survey is less cheap but it will offer an in-depth analysis of the UK property's condition as well as advice on defects as well as maintenance options .
For more detailed advice get a UK Home Survey Quote via our website or call 0800 038 6667 to speak to our survey team.
What is a home survey, and what will the surveyor actually do?
There are three main types of home buyers survey, the HomeBuyer Report, the Building Survey and the Property Valuation Report. Each of these has a different focus, so buyers should consider which of the three is the right choice for them:
HomeBuyer Report - A general survey of a home, including any visible defects or issues. If the property to be surveyed is of standard construction, and was built after 1900, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recommend that the HomeBuyer Report is usually the best choice. The report is delivered in a standardised format for easy reference. The HomeBuyer Report includes a valuation.
Building Survey - A more in-depth survey of a property, including all accessible areas of a home. RICS recommend the building survey for older properties, or those of non-standard construction. Building survey reports are tailored by the individual surveyor, and can address any additional questions or concerns. Note that this home buyers survey does not include a valuation as standard.
Property Valuation Report - The most basic of the three, this report is primarily a valuation, and will not include details of particular defects.
For more detail please see the detailed survey comparison table.
Stone slab roofs can be problematic. Why is this and are they common in the UK
Stone slab roofs are relatively uncommon in many parts of the UK, and do present a unique set of maintenance challenges. One obvious concern given the material used is the weight of the roof, and the impact this can have on the whole structure. Defects common to older stone slab-roofed homes often arise as a result of poor construction rather than poor maintenance.
A stone slab roof can fail when wooden support elements deteriorate, such as the pegs used to hold slates in position. The wood may warp under the weight of the slabs over time, giving the roof a bowed appearance, and in older properties this can add a certain charm without significant upkeep costs. The surveyor will take into account this context when advising on the state of the roof, but there are some considerations which can render a roof which has remained stable for decades unsafe. A house longhorn beetle infestation, for example, can rapidly undermine the structural integrity of the roof.
In old homes, the timbers used in the roof's construction can be far thicker than would have been strictly required, giving a safety margin before urgent attention is warranted, but if the elements holding the slabs in place, the pegs and laths (thinner planks used to hold slates in place), have failed throughout as a result of infestation or rot, then re-roofing will be required.
What additional concerns are there when buying a home near the coast?
Buying a coastal home is a dream for many and harsher weathering aside, properties situated by the coast do not present surveyors with undue concern. However there are well publicised and sometimes extreme examples of homes literally falling into the sea due to coastal erosion. Coastal erosion is a serious issue to all affected by it but it is unusual and therefore rarely encountered during building surveys. Nevertheless, images of houses poised on cliffs resonates in the minds of anyone contemplating buying very close to the coast.
The East of England, mainly Norfolk, is particularly affected as the sea erodes the cliffs. In areas of high risk, additional efforts to slow or halt erosion have been undertake and failing that, the property may be accordingly priced. Insurance cover could also be an issue and should be investigated prior to purchase.
Coastal properties are often exposed to Wet and salty air which can lead to rust and corrosion to exposed parts of the building and even the property's foundations. The Home Buyers Survey may offer advice on protecting a coastal home to prevent further damage.
Building surveys - investigating roof defects
Perhaps the second biggest concern , for both home purchaser and surveyor, is the state of the roof. Different types of roof covering have different lifespans. Given the inaccessibility of most roofs (scaffolding is almost always required to effect repair) and the skills and materials required to repair them, problems can end up being very costly to fix. Some, such as thatch, can require hard to find or 'lost skills'. Others may have been inappropriately repaired in the past such as the common use of heavy concrete tiles which can lead to roof bowing and structural problems. More about interlock and change to