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Differences Between Structural Surveys and Full Building Surveys

Full building surveys Ipswich – From Anderson Associates

Many people confuse a structural survey with a full building survey, but there are important differences between the two and it’s important you know what to ask for – and what you are paying for – when you buy a property. Anderson Associates can offer structural surveys and full building surveys from our base on the outskirts of Ipswich. Here, we explain the key differences between the two types of survey.


Full Building Surveys

This is one of the types of survey which all would-be homebuyers should get before purchasing a property. In fact, our Level 3 (full building) survey is the type that we would recommend, over any of the other options.

It will produce a comprehensive report on the current condition of all elements of the property, identifying any structural problems or other major issues. In addition, it includes a cost summary, which will advise you on what repairs and maintenance the home requires, but also how much it is likely to cost to put it right.

All surveys should be carried out by members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS); they have a high level of knowledge and technical expertise when it comes to assessing potential problems in a property. We are a member, so you can have peace of mind about any surveys we might carry out for you.


Structural Surveys

However, not all surveyors are not qualified to provide full structural surveys; these are usually carried out by structural engineers, or RICS surveyors with particular expertise in the field. (For more differences on the differences between structural engineers and quantity surveyors, follow this link).  This is because this type of survey focusses on the main structural elements of the property – namely the walls, roof and floors of the building.

Structural surveys are usually only necessary or advisable if a previous survey has identified a potential issue with one of the areas mentioned above, but it doesn’t go into full details about the nature or extent of the problem. In cases like this, it is unlikely that you will be able to get a mortgage on the property – lenders would see it as too big a potential risk.


What Should You Do if You Get a Bad Survey Report?

If your survey identifies issues with the property, then you have a number of options. If it’s a full building survey, then you should have the option to commission a further report (not necessarily just for structural issues). Other steps you can take include:

  • Asking the seller to fix the problem before you go ahead with the purchase; you could make it a condition of the sale
  • Negotiating the asking price down to accommodate the cost of paying for the repairs yourself
  • Pulling out of the purchase altogether.

It is also possible to commission a specific defect survey, which could provide further details on any of the following areas:

  • Structural movement
  • Timber decay and rot
  • Damp
  • Poor quality of construction

These specific reports will include more detail on the nature and extent of the problem, as well as how much it is likely to cost to put right.


Full Building Surveys and Structural Surveys from Ipswich-based Anderson Associates

At Anderson Associates we are able to offer full building and structural surveys for properties in Kent, Essex, Suffolk and many parts of London. So if an initial report identifies a structural issue, we will be able to produce a further report – saving you the effort of contacting someone else.

If you would like to know more about either type of report, you can contact us on either 0800 652 8285 or 01473 623656. Alternatively,  you can click here and fill in the online form and we will get back to you.


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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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