Who is a building surveyor?

Who is a building surveyor?


A building surveyor is trained to provide advice about land, property and building construction. Most surveyors have completed a University degree in surveying, construction or property development. However, becoming a fully-skilled surveyor can take years of training – often under the instruction of a more experienced colleague. Commonly, surveyors will have already worked in the construction industry for years as perhaps a builder or architect.  When choosing a surveyor it’s important to look at not only their qualifications but their experience, insurance credentials and references too.  For example, I first met my business partner in the County Court years ago when we both expert witnesses in a dispute case. He had a practical background, studied very hard and is now a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS). He’s now in great demand as an expert witness/arbitrator and mediator and it was his practical experience that led the way to him being professionally qualified and in great demand.

What does a building surveyor do?

You may need to hire a building surveyor for one of the following reasons:

  • To carry out a Homebuyer Report – this report was specially designed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to give an overview of the state and value of a property. Homebuyer Reports are suitable for modern homes which are in a fairly good state of repair.
  • To complete a building survey – if you’re looking for a more in-depth assessment of a property then it’s best to commission a full building survey. It’s especially important to commission a building survey if you’re thinking about buying a very old or dilapidated property.
  • To draw up building plans – if you’re extending or renovating an existing property or building a new house from scratch, a surveyor can draw up building plans for you. A surveyor can also look over any existing plans to identify faults and recommend solutions.
  • To help with planning applications – it’s essential to comply with UK planning laws when carrying out work on any property, otherwise you can end up with a hefty fine – you might even be forced to undo the work. Planning applications can be complicated, expensive and time consuming to complete; a building surveyor can help you navigate the process and may even agree to make the application for you.
  • To advise on building regulations – any building work you carry out must also comply with UK building regulations to ensure it’s safe and meets good standards of energy efficiency. A building surveyor will be able to advise on which building regulations you need to follow and will make sure your project adheres to these rules.
  • Help solve disputes – if you’re having a dispute with a tradesman, find an experienced building surveyor who can act as an independent judge to assess whether the work was of a good quality and determine what needs to be done to resolve the dispute.

Benefits of commissioning a building survey

Building surveys are one of the most common tasks a surveyor will carry out.  It’s especially important to commission a building survey for properties over 75 years old, for listed buildings or properties that you plan on substantially refurbishing. Here are some of the main benefits of commissioning a building survey:

  • A building survey will help you decide whether the property is worth the asking price.
  • A survey could uncover serious underlying faults in the building which may cost thousands to put right years down the line and could even jeopardise your health and safety.
  • If you are buying a property with the specific intention to renovate, then a building survey is especially important – no council will grant you planning permission if the basic structure of the property is unsound.
  • The results of a survey can also allow you room to negotiate on price and provide you with all important peace of mind.
  • Some mortgage lenders allow a building survey to double as a valuation (the surveyor may need to be approved by the mortgage lender

Get more information on why you should commission a full building survey contact us on 0207 1128 766

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