Residential Building Survey Conditions of Engagement
The surveyor, who will be a chartered surveyor, will produce a written report for the client based upon an inspection of the property as detailed below. The report will state the surveyor’s opinion of the state of repair and condition of the property in relation to the quality of its structure. The report will seek to identify any major defects or essential repairs to assist the client in making an informed decision about their intended purchase.
It will be appreciated that whilst the examination will be as extensive as access and circumstances permit, matters such as occupation and the presence of furnishings, fittings, contents and carpets impose restrictions and both, the inspection and report, therefore, will be subject to certain limitations.
The surveyor will advise the client as to his opinion of the state of repair and condition of the property in relation to the quality of its structure and not as an inventory of every single defect, and save as hereinafter provided, will carry out such work as is reasonable in his professional judgement, bearing in mind the practical limitations imposed by the individual circumstances of the property at the time of his inspection.
As much of the surface area, both externally and internally, as is practicable will be inspected and trapdoors will be lifted where accessible and where reasonable to do so. Fitted floor coverings, fitted carpets, furnishings and/or fixtures or fittings will not be moved to facilitate inspection.
The roof and upper areas, together with flat roofs which can be accessed, will be inspected from ground level or from a nearby available vantage point within the curtilage of the property or adjoining public/communal areas. To aid this inspection, the surveyor will use a three metre ladder although due regard will be had to his safety in undertaking such inspection. Close proximity of nearby buildings or tall trees may preclude inspection of certain parts of the property including roof surfaces, chimney stacks, etc. The roof void will be inspected assuming a suitable access point is available. Household effects or other stored items within the roof void will not be moved. No comment can be made upon the practicality of using the chimney(s).
Except where the contrary is stated, parts of the structure and of the woodwork, which are covered, unexposed or inaccessible, will not be inspected and it is, of course, impossible to examine every part of every timber. The report will not attempt to express an opinion or to advise upon the condition of those parts not inspected and the report should not be taken as making any implied representation of statement about such parts.
Wherever possible, the structure will be examined for evidence of movement or foundation problems. However, no excavations will be made to expose the foundations or establish their nature. Theoretical calculations to check sizes and/or adequacy of structural elements will not be made.
A general comment only will be made on matters such as gardens, paving, timber sheds, greenhouses, workshops, etc. A more detailed inspection (subject to the foregoing limitations) will be made of permanent structures such as garages.
Specialist leisure facilities, including swimming pools, ponds, tennis courts and ancillary accommodation/equipment will not be inspected nor therefore reported upon.
Boundary structures (walls, fences, gates. etc) will be examined only to the extent necessary to establish their stability.
Where basic elements of the structure have proved impossible to inspect and thus report upon, such parts will be detailed within the report, together with a reason as to why no inspection was undertaken.
The surveyor will identify any areas which would normally be inspected but which he was unable to inspect through lack of suitable access or similar. He will indicate where he considers that access should be obtained or formed and will advise on possible or probable defects based on the evidence he has been able to see from elsewhere within the structure.
If the property is a flat, maisonette or similar unit, the surveyor will inspect only the subject flat and garage (if any), the related internal and external common parts and the structure of the building in which the subject flat is situated unless specifically agreed otherwise in advance. Other units will only be inspected for identifiable defects or risks such as damp or structural deficiencies relating to the subject flat and the structure of the building. No inspection will be made of the lease.
The client is reminded that, particularly in the case of large blocks, the object of the inspection is to give guidance on the general standard of construction and maintenance pointing out those items which will require attention within a reasonable time span. The report will not give guidance on those minor matters which would normally be taken care of in the course of routine maintenance. An inspection of the roof void will only be undertaken where access is available from within the subject flat or communal area. Entry will not be attempted to other unit(s) within the block from which access to the roof space may be obtained.
The surveyor will assume that the property is not subject to any unusual, onerous or restrictive covenants or similar likely to affect the value or reasonable enjoyment of the property.
The surveyor will assume that all Building Regulations, Town Planning and other similar approvals/consents have been obtained not only for the original structure but also for any extensions or alterations which have been undertaken.
Where alterations or extensions have been undertaken it will be the responsibility of the client’s legal advisers to ensure all necessary Consents are in existence.
Drawings and specifications will not be inspected by the surveyor.
In the case of new buildings it will be assumed that the builder is a registered member of the NHBC or equivalent and has registered the subject property in accordance with the scheme concerned.
No enquiries will be made of the Planning, Local or other Statutory Authorities, and thus investigation of title, tenure, covenants, rights of way, Planning or Building Regulation approvals, clearance or demolition orders, improvement lines, road widening schemes, NHBC or architects’ certificates normally involving the services of a solicitor, will not be carried out by the surveyor.
Unless otherwise informed or the contrary is readily available from documents provide or from the inspection, the surveyor will assume that no potentially deleterious material was used in the construction or has since been incorporated. However, the surveyor will advise in the report if in his view there is a likelihood that high aluminous cement (HAC) has been used in the construction and that in such cases specific enquiries should be made or tests carried out by a specialist.
Matters such as lead water supply pipes and asbestos will be noted and advice given if these materials can be readily seen. It must be appreciated, however, that such materials are often only visible after opening up which cannot be carried out at the risk of causing damage.
Where the surveyor believes the property is in an area which makes it subject to the risk of radon, then he will advise that tests should be carried out to establish the radon level.
The surveyor will advise if there are transformer stations or overhead power lines either over the subject property or visible immediately adjacent to the property which might give rise to an electromagnetic field. The surveyor cannot assess any possible effect on health.
The surveyor will not comment upon the existence of contamination as this can only be established by appropriate specialists. Where from his local knowledge or the inspection he considers that contamination might be a problem, he will advise as to the importance of obtaining a report from an appropriate specialist.
The surveyor will carry out a visual inspection of the service installations where accessible. Inspection chamber covers will be lifted where accessible and practicable.
No tests will be applied to the various services (gas, water, electricity, central hating, drainage, lifts, burglar alarms or security systems) although the surveyor will report if as a result of his inspection he considers that tests are advisable and necessary. In such circumstances he will advise that the client obtain a specialist report from a suitably qualified individual or firm.
The report provided will be confidential to the client(s) for the specific purpose to which it refers. It may be disclosed to other professional advisers. It shall not be disclosed to any other person, nor reproduced in full or in part, without the prior written consent of Dancy Surveyors.
The client will pay Dancy Surveyors in respect of the said professional advice the agreed fee. In addition, where appropriate, the client will reimburse Dancy Surveyors for the cost of all reasonable disbursements or out of pocket expenses which they may incur and which have been agreed with the client.
The client is advised that a copy of the report should be passed to their legal advisers in order that they may verify, as they deem necessary, the assumptions made in producing the report and undertake any necessary legal investigations as required or prompted by the contents of the report.
As a firm of chartered surveyors, we have a formal written ‘Complaints Handling Procedure’, a copy of which is available on request.