A Guide on Building Surveys

A building survey is a detailed examination of the current structural condition of a house, the need for repairs, the presence of dangerous materials and environmental factors such as the state of the drainage system and any existing ecosystems on the property. Read the extract below to learn more about building surveying and why you should request a survey. 

The Benefits of a Building Survey

Building surveys are conducted when you need to renovate a building or as part of the property buying process. As a buyer, the survey will give you a clear picture of the current condition of the building. For instance, the surveyor can detect a leaking roof, a faulty sewer system, or a problem with the air conditioning system. You could either ask the owner to conduct repairs or reduce the purchase price. If you own the property, the survey will help you budget for repairs and identify any problems you should expect in the future.

The Components of a Building Survey

The building survey will examine the following aspects.

The Structural Condition of the House

The surveyor will check the building for cracks along its foundation, wrapped pillars and leaking slabs. He or she will also check the presence of structural movement and subsidence caused by material decay, tree roots, dimensional instability, excavation work or leaking drains. 

Alterations and Improvements

The surveyor will examine the legality of repair and renovation works. For instance, if the house has an extension, he or she will ask for building permits and a certifier's certificate. Further, he or she will check if the renovation work compromises the structural integrity of the house. 

Energy Efficiency

Excellent insulation will reduce the need for air conditioning. As such, the surveyor will examine the condition of the insulation and whether it is ideal for the area's climate. He or she may also recommend the need for skylights, double glazed windows and solar water heaters to help cut on electricity bills.

Ecological Survey 

This mainly consists of a habitat survey to identify any animal species that live on the property. For instance, if the trees are habitat to rare birds such as parrots or Gouldian Finches, the surveyor will give some tips on how you can protect the bird's habitat. He or she will also check for the presence of bats and invasive species such as the red fox or feral cats.

As a rule, building surveys should be conducted by licenced and experienced building surveyors. The survey takes a maximum of one day. The surveyor will present a detailed report that you can use as a guideline to renovate the building.