RICS Building Survey FAQs


Formerly known as a “Full Structural Survey”, Building Surveys are the most comprehensive property investigation endorsed by RICS. Read some of our most frequently asked questions about them below.

How do I know if a Building Survey is the right choice?

Choosing the right survey is essential for getting the right amount of information about the property you are about to buy. There are no strict rules about when a property would benefit more from a Building Survey than a HomeBuyer Report, however there are some guidelines. We generally recommend a Building Survey if your property meets any of the following criteria:

• The building is especially large
• It’s over 80 years old
• It’s a heritage property or listed building
• It was constructed using unconventional methods or materials
• The condition is noticeably poor
• It has undergone – or will undergo – significant alterations

You can find more information on our Building Surveys page, or you can contact one of our experts to discuss the specific property you have in mind.

What is included in a Building Survey?

The comprehensive nature of a RICS Building Survey means that the surveyor will endeavour to investigate all accessible areas of the property using non-invasive techniques. You can expect them to inspect all internal and external spaces, including outbuildings, loft rooms and areas that are covered by wall hangings or loose carpets.

This is to produce an in-depth report that will provide highly detailed insight into the building’s condition, arming you with everything you need to know before making an informed decision about purchasing, selling or renovating the property. The report will be broken down by location, with the urgency of any concerns or defects clearly highlighted using a traffic light system. Your surveyor will include background details about the issue as well as advice about repairs, maintenance options and estimated costs.

Can I have a Building Survey on an apartment?

In most cases, the scope of a HomeBuyer Report is enough to glean a full overview of an apartment. The extra detail provided in a Building Survey (such as inspections of the roof and exterior grounds) would not be applicable, losing some of the report’s value. However, certain properties across London may still benefit from an in-depth report, such as mansion blocks, penthouse apartments and period properties that have been converted into flats.

To discuss the details of a particular property, please get in touch and we can help you find the most appropriate survey.

Do Building Surveys expire?

RICS property surveys don’t have an ‘expiration’ date. However, the reports are based on the evidence that the surveyor finds on the day of the investigation, so the longer it has been since the survey was carried out, the less accurate the report may be. Without another survey it is impossible to tell whether all the defects in the report have been addressed or left to deteriorate further.

If the current owner offers you a copy of a report but you are concerned about its accuracy, it’s always best to reassure yourself with a new survey, carried out on your behalf. Buying a new home is a huge investment; you have every right to be certain about its condition before you commit.

Does the Building Survey include a valuation?

Building Surveys do not include valuations as standard, however if you require a valuation for any purpose, please speak to your surveyor and we can arrange for this to be carried out at the same time as your survey.