What is a Building Surveyor?

Sean Marshall - Chairman, Chartered + Registered Building Surveyor
Sean Marshall – Chairman, Chartered + Registered Building Surveyor

By Sean MarshallA building survey is the inspection and investigation of the construction and services of a property in sufficient depth to enable a surveyor to advise what impact the condition of that property will have upon a client/owner. The extent of the survey must be sufficient to enable the surveyor to advise upon any future problems that may occur with the various components of the building. The surveyor must also be in a position to advise the client/owner of where the property does not meet the requirements of modern legislation and of any alterations that must be carried out in order to comply with those requirements. It is important to bear in mind that the building survey is the consideration of what is found applied to the particular needs of each client.

So what are the different types of building survey?

  1. Diagnostic survey – A diagnostic investigation sets out to establish on a balance of probabilities the nature and cause of defect(s). The investigation methodology is recorded, as are the steps, so that the conclusion is supported by the evidence of the investigation. This type of investigation and reporting form the majority of the building surveys carried out at Prendos.
  2. Repair of failure(s) survey – A survey carried out intended to inform the client why, for example, the chimney fell through the upper floor and what they should do about it.
  3. Partial inspection survey – A survey that focuses on a particular part of a building.  Instructions might come in the form of ‘the architrave around the lounge window is growing mushrooms, can I eat them?’  With this type of survey, it is important to confirm what has specifically been inspected.
  4. Company sales / change in ownership survey – This might involve the investigation of the assets of a company and their condition prior to the sale or acquisition of the company.
  5. Sale of property survey – A survey undertaken to assess the condition of a multi-story office block, factory, house, shopping centre, aircraft hanger etc, required prior to the prospective purchaser signing on the dotted line.
  6. Maintenance management survey – A survey undertaken so that essential repairs may be designed and a budget produced for annual repairs or for maintenance budgets.
  7. Pre-emptive maintenance survey – A survey undertaken to identify the components which should be routinely replaced ahead of failure.
  8. Stock condition survey – A survey undertaken to provide data on the physical condition and current performance of an organisation’s current building stock in connection with the preparation of a maintenance programme.  The report should enable decision-makers to make informed judgments on how they should act to arrest or reverse building degradation and the cost implications of not doing so.
  9. Reinstatement survey – A survey undertaken in order to produce a building Schedule of Condition, for example, prior to tenant possession. The Schedule of Condition should be appended to the lease agreement so that a clear and accurate record on the state of the demised premises at time of possession is known.  A further reinstatement survey should be carried out when the tenant vacates the building. The Schedule of Condition produced on this occasion, should include costs associated with the reinstatement work that is required to be carried out by the tenant under the terms of the lease agreement.
  10. Access audit survey – A survey undertaken to advise upon those parts of a building which form an unsafe element to the building or which may act as a barrier to access for those with limited sight or mobility.

It is evident through the growing number of instructions that we receive, that property managers, landlords and tenants are becoming increasingly aware of the benefit of appointing a qualified surveyor to carry out tailored building surveys to suit particular client requirements.

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