Residential Surveys House Photo

What is the difference between a structural survey, a home buyers’ report and a building inspection report?

There are three types of surveys commonly carried out on residential properties.

The first is a Valuation. This is a survey which gives advice on the value of the property. The surveyor (normally a valuer rather than a Chartered Building Surveyor) will advise in broad terms, on any major defects that are apparent that have a significant effect on value. This type of survey will only report in a very summary manner (ie. on roofs, walls, floors, structural stability and dampness) and will not provide any detail. If you require advice on the condition of the property you are buying this is not a suitable form of survey to rely upon.

The second type of survey is a Home Buyers’ Report. This is a form of report that is intended to be more economic to buy than a full survey (also known as a Building Inspection Report or Structural Survey) by enabling the surveyor to report in a set format reducing the time required to produce a report.

In our experience the cost of a Home Buyers’s Report is normally some 2/3rds the cost of a full survey and should generally provide all the essential information you require. The advantage of this form of report is that it is cheaper than a full survey. The major disadvantage is that at Langley Byers Bennett we do not believe this set format gives the surveyor the opportunity to report in enough detail on defects that have been seen, or deal with any special issues that may be particular to the individual house or flat concerned.

The third type of survey is a Building Inspection Report, also known as a Structural Survey or a Full Survey. This includes a full inspection of all accessible parts of the property and reports in detail upon everything that can be seen. The report is produced in a bespoke style to suit your requirements and those of the property in question and the report will deal with all parts of the building and covers defects or maintenance issues in detail.

Formally known as a Building Inspection Report this type of survey is also sometimes described as a ‘Full Survey’ or ‘Structural Survey’. The term Structural Survey although widely used by the public is not generally used by Chartered Building Surveyors any longer as it is thought the term ‘structural’ is a little ambiguous and left people unsure what precisely was included within the survey.