If you’re buying a property, you’ll need to arrange a survey so that you understand any issues before moving in. So, what is a Structural Survey and is it the right choice for your property?
Is a RICS Building Survey a Structural Survey?
The terminology of surveys can get a little confusing and it’s worth pointing out at the beginning that a RICS Level 3 Building Survey is the new name for a Structural Survey. It’s still often referred to as a Structural Survey and gives you the most detail of all residential property surveys.
“Structural Surveys” are now considered to be structural evaluations carried out by structural engineers.
What does the surveyor check?
When carrying out a Level 3 Survey, your surveyor will check a wide range of things to give a comprehensive overview of the property and any existing/potential issues. They will check everything that’s covered in Level 1 and 2 Surveys, including:
- The property’s overall condition
- Potential legal issues
- Urgent defects
- Timber/damp issues
- Japanese knotweed
However, the RICS Level 3 Building Survey goes further and also covers:
- Potential problems caused by hidden flaws
- Dangerous risks such as subsidence, structural movement, woodworm, and dampness
- Repair options
- Advice on what may happen if you don’t carry out repairs
You also have the option to include a property valuation.
Does a Level 3 Survey cover damp?
During a Level 3 Survey, your surveyor will specifically check for signs of damp throughout the property and offer advice on what to do next if they discover a problem.
How long does a full Structural Survey take?
The length of time a Level 3 Survey takes depends on many factors including the property size/type. As the most comprehensive option, a Level 3 Survey is likely to take longer than Level 1 and 2 Surveys as it covers more and goes into greater detail. Our knowledgeable team will be able to advise you more accurately when you get in touch.
How much does a Structural Survey cost?
The Level 3 Building Survey is the most comprehensive survey available. For this reason, it is the most expensive option but will still cost just a fraction of the property’s value. The exact survey cost will depend on the building itself but will be worth it for the reassurance it provides you and your mortgage lender.
Is it worth having a full Structural Survey?
If your property is a new, conventional building then it’s unlikely to need a full Level 3 Survey and you could consider a Level 1 or 2 Survey instead. The Level 3 Survey looks into potential issues that are generally not found in these properties.
However, you should arrange a full Level 3 Survey if the property is:
- 100+ years old
- In poor condition
- Unusually built
- Constructed from non-conventional materials
- Or you’re planning big renovations
If you’re not sure which is the right survey for your property, we will be happy to offer guidance.
Get in touch
A Level 3 Survey is a great way to put your mind at ease when buying a property. Your surveyor will carry out thorough checks and offer advice on best next steps so that you have all the information you need.