Frequently Asked Questions

What type of survey do I need?

Each property is individual and the time taken to investigate the property and address the concerns of the client are different. Generally, for a pre-1900's property or one which has been or it is planned to be extensively renovated or extended, a Building Survey would generally be recommended. For a more modern property which is of conventional construction and in reasonable condition, a RICS HomeBuyer survey would usually be more appropriate.

If you are buying a new home, it may be more appropriate to consider a Snagging Report which will identify deficiencies in the quality of the building construction.

We can discuss the options with you to ensure you receive the most appropriate and cost effective survey to meet your needs.


Is a market valuation included in a Building Survey?

Usually a market valuation is not included in a Building Survey as the report is tailored to an individual client's requirements and a market valuation may not always be relevant. A market valuation can be added to the report but this involves additional work and there would be an additional fee.


Can you do a Building Survey on a flat?

No, a Building Survey is not suitable for a flat as in most cases not all parts of the building are readily accessible during the survey inspection.

A RICS HomeBuyer Report would usually be recommended for a flat. This would cover the flat itself but will also bring to your notice the maintenance responsibilities which might affect the building as a whole, for which you may have a potential liability.


What is a Structural Survey?

The term 'Structural Survey' has been superseded and surveys of this type are now normally referred to as a Building Survey. This will include a detailed examination of all accessible parts of the property and can be tailor-made to suit your individual needs and concerns.


What is a Probate Valuation and do I need one?

A probate valuation is the market value of a property which forms part of a deceased's estate, at the time of death. Normally this would be done by an independent Chartered Surveyor to RICS standards.


If my lender is commissioning a mortgage valuation, do I also need a survey?

When you buy a house and need a mortgage, a lender will commission a mortgage valuation. The valuation advises the lender of the value of a property and of any characteristics, including significant defects, which might affect its value as security for the proposed loan.

A mortgage valuation involves a brief inspection of the property (usually less than 20 minutes in length) and should not be confused with a survey. The report is for the lender only and is very much a pro-forma in style and is usually only two to three pages in length.

You should not rely on a mortgage valuation to assess the condition of a property and instead should commission independent survey advice.


What is the survey process?

Once we have been instructed to undertake a survey, we will arrange to send the client formal terms of engagement. We will then arrange for a surveyor to visit the property to perform their inspection.

The time required for a comprehensive inspection may range from a few hours to a full day or more depending on the size and complexity of the property.

Once the surveyor has inspected the property they will telephone the client to discuss their findings and any issues which are of concern, prior to completing their report.

The formal written report will then be prepared within our standard timescales and emailed and/or posted to the client.

Our surveyors are very happy to discuss the report with the client once it has been received and considered.


What is the RICS?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the leading profession for property professionals. It regulates its members to ensure the highest standards; protects clients and consumers via a strict code of ethics; and provides impartial advice and guidance.

The body currently accredits 118,000 professionals and any individual or firm registered with the RICS is subject to quality assurance and is required to keep up to date with current practice through a programme of lifelong learning.

Cotswold Surveyors is regulated by the RICS and our Chartered Surveyors are also Registered Valuers.


What is a Shared Ownership Valuation and do I need one?

In order to sell a shared ownership lease or purchase an increased proportion of the property, you will need to obtain a market valuation which will involve a brief inspection of the property.

The report must be prepared by a Chartered Surveyor, who is also a Registered Valuer and will be in an approved format.


What is a Right to Buy Valuation and do I need one?

The Right to Buy Scheme allows council tenants to buy their council home at a discount. If you are trying to buy your property it is likely that a district valuer from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will visit your home and decide how much it's worth. This will be the basis of your offer to buy. In this situation, you do not need to a Chartered Surveyor to value the property. However, you may engage a Chartered Surveyor to assess the condition of a property and instead should commission independent survey advice.


What is a 'Home Office Immigration Accommodation Report'?

When an individual is coming from a country outside of the EC to live in the UK, they have to confirm that they are moving into accommodation which is of a suitable standard, safe from serious health and safety hazards and which will not be made overcrowded by their arrival.

The Entry Clearance Officers at the UK Border Agency (UKBA) often ask for proof that the property being moved into is suitable. The British High Commission/UKBA requests that a suitably qualified person undertakes this work. Cotswold Surveyors are able to prepare such reports.


Do I need a Structural Engineer?

Structural Engineers specialise in the structure of buildings (foundations, walls and roofs). They provide services whereby they will inspect specific problems with existing buildings for example those showing signs of subsidence or heave in the foundations, movement or cracking of the walls or sagging of the ceiling or the roofline. They can also help with structural design and calculations for changes.

Sometimes a Building or HomeBuyer survey will identify structural defects in a property and the report will recommend a further investigation by a Structural Engineer.

A Structural Engineer is likely to be a member of the IStructE (Institution of Structural Engineers) or a member of the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers).


My house is non-traditional. What does this mean?

Houses built with non-traditional construction usually uses systems of building focused on speed and economy of construction. Buildings of this type were particularly common in the 1950's and were often used by local authorities to mass build. Many of these houses were designated as 'defective' under Part XV1 Housing Act 1985.


Can I have a survey on a property with a non-traditional construction?

There are many types of non-traditional properties including metal frame, concrete frame, timber frame and concrete.

Depending on the type of construction, we are often able to undertake surveys on properties of this type and some of our surveyors have specialisms. However, if we feel that we do not have the relevant experience to perform a survey we would discuss this with a client and look at the options available.

"Thank you so much for dealing with our valuation so quickly and efficiently. I am very impressed with your service and will not hesitate to recommend you."

Mrs B – November 2016