Building Surveys

Building Surveys – Residential

At A-Com Building Surveying Solutions we offer an up to date choice of building surveys to suit your individual requirements. These are:

  • A client attended Building Survey with a Bullet Point Report.
  • Building Survey with a detailed Report.
  • Specific defect survey, such as leaking roof, pyrite, dampness etc.

Client Attended Building Survey:

Some of the benefits of this type of survey are:

  • We will point out to you any noted areas of defect and invite you to ask questions or discuss the significance of any findings.
  • Where joint inspections with other professionals such as mechanical and electrical engineers, structural engineers, lighting/interior designers, are also appointed we are able to liaise with them at the time of the inspection and clarify their initial findings.
  • Enables you to discuss any future development or refurbishment idea’s for the property and provide the initial stages of developing a Design Brief which can extend to considerations of planning and building regulation issues together with neighborly matters such as party wall matters, potential for crane over sailing licenses and the like.
  • Following the inspection we produce a Bullet Point Report, which is in a far briefer and to the point format to that of a traditional Building Survey Report and is therefore compiled and delivered to you far sooner.
  • Considered to be an ideal format for pre-auction inspections where time is limited.

This Bullet Point Report should fulfill all your written requirements that you may need for your intended purchase.

This type of survey will also potentially save you days of waiting for a full written Building Survey report.

Major Defects Survey

This is a more traditional approach of a Building Survey.

We attend at the property and take details to enable us to provide a detailed Report, wherever possible identifying any noted defects and offer a solution as to its repair or renewal.

Major Defects Survey / Structural Survey

We arbuilding-surveys-1e often approached by house buyers seeking assurances that there are no major or structural problems with the property they intend to purchase. This may be because they intend to strip out the fittings and completely renovate the property or, conversely, because the interior fittings and services have been recently installed and are known to be in good condition.

In these circumstances, we advise on a Major Defects (or Structural) Survey. This is a detailed visual examination of the main structural components, i.e. the walls, floors and roof, insofar as they can be seen, focusing on identifying any major problems, such as subsidence, timber decay, woodworm and dampness. We are also looking for any adverse effects on the main structure as caused by window replacements, loft conversions, the removal of walls, chimney breasts, wall tie failure and sulphate attack in concrete.

We ignore the so-called cosmetic aspects of the property such as kitchen and bathroom fittings and decorations. The electrical services, heating and plumbing are also excluded.

This is an abridged version of the full Building Survey and, because we are limiting our report to these major structural elements of the property, it is more economically priced than the full Building Survey, whilst giving sound advice on technical defects.

This may involve an assessment of the cause of any crack damage in the masonry, the internal finishes, or distortion in the floors and the walls. We carry out a full inspection of the damage with a view to providing a firm opinion on the cause and the necessary remedial action, which could range from cosmetic repairs only, such as the filling or repointing of fractures, the removal of trees or drains, to underpinning.

Building Survey

building-surveys-2This is a very detailed survey during which the surveyor will identify the cause of defects, both major and minor, and provide the required remedy. The report covers the same technical aspects as the Homebuyer, but in more diagnostic detail. The survey will detail the property’s construction and materials. An elemental assessment will be given of the property’s condition in the surveyor’s own format.

The Building Survey embraces structural movement, dampness, timber defects including woodworm and rot, insulation and drainage, kitchen and bathroom fittings, electrical, heating and plumbing services, external areas, boundary walls and fences. It is more appropriate than an RICS Homebuyer Report for old, dilapidated or unusual types of property. A Building Survey is carried out by a Chartered Building Surveyor.

The Building Survey is more expensive than any other type of report in recognition of the work required. A Building Survey will not normally include a valuation, which should be requested at the time of instruction, if required.

This type of report is often called for by a Valuation Surveyor acting for a mortgage lender in connection with a property sale. It is often referred to as a structural engineers report. The purpose is to provide assurances that the property has no major structural faults, which could otherwise adversely affect the value.

This may involve an assessment of the cause of any crack damage in the masonry, the internal finishes, or distortion in the floors and the walls. We carry out a full inspection of the damage with a view to providing a firm opinion on the cause and the necessary remedial action, which could range from cosmetic repairs only, such as the filling or repointing of fractures, the removal of trees or drains, to underpinning.

With non-traditional dwellings, such as steel, timber or concrete framed structures, originally designed with a limited life expectancy, mortgage lenders will often require a structural report, given that some of these house types were known to incorporate defects which could affect future saleability

Sulphate Attack

The Valuer acting for a Mortgage Lender may require an opinion as to whether sulphate damage has been caused to concrete floors, sometimes including detailed investigations.

Sulphate attack is a chemical reaction between soluble salts, known as sulphates, and concrete. These sulphates are often found in inappropriate fill material, such as colliery shale or demolition brick hardcore, which was often used as a base for concrete floors in the 1960s and 1970s. This reaction, which requires water to act as the catalyst, causes expansion within the concrete causing it to arch and crack and can lead to the bulging, cracking and displacement of brickwork in contact with the concrete. It can be progressive dependent on the level of sulphate concentrations in the hardcore and concrete.

Where present and found to be the cause of damage, it is often necessary to replace the concrete and the underlying contaminated hardcore material.

Surveys at a Glance

Basic Homebuyer Report (level 2) Building Survey
(level 3)
Major Defects/Structural Survey
Type of Property Applies to conventional properties built within the last 150 years & in reasonable condition. Suitable for all properties, particularly listed buildings, older properties, those of unusual construction, renovated buildings. Suitable for all properties.
Type of Service A mid-price, mid-range service using a standard form to focus on urgent or major problems. A detailed report- the most comprehensive technical report on the market, detailing the construction, materials used, major & minor faults. Abridged version of the building survey homing-in on the main structural components.
Reason for survey To help you make an informed judgement on whether to buy the property. To work out if the property is a sensible price. To be clear on the decision and actions to be taken before contracts are exchanged. To provide a full report detailing the condition and construction of all aspects of the property. To highlight faults and advise on the repairs needed. To provide detailed advice on structural stability, timber diseases, and dampness. Provides assessment of the general condition of main structural elements, ie walls, floors and roof.
Age of property applicable Any < 150 years old Any Any
Suitable for cash buyer
What’s included:
Dampness Yes Yes Yes
Structural timbers No Yes Yes
Structural movement No Yes Yes
Drains Yes Yes Only if investigating a structural problem
Electrical installation Yes Yes No
Plumbing & heating Yes Yes No
Sanitary & kitchen fittings Yes Yes No
Valuation Yes Optional extra Optional extra
Rebuild cost for insurance purposes Yes Optional extra Optional extra
Garage Yes Yes Yes
Chartered Surveyor (RICS)
Report format RICS standard format Detailed report in surveyor’s own format Detailed report in surveyor’s own format
Time typically spent on site 2.5 hours 2.5 hours 1.5 hours
Typical turnaround time 2 days 2 days 1 day


Commercial Surveying services offered are:

  • Asbestos Survey and Management
  • Dilapidations
  • Schedule Of Condition

Domestic Surveying services include:

  • Building Survey – full, or partial.
  • Defect Analysis and Proposed Remedial Works
  • Existing and Proposed Plans (extension, renovation, loft conversion etc)
  • Building Control and Planning Approvals
  • Project Management of Construction Works
  • Asbestos Survey
  • Non-Domestic EPC’s