Why do I need a Survey?

When purchasing an existing property, the principle of “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) applies.   This means you purchase the property with notice of any existing faults, visible or hidden.  We strongly recommend retaining your own surveyor (usually an engineer or architect) to carry out a detailed structural survey.

The position with new builds is better from a purchaser’s point of view than with second hand properties in that the purchaser will have contractual protections and also, usually, the benefit of  construction standards in the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation.  These however are subject to significant limitations and only go a certain way towards protecting the purchaser.  While some people opt not to engage a surveyor for a new build it remains prudent to do so.

Will the Bank’s survey not do?

Lenders will usually carry out a “survey”.  This is generally just a valuation, is not carried out for your benefit and will not suffice for the above purposes.

When should the survey be carried out?

Ideally the survey is carried out after we have received the contracts from the solicitor for the seller. This is because the contracts will usually be accompanied by maps and planning documentation which will be of assistance to the surveyor.

Unfortunately, it frequently happens that purchasers find themselves under pressure to carry out an early structural survey even though neither the contract map nor planning documents are available from the seller’s side.  If that is the case in today’s market, you may have little choice but to go ahead and ask the surveyor to later finalise his mapping and planning checks.