Residential and Commercial Property Surveys

Buying property is the most expensive purchase most people ever make, so why not take a reasonable step to avoid expensive pitfalls in the future. At Harrisons, our RICS qualified surveyors undertake surveys of residential and commercial property and as an owner you will benefit from our expert advice on the condition of your property – whether you plan to occupy it, rent it or sell it.

Many people do not realise the importance and value of obtaining a survey report. Even if there are no defects with the property now, if you make an insurance claim in the future, for example for subsidence, you may need to prove to your insurer that it was not a pre-existing defect when you purchased the property. If the defect did not exist, the easiest way to do this is to show the insurer a survey report. Without this or similar proof, the insurer may not cover the cost of what could be a significant repair cost.

There are 5 options of inspection and reporting as follows:

  • Valuation
  • RICS Home Condition Report (HCR) & RICS HomeBuyer Report (HBR) (Residential Only)
  • Building Survey
  • Single Issue Survey

A valuation of a property is not technically a survey. If you are a cash purchaser and you simply require a valuation to confirm the purchase price is reasonable, please see the Valuation section of this website. Remember that a mortgage valuation is for the benefit of the lender and not the purchaser and you may therefore consider one of the surveys listed below.

RICS Home Condition Report & HomeBuyer Report for Residential Property
The RICS Home Condition Report describes the condition of the property, identifies any risks and potential legal issues and highlights any urgent defects.  It uses simple ‘traffic light’ ratings to clearly identify the condition of the key elements of the property.  This type of survey is aimed at newer and conventional properties where no major alterations have been carried out.

The RICS HomeBuyer Report is mostly suitable for conventional properties which are in reasonable condition.  In addition to including all the features of the RICS Home Condition Report, it also includes advice on defects that may affect the property with advice on repairs and ongoing maintenance.  The report gives you more detailed information and provides the choice of either a survey or a survey & valuation, the latter providing a market valuation and insurance rebuild cost assessment.

Harrisons do not currently offer the RICS Home Condition Report or HomeBuyer Report but can put you in touch with a surveyor who does undertake these surveys.

Building Survey
Essential for larger or older properties, if major works have been undertaken, if you’re planning major works, or if a valuation or intermediate survey has identified significant defects. This type of survey can provide the following:

  • An invasive detailed inspection
  • Detailed visual inspection of all reasonably accessible parts
  • Reporting on its general quality and condition
  • Identifying any significant defects and essential repairs
  • Identifying potential hazards and commenting on the future maintenance of the property
  • A comprehensive report
  • In-depth analysis of the property’s condition
  • Advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options
  • Further investigations may be recommended of a specialist nature.

Single Issue Survey

A Single Issue Survey is a survey concentrating on a specific defect, for example, damp or cracking etc.

The survey assesses the condition of the affected area / issue and determines the cause, which is then reported to you along with recommendations to remedy the defect.

A single issue survey would generally be unsuitable as a pre-purchase survey on its own but maybe adequate where, for instance, an Intermediate Survey has already been carried out and has recommended further investigations into a particular single defect.

To discuss the survey options further and to obtain a tailored fee proposal, please contact our Building Surveying department.