What is a RICS Building Survey?


A Level 3 Building Survey is the most detailed and comprehensive RICS survey available. Formerly known as a Full Structural Survey, it includes a detailed evaluation of the condition and construction of the property, using a traffic light condition ratings system to highlight the findings in a format that is easy for the layman to understand.

A Building Survey Report will provide a description of the condition of each element of the property, and identify any building defects along with likely causes. We will furthermore make professional recommendations for urgent repairs, maintenance issues and cost implications of any suggested repairs. The report broadly comprises:

  • In-depth appraisal of construction materials and methods used
  • Technical assessment of significant defects found, plus advice on appropriate course of action
  • Description of less significant defects, general disrepair and shortcomings in the building’s condition, maintenance and design
  • A photographic inventory of the property, any defects found and other highlighted issues

For your ultimate peace of mind, our RICS Building Survey reports adhere to all professional RICS standards, the benchmark for best practice.

Is a RICS Building Survey the right choice?

At SSJ Surveyors, we offer the full suite of RICS property surveys, and are happy to provide our professional guidance to help you choose the right survey for your property and your needs. A RICS Building Survey can be carried out for any property, however we would particularly recommend this type of structural survey for older, larger or unusual properties with complex surveying issues. These include:

  • Large buildings and high value properties
  • Properties that are more than 50 years old, and especially historic buildings and Grade I, II* and II listed buildings
  • Buildings of any age that are built with non-standard construction methods or materials, including timber framed properties, steel framed homes, wattle and daub construction, thatched properties, prefabricated concrete houses, and eco builds
  • Properties that have been substantially altered or extended, or that are proposed to undergo major alteration or refurbishment

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recommends that all purchasers should have a Building Survey, not only because it is the most extensive report but also because it provides far greater detail and gives more recommendations on how to approach any remedial work than a mid-range RICS HomeBuyer Report.

At Silk Sharples Jennings, we can advise on the right level of survey for your residential property purchase and talk you through all the available options. Rest assured that our professional expertise is available to you throughout the process, from undertaking the survey and providing the report to discussing the findings with you in depth.

What does the RICS Building Survey cover?

Our surveyor will carry out a detailed inspection of all visible, accessible parts of the property including roofs and chimneys, doors and windows, walls and floors, cellars and basements, garages and outbuildings. The visit will take around 3-5 hours, depending on the size and type of property.

While we will check cupboards and manholes and inspect services, enclosed or hidden parts of the building will not be examined. Specific aspects such as heating or electrical installations are also outside the scope of a RICS Building Survey unless an additional Building Defect Report has been requested.

Our Chartered Surveyors have a legal responsibility to identify and inform you of any major problems found. This means they will be actively searching for building defects and potential problems including but not limited to:

  • Evidence of subsidence and/or the presence of large trees close to the house
  • Evidence of damp, existing damp proofing and insulation, and drainage issues
  • Damage to brickwork and roof structures
  • Damage to timbers, including evidence of woodworm, dry rot and wet rot
  • Structural issues including alterations to supporting walls
  • Presence of asbestos or other potentially hazardous materials
  • Information on building materials used, including any technical information
  • Renovations carried out without relevant planning consent

The extensive final report will incorporate photographs of the property including visual evidence of the identified defects, where possible.

Contact Us

At SSJ Surveyors, we have built our reputation on providing impartial advice to clients who trust our independent professional judgement and expert technical skills. Please get in touch with our friendly team to discuss your next residential property purchase and how a RICS Building Survey can protect your interests. For all your property surveying needs in Shrewsbury and beyond, we should be your first port of call.

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