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Building Survey – FAQ

What type of survey should I choose?

Some buyers seeking a building survey might be tempted just to go with a mortgage valuation carried out by a bank or building society, on the grounds that it will save money – but at Anderson Associates we believe this is a false economy. The problem is that this type of valuation is carried out for the lender rather than for the buyer, and doesn’t look at the property in enough detail. If the property turns out to have expensive faults which were not spotted before the sale, it could lose you a lot of money in future for the sake of a small saving now.

A home buyer survey and valuation is a better option, since the surveyor is working for you, but it will still only pinpoint major defects. We think this type of survey doesn’t give enough information, so we would always recommend a full building survey, regardless of the properties age or perceived condition.

This gives you a comprehensive report on the property you want to buy, including a list of defect and details how much the repairs will cost, plus a timescale for the works to be carried out.

We charge the same fee for the full survey as for the home buyer survey, so it makes sense to have the full report.

A structural survey is another option if you are only concerned about the basic structure of the home, as it will focus on this specific area. However this is rarely advised as it is normally for properties that have known issues and are generally in a dilapidated condition and un-mortgageable.

The survey has shown some repairs that are needed – should I get the vendor to do these repairs as a condition of the sale?

You can, but this is not always good idea, for various reasons. First of all, it would cause a delay to the whole house-buying process, as you could have to wait for the vendor to arrange for the repairs to be done. Also, it would be up to the vendor to decide who carries out the work and how it is done, even though you will be the one living with the results.

There is also the further point that it is in the vendor’s interest to keep down costs at this point, so they could be likely to go for the cheapest solution, even where a more expensive repair would be better. If you are not satisfied with the work, there could then be a dispute over this, leading to further delays or even to the sale falling through.

A better solution is to try to renegotiate the price to allow for the cost of the repairs. Then you can have them carried out yourself after you complete the sale.

We are buying a new build property with an NHBC certificate – do we still need a survey?

It is not possible to undertake a building survey on a new build as by its name everything is in an ‘as new’ condition. It is however, advisable to have an independent ‘Snagging Survey’ done even if the house has an NHBC certificate.

This generally concentrates on the overall standard of workmanship and finish and is significantly more comprehensive than the builders or developers snagging inspection.

Many people believe that, if a house was built in the last 10 years, there is no need to carry out a survey because it is “guaranteed”, but the real situation is more complicated.

There is a warranty for the first two years after a property is built, but even then the main responsibility lies with the builder rather than with the NHBC, which just provides a mediation service. From the third to tenth year, the NHBC warranty only applies to structural or drainage defects, and not to other possible faults. It could also prove complicated to make a claim, so getting a survey before you buy is a good way to protect yourself against future problems.

Even with a relatively ‘recent’ property we always advise on a full building survey as the present condition of any property is based on the quality of materials used and standard of workmanship during its construction, in addition to how well it has been maintained in the intervening period.

I spotted some worrying issues when I viewed the house – can I ensure that these are specifically looked at during the building survey?

Yes. If you are considering buying a house and you are concerned about any specific issues that you spotted during viewing, providing us with a list of these issues will allow us to make specific reference to them in the report it they have not already been included as a matter of course.

The survey has thrown up a major issue we weren’t expecting – can you advise us whether to buy the house?

We can give you our professional opinion about whether to buy or not buy a particular property based on the survey results, and are happy to talk you through whether a major problem is rectifiable and the likely cost of having it put right – which can then help you come to your own decision.

I am selling my home – should I have a survey done?

We would advise against having a building survey done if you are the vendor. This is because it is not the owner’s responsibility to tell the prospective purchaser what is wrong with the property. It is up to the buyer. The Latin phrase Caveat Emptor – “let the buyer beware” – applies here.

If a vendor has a survey done and issues arise as a result of this, the vendor would be legally obliged to inform any perspective purchaser of anything likely to have ‘a detrimental effect on the use or enjoyment of the property’

Building Survey – Click here to find out more about our services, or call us on 01473 623 656 or freephone 0800 652 8285.


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Whether you need a simple valuation or a full structural survey as well as being expert building surveyors we’re happy to give you free, impartial advice on anything to do with buildings and property.
Anderson Associates
(Head Office & Correspondence Address)
Warneford House, Portal Avenue
Martlesham Heath, Ipswich
Suffolk IP5 3QY
T. 01473 623 656
T. 0800 652 8285
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Registered Office: Anderson Associates (Surveying) Ltd. | Warneford House, Portal Avenue, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk IP5 3QY
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