A: My fees are specific to the type of property. The fee reflects the amount of time I will spend getting to and carrying out a comprehensive survey of the property. The time spent on the property will depend on its location, type, size, age, form of construction and general condition.
My approach has always been to allow you the purchaser, to make a fully informed decision in purchasing your future house. I therefore never claim to be the cheapest and only seek to charge a fair fee, that reflects the time I spend on the survey to provide you with a detail report.
How to choose your surveyor?
For a start – Please refer to my 6 top tips for selecting a surveyor. Your decision should be based on the detail provided in the report and the reputation of the surveyor. It is a big purchase and you cannot make your decision solely on cost.
Should I engage a Surveyor, Engineer or Architect?
Obviously as a Chartered and Registered Building Surveyor – my view will be biased. But a specialist Building Surveyor has a specific skillset and range of experience based (in my case) on surveying thousands of properties. My own unique range of experience leaves me ideally placed to provide an expert survey. In certain cases – there may be a need to engage a Structural Engineer to advise on a specific structural issue post-purchase and this is where I will refer you for specialist advice.
What is a Pre-Purchase survey?
A Pre-Purchase Survey gives you the buyer an impartial evaluation of the overall condition of a property prior to purchase. It allows you to make an informed decision – very few (if any) properties are perfect and a survey provides peace of mind, reducing the risk associated with what, will be the largest purchase most people will ever make.
The primary function is to identify structural failure or defect, significant damp/moisture ingress issues and any aspects of the property that require upgrade, improvement or require a further more invasive investigation. A good detailed Pre-Purchase Survey also assists your solicitor with title issues.
On request – the survey can identify alterations to the property that may require Planning Permission and / or a Certificate of Compliance. I can also check the vendors Architects Opinions and Certificates of Compliance to ensure that they match the property. I can also check that the boundaries “as established on the ground” reflect those of the registered Land Registry ‘Folio’ map.
There are two types of property inspection:
Pre-Purchase Survey for second hand properties – as detailed above.
Snag List for new houses / apartments – this is a list of the aspects that require repair or improvement before your ‘close’ your contract to purchase.
What Level of Detail of Survey do I provide?
When I quote for a survey – I provide a sample report of the survey and I also have a sample report on this website (Link). I use the RICS licenced Building Survey template and I use a licensed specialist Building Survey software based on an iPad.
Typically the final reports can be anywhere between 45-90 pages and contain annotated photos, identified Repairs/defects and any items that require Further Investigation.
The SCSI have three recognised levels of Survey – I generally carry out a Level 3 Survey (further details on the SCSI website https://www.scsi.ie/documents/get_lob?id=6&field=file).
In limited circumstances – such as when a purchaser is bidding on a property for an auction at short notice – I can carry out a walk-through survey and give a brief summary report.
What is the difference between a Pre-purchase Survey, a house Survey, a Building Survey and a Structural Survey?
In essence there is no difference between the above. They are all essentially the same thing. The only difference would be that a true structural survey would require opening up of the foundations and removal of wall finishes for inspection. This obviously is not permitted, when you are submitting an offer to purchase a property. And it is therefore important that your surveyor has broad experience of the structure of buildings and can ‘read’ the structure of a roof and patterns of cracking – that indicate movement beyond typical settlement in a property.
How experienced am I?
I am a surveyor with 29 years’ experience and have a unique mix of experience having also worked with a Building Contractor, in Quantity Surveying and in Architecture – where I designed and led design teams on all types, value and scale of projects. I carry out the survey myself, so no juniors acting on my behalf.
I am a professional member of both the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland – MSCSI and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – MRICS. I am a registered Building Surveyor in Ireland – register number B0272.
I carry full and current Professional Indemnity Insurance
What type of Buildings do I survey?
I have surveyed everything from a house to a hotel, a cottage to a castle, a single apartment to a block of apartments, factories, office, shops, church buildings, rectories, schools, parish halls. As I have carried out an average 20-30 surveys per annum for a religious body for over 10 years – I have extensive experience in older and period properties.
What if problems are found?
No house is perfect. For a second hand property – there will be a list of repairs, advised upgrades/improvement and aspects that from experience will require further investigation – e.g. roof level inspections, CCTV inspection of chimney flues or simply a period of living in the property. There is of course that the property is not suitable for purchase and typically I advise 1 in 12 clients either to reconsider or not to proceed with a purchase.
A Gallery Of Properties I Have Surveyed
After much negotiation the sellers reduced the price by 50K. You gave us an excellent understanding of how much work was involved – way more than we thought including knocking down the extension!