FAQ
1.   What is a building survey ?
2.   What does a survey include ?
3.   Can a building fail a survey ?
4.   Can I inspect the building myself ?
5.   What will the survey cost ?
6.   My property is not suited to the Sales and Purchase Agreement but I don’t want to incur the cost of a full building survey, is there       an alternative ?
7.   I am happy with the overall condition of the property but there is one fault that I want advice upon, can you help ?
8.   I want to serve notice as a landlord/tenant due to disrepair, can you help me ?
9.   Can you define the meaning of Defect Liability Period (DLP) Inspection ?
10.  I plan to convert/extend the property when I buy it. Can you advise upon the feasibility ?
11.  I am particularly concerned that there may be faults to hidden areas, can you advise me
12.  What are the limitations of your inspection ?
13.  Should I attend the survey ?
14.  Are you able to provide advice upon repairs or alterations to the property ?
15.  Do you handle the process of defect rectification ?
16.  Can you give professional advice on the areas involving structural such as major cracks on building, road resurfacing ?
17.  What are the tools that you used for building inspection ?
18.  Do you have professional indemnity insurance ?
19.  Can the Building Inspector’s Report being used in the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims ?
20.  Is it worth the cost ?
21.  I've been offered a cheap deal if I have my valuation and survey done by the same company/person. ?
1.   What is a building survey? back to top
  A building survey is a detailed survey carried out by a Building Surveyor in order to assess the condition and dilapidation of the buildings, in particular, the structure, fabrics and components, finishes, services and safety requirements.
2.   What does a survey include? back to top
A complete survey includes a visual examination of the building and its systems from top to bottom. It can also include the entire property including such items as the grounds, outbuildings and fencing. The surveyor evaluates and reports on the construction and condition of what can be seen and operated of the structure, roof, foundation, plumbing, drainage, heating system, insulation, walls, windows, doors and such-like. Only those items that are visible and accessible and operable by normal means are included in the report.
3.   Can a building fail a survey? back to top
  No. A professional survey is simply an examination of the current condition of your prospective building purchase. A surveyor, therefore, will not pass or fail a building, but will simply describe its construction and condition and will indicate which items will be in need of minor or major maintenance, repairs or replacement.
4.   Can I inspect the building myself? back to top
  Even the most experienced building or home owner lacks the knowledge and expertise of a qualified surveyor who has surveyed hundreds, and perhaps thousands of homes and buildings in their career. A surveyor is equally familiar with the critical elements of construction and with the proper installation, maintenance and inter-relationships of these elements. Above all, most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and unemotional about the building they really want and this may lead to a poor assessment.
5.   What will the survey cost? back to top
  The survey fee for a typical single-family house or commercial building varies geographically, as does the cost of housing. Similarly, within a geographic area the survey fees charged by different survey services may vary depending upon the size of the building, particular features of the building, age, type of structure, etc. However, the cost should not be a factor in the decision whether or not to have a survey. You might save many times the cost of the survey if you are able to negotiate a lower cost or have the vendor perform repairs based on significant problems revealed by the surveyor.
6.   My property is not suited to the Sales and Purchase Agreement but I don’t want to incur the cost of a full building survey,            is there an alternative? back to top
  Yes, we can provide a Material and Quality Specification Report, this is tailor made to your requirements and focuses on the main elements of the building, often the walls, roofs and floors
7.   I am happy with the overall condition of the property but there is one fault that I want advice upon, can you help? back to top
  Yes, we can tailor make a limited report to advise you upon a specific problem (e.g. a damp spot, crack, continuous leakage problem, building settlement due to illegal extension).
8.   I want to serve notice as a landlord/tenant due to disrepair, can you help me? back to top
  Yes, we can prepare a Schedule of Dilapidations for service on the landlord/tenant. Negotiations can be undertaken on your behalf.
9.   Can you define the meaning of Defect Liability Period (DLP) Inspection ? back to top
  This is actually like warranty of services provided by Developer to the purchaser after buying a home. Basically, the period is in between 18 – 24 months after purchasing. During this period, the developer would be required to rectify any defect at their cost. It is very advisable to the you as a property buyer to appoint us to carry out a proper inspection when you takes Vacant Possession of your property.
10.  I plan to convert/extend the property when I buy it. Can you advise upon the feasibility? back to top
  Yes, we can normally incorporate advice within a report. In the case of a homebuyers’ report, this is an extra service and we can incorporate the information in an accompanying letter. There may be an additional charge for this service. Please discuss it with us before we carry out our inspection
11.  I am particularly concerned that there may be faults to hidden areas, can you advise me? back to top
  It depends whether we can gain access to areas concealed. This is an aspect you need to discuss with the occupier before our visit. For example, it may be possible to remove fitted carpets or form a hatch into a roof space in order to allow the access of a surveyor.
12.  What are the limitations of your inspection? back to top
  Our conditions of engagement set out the practical limitations of our inspection. In the case of each individual instruction we will set out our Scope of Services, so as to avoid misunderstanding. It would be impractical to examine every detail of the structure without partially dismantling it, which destroys what it is sought to preserve. Most sellers would not permit such damage! A surveyor cannot risk damaging someone else's property. It may not be practicable to lift floorboards covered with parquet or vinyl which is stuck down, or to move heavy items of furniture or safes. If windows have been screwed up or are stuck fast with paint opening them might cause damage. We will make any limitations clear in our report.
13.  Should I attend the survey? back to top
  It is not necessary for you to be present for the survey. But it can be useful if the surveyor’s report contains a number of items which need addressing, for the surveyor to talk you through those issues at the property. By having the surveyor do this and by you asking questions, you will learn more about the new building and any issues and will get some tips on general maintenance - information that will be of great help to you if you go ahead with the purchase.
14.  Are you able to provide advice upon repairs or alterations to the property? back to top
  Yes, we can provide feasibility studies, engage builders and supervise works. We have a list of suitable contractors.
15.  Do you handle the process of defect rectification? back to top
  Yes, we provide defects inspection and direct rectification for your easiness as we also give warranty to you for our service and materials.
16.  Can you give professional advice on the areas involving back to top
  structural such as major cracks on building, road resurfacing? Of course we can advise you professionally based on visual inspections as it is crucial for us to put things in the right perspective. However, if there is a need to do a testing or evaluation by structural engineer, we would advise you to do so where necessary.
17.  What are the tools that you used for building inspection? back to top
  Besides of visual camera and laser distance, we also use damp meter to measure the dampness level on the walls too. Many other specific tools are used but depends on the scope of works and situation. The most important tool is actually the experience, technique and well-trained eyes of the building inspector to identify defects and potential problem areas.
18.  Do you have professional indemnity insurance? back to top
  It is not a defects insurance policy but is a protection against claims for negligence. That is if we were to fall below the standard of skill and care reasonably to be expected of a competent registered surveyor.
19.  Can the Building Inspector’s Report being used in the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims? back to top
  We are professional and registered Building Surveyor who remains unbiased to the client as a third party and our inspection reports are objectively comprehensive according to the guidelines of checklist. The report would list down all the defects identified and their possible causes.
20.  Is it worth the cost? back to top
  We believe it is. If significant defects are discovered then, depending upon market conditions, the purchaser is given the opportunity to renegotiate the purchase price to reflect the necessary repair cost. We are looking for defects and potential defects which may give rise to unexpected or unwelcome expenditure. Property is a mixed bag. Of the very many surveys we carry out each year there are some spectacular examples of seriously defective property which justify the very many other surveys which reveal no significant defects
21.  I've been offered a cheap deal if I have my valuation and survey done by the same company/person. back to top
  The problem with doing this is the surveyor has to have very different skills to both value the property and survey it. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors recognises this and have two different divisions which are trained in different ways. They also have different qualifications although confusingly they are both called Chartered Surveyors. Valuers are called chartered valuation surveyors and building surveyors are called chartered building surveyors.

Many valuers are not that comfortable carrying out surveys of any sort and more specifically not comfortable carrying out building surveys. Commercial pressures mean they are being forced into now doing building surveys as well as valuation surveys - the deal where the survey and valuation come cheaper is one such instance. In our experience this tactic is often used by valuation companies (often owned by the mortgage companies and estate agents as a way of keeping staff fully employed - we once heard it said that it’s like asking your doctor to pull your teeth out - you should use a specialist!)