Pre-Acquisition Surveys and Advice
The purchase of a property is probably the largest single investment that someone will undertake, consequently it is important that the appropriate advice is taken to ensure that the purchaser is properly informed about the buildings construction and its condition. Commissioning an independent survey is a simple and economical way to avoid unpleasant and perhaps costly surprises at a later date, the old adage (caveat emptor) buyer beware is important.
Purchasers could be storing up trouble if they buy without commissioning a survey, says RICS following the BBC ‘Watchdog’ housing special, which included an item highlighting the problems that were later found to exist after completion of a purchase. Had the purchaser organised their own survey these defects would have been identified and the appropriate action undertaken.
These are several types of survey:
Specific Defect Survey
This investigates a specific issue, for example deflection within a chimney stack or an issue with structural movement. This is normally provided to property owners and not property purchasers. It is therefore important that the client explains exactly what their concerns are and that the surveyor confirms and clarifies the instruction to avoid any confusion.
Building Survey (Structural)
The ‘Building Survey’ format and content will vary considerably between various surveying practices, however the content and level of detail will be considerably more detailed and specific than the HBSV. The most significant benefit to the purchaser is that the report is bespoke and structured to meet the requirements of the building. This survey is suitable for all types of properties from a modern construction to listed properties of architectural significance. An APA building survey will typically extend to approximately 25-30 pages of manuscript and include photographs which are cross referenced within the report to assist the client to understand any issues and advice provided by the surveyor.