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What is the Importance of Building Surveys?

Building Surveys | The Importance | Underpin and Makegood

What is the Importance of Building Surveys?

If you’re considering buying a new property, you may be advised to have building surveys carried out. Also sometimes known as a structural survey, this is a detailed report, usually by a chartered surveyor or a construction company with surveying expertise, that flags up any problems with the building.

So why and when do you need a building survey?

When Are Building Surveys Needed?

The most common reason for building surveys is if you’re buying a property and need to know whether it has significant issues that would require fixing. This is especially important if the property is more than fifty years old or has been renovated, or else if it looks dilapidated.

Arrange the survey as soon as possible after your offer has been accepted. This allows you to find out whether there are any issues while there’s still time to renegotiate the sale, either for a price reduction or an undertaking that the seller will fix the problems. In extreme circumstances, it may be necessary to pull out of the purchase before it’s finalised. Note that a building survey isn’t the same as the valuation your lender will require.

The other main occasions when a building survey may be necessary would be if you’re considering major renovations or demolishing and rebuilding the property. In these cases, it will flag up any problems you might encounter.

What Issues Might a Building Survey Find?

There are numerous possible issues, but just a few of the most common are:

  • Structural movement — This may be due to subsidence or to the materials deteriorating, but it could lead to cracks in walls, foundations and other parts of the building.
  • Damp — If the building has inadequate ventilation or damp-proofing, it could suffering from rising damp, mould or condensation.
  • Drainage problems — If drain pipes are faulty, there’s the potential for serious water damage.
  • Asbestos — Although it’s now known that asbestos causes serious health hazards, it was widely used in construction until it was banned in 1999. If the property includes asbestos, it will need to be removed.

What Will a Building Survey Tell You?

The building survey will set out all the issues found, as well as details of the remedial work that will be needed to fix them. In many cases, issues will be ranked in order of severity, using a traffic light system.

If you intend to buy a property, especially one that’s older or doesn’t look in great condition, or if you’re planning on renovations to a property you own, give us a call to find out more about arranging a property survey.