What are Structural Surveys and are they really worth it?
Our Structural Engineers explain what a Structural Survey is, what it includes and whether they are necessary when buying a new home?
If you are looking to get your foot on the property ladder it can be a very overwhelming time with mortgage advisors, mortgage costs, solicitor fees, deposits etc. Therefore, when being faced with yet another expense in the form of a structural survey a lot of people opt out as they don’t really know what is a Structural Survey and if it is really necessary?
However, Structural Surveys can be vital in pinpointing building faults and differentiating hairline cracks in walls to something more detrimental to the stability of your future home – especially if it is an older property you are looking at putting an offer on.
Here we’ve highlighted some of the most common questions when it comes to structural surveys to give you a better understanding of what they are and whether this is something you need or not.
WHAT ARE STRUCTURAL SURVEYS?
A structural survey is an in-depth inspection of a property to make sure it is structurally sound for potential buyers looking to purchase a property… not to be confused with a home buyers survey, which is a more general look at the property.
If you are buying a new home, you may be advised to arrange a survey prior to signing for a property. However, you are not obliged to go through with this, it is more of an option available during the home buying process to give you that extra peace of mind.
The survey could identify structural issues and recommend that a structural survey be carried out to pinpoint potential structural problems – this is where we would come in.
WHAT IS COVERED IN A STRUCTURAL SURVEY?
Structural surveys include a thorough inspection of a building, inspecting all accessible areas of a property, inside and out. When conducting a Structural Survey (where possible) we’d check:
- External & Internal Walls
In particular, we’d look at the structural integrity of a property, by looking at specific defects which may have been highlighted on a previous home buyers reports, e.g. cracks.
When looking at defects, we would try and identify the cause of the defect. These can usually be attributed to one or more of the following:
- Wet & Dry Rot
- Nearby Trees
- Drainage Issues
- Mine Workings
Once completed the engineer will produce a comprehensive report with all the data collected to send back to the client. This will highlight all necessary repairs required to the building, also recommendations towards a course of action to eliminate the cause of any defects to prevent them getting worse or reappearing.
Please note that the cause of some defects cannot be identified straight away and further investigation may be required.
ARE STRUCTURAL SURVEYS WORTH IT?
Some buyers choose not to opt for a structural survey when buying a property as it is an extra expense to add onto an already expensive process.
However, a structural survey is an extensive in-detail document on a property which can be very useful, especially if you are looking to purchase an older building which may require a number of repairs. All necessary repairs are outlined in reports, which prevents any unwelcome structural surprises later down the line once you’ve purchased the property.
HOW MUCH DO STRUCTURAL SURVEYS COST?
The cost of a structural survey is determined on mainly on the size of the property itself as this will determine the time it will take to conduct the full survey.
For a typical domestic property the fees can be around £450 – £600.
If you are a landlord wanting to get a number of properties surveyed a discount may be given for signing up for multiple surveys.
HOW LONG DO STRUCTURAL SURVEYS TAKE?
Every property is different. Therefore, a number of factors can determine the time a survey will take – property size, number of rooms, age of the property or if a lot of problems are discovered during the inspection.
We usually allocate between 2 to 4 hours for a typical structural survey in our planner, followed by 2 – 3 days to complete the detailed report, to ensure we have allocated enough time.
WHO DOES A STRUCTURAL SURVEY?
We do! Well, more specially our Civil and Structural Engineering department.
A Chartered Civil or Structural Engineer would carry out our structural surveys, to ensure you are getting the best opinion when inspecting a potential property, you are going to invest in.
WHO PAYS FOR A STRUCTURAL SURVEY?
It is down to the home buyer to find a structural surveyor and purchase a survey.
Although, your mortgage provider will send out their own representative to the property – please do not mistake this as a structural survey, as it is not. They are simply looking at the size, rooms, and features of the property to provide a valuation, they are not looking at the issues a property may have.
A structural survey is to give you peace of mind that the property you are looking to buy is structurally sound and if it does need repairs, outline them.
If after reading this, you would like to get a price on a Structural Survey for your property please contact us on 0191 478 3330 or email Graham in our Structural department for a quote on firstname.lastname@example.org.