Professional expertise in property, construction, and architectural services in London and the South-East

Residential Surveys
Acorn Technical Associates are experts in providing residential surveys for a variety of purposes including building or adjustment work, or for house purchases.

However whilst we’re all broadly familiar with the concept of a house survey it can be a little daunting at first to understand what different types there are, what the process is, and what you might need. Below we have outlined as much information as we can about the different sorts of surveys available. Due to their comprehensive and legal nature, they can be a bit daunting at first. However, remember we're here to make it easy for you.

Residential surveys, provided under RICS standards provide a health check for a property – either your current home or a home you’re considering buying. They’re detailed inspections that look at and assess a property’s condition and structure. If you are buying a home, there are three different surveys that could can consider, and these are listed below:
  • Full Building Survey (which is also referred to as Level 3 or Full Structural Survey)
  • A HomeBuyer Survey (Level 2)
  • A Condition Survey (Level 1)
Surveys are a vital part of house selling and purchase. A survey can be used to negotiate the price of a property that you’re buying and is hugley important in getting a full understanding of the decision in purchase. And in many cases, a survey of the house you’re selling is also helpful so that you are aware of any issues. This could help prevent difficult negotiations or a sale falling through whilst you are trying to sell.

However, surveys can also have huge value even if you are not selling a property. It might be that you have concerns about a particular aspect of your home, in term of structure or condition. In this case, a Specific Defect Survey can also be conducted, which will identify and provide insights around any concerns that you might have. These surveys are hugely valuable in outlining remedial measures and associated costs.
A Full Building Survey
Also known as a Full Structural Survey or Level 3 Survey - provides a comprehensive assessment of the condition and structure of a property. The report will also give estimated costs of any repairs or remedial work that could be required, and this can be vital when considering any financial implications if issues are found. The report provides a level of detail giving a deep understanding of the condition of the property you may be purchasing. It is best practice - and consistent with industry guidelines – to conduct a Full Building Survey if the property is old or run-down, larger than average, or has unusual features. It is also highly recommended if there is an intention to conduct significant work to the property, after purchase.

A HomeBuyers Survey
This sort of survey - which is also known as a Level 2 Survey –provides a visual inspection of areas that are reasonably accessible. Whilst the report doesn’t go into a full level of detail around the structural integrity of the property, it looks for serious problems that are readily evident. In many cases - such as if a property is fairly new, conventionally built and appears to be in good condition - then guidelines recommend a HomeBuyer survey. As always however, please contact us if you’d like to discuss what we feel might be most appropriate.

Level One Condition Report
Level One Condition Reports simply provide a very brief assessment of the property’s overall condition to give you an overview of its current state. These are generally not appropriate for house purchase or sale, due to how concise they are. Whilst we are able to conduct these, they are really only suited to modern properties that appear to be in good condition.

A Full Building Survey (Level 3)

This RICS Full Building Survey is the most detailed type of survey. It is, ultimately, the gold standard of assessment and inspection.

Industry guidelines recommend this type of survey if your property is large, old, has some disrepair or has unusual features. It is also recommended that a Full Building Survey is undertaken if it’s your intention to build an extension, or conduct any other significant renovations. At Acorn Technical Associates, we believe that a Full Building Survey is the best option for optaining a complete understanding of what you are buying, whatever the property age or type.

You’ll be provided with thorough, bespoke guidance on the build type and condition of the property, along with information about its structural integrity and any maintenance issues. Our building surveyor will look over the entire property from top to bottom, including the loft or attic, cellar, under any loose carpets and check walls behind furniture. Our RICS certified building surveyors will provide a thorough and comprehensive inspection of the property. In short, everything that can be inspected will be inspected!

The report that you’ll receive will go into a large amount of detail advising on visible faults, along with any potential hidden defects that our surveyors find. It will also outline the type and costs of repairs if needed, and what property maintenance measures might be required. The report also provides guidance around any environmental hazards, and outines any issues that your legal advisor should explore further. The report is entirely bespoke, and is tailored to the property type and your needs.

Inspection Testing Advice

A Homebuyers Survey (Level 2 Survey)

Homebuyers surveys provide an inspection of all the areas of a property that are easily accessible to our surveyor. They’ll look for visible problems that are dangerous, serious, or that could negatively affect the property value.

Please note however that the full structural integrity of the property is not examined in detail, and neither are defects that could be put down to standard wear and tear.

The report will provide an overview of any required property maintenance, along with giving you an idea of whether repairs are needed, however it will note explore repair options and costs which could be associated with these. A Homebuyers Survey will provide some level of guidance on environmental hazards and outline any issues that your legal advisor should look into.

Acorn Techical Associates will also provide you with a market valuation, along with a rebuild cost for insurance purposes in a HomeBuyers Survey.

Unlike the full Building Survey report, the Homebuyer survey report is not bespoke and is provided in a set format. Whilst this is straightforward and easy to understand, it isn’t tailored to individual cases. Industry guidelines recommend a Homebuyer Survey if your property is fairly new, conventionally built and appears to be in good condition. However, if something more in-depth is required, we advise that you consider a full Building Survey. But don't worry, we can advise on what would be best for you.

Inspection Testing

RICS Condition Report (Level 1 Survey)

A Level 1 survey is something that provides a simple overview of the condition of a property, if it built from standard building materials and is in reasonable to good condition. Whils it is unsuitable for purchase/selling of property, it can provide an overview of the general condition by showing the following: Please note that it doesn’t include a valuation (either market value or replacement)