Is it Viable to Conduct a Building Survey on a Flat Property? | S Jones Surveying

Conducting a Building Survey on a Flat. 

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RICS Home Survey Level 2

with or without valuation

RICS Home Survey Level 2

with valuation and post work valuation

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Is it Viable to Conduct a Building Survey on a Flat Property?

 Posted 04th April 2024 / News.

Clients often ask if we can perform a building survey on a flat when reaching out to inquire about our services. Within the scope of this article, we investigate this question.

It is widely acknowledged among surveyors that conducting a building survey on a flat present’s notable hurdles. A key obstacle is the limited access typically available during such assessments. For instance, when examining a ground floor flat within a period conversion, essential areas such as the roof space are often inaccessible, significantly hampering the survey’s thoroughness.

When conducting a building survey on a first floor flat within a period conversion, accessibility issues arise due to the unavailability of spaces such as the ground floor and basement. Additionally, assessing a first-floor flat may pose challenges in accessing rear garden areas, rear elevations, and rear roof slopes, thereby impeding the comprehensive evaluation of the property.

Despite these limitations, it remains entirely feasible to conduct a building survey within these constraints. While challenges may exist, dismissing the possibility of a building survey on a flat would unfairly confine every flat owner to opting for a less comprehensive home Buyer’s report, which they view as significantly restrictive in comparison.

What justifies the exclusion of period flat buyers from the building survey option, particularly when the risks, defects, and repair obligations are equivalent to those of period houses? Denying access to comprehensive assessments based solely on property type seems unjustified, as all buyers face similar concerns regarding the condition and maintenance of their prospective homes.

The age and construction of the property should guide the choice of survey, irrespective of whether it is a house or a flat.

While it is true that access limitations, as mentioned previously, can present difficulties, it is essential to provide the option of a building survey to the client, ensuring that any limitations are clearly communicated.

Moreover, it is possible to employ best efforts to gain access to additional areas of the property that may not be included in the purchase agreement. Utilising tools like camera poles proves highly effective in reaching inaccessible areas, such as those visible from rear windows or ground level. Such methods are routinely used during our building surveys to ensure comprehensive assessments.

For instance, imagine you are conducting a building survey, but access to the loft is impeded by stored items or a sealed loft hatch. In such cases, simply abandoning the inspection and informing the client of the obstacle is not the solution. Instead, practical arrangements are made where feasible, or reasoned assumptions are used to ensure the survey is completed comprehensively.

Therefore, performing a building survey on a flat is entirely viable, and we are committed to conducting such surveys to their fullest extent. All flat owners deserve access to detailed building surveys, which are especially pertinent for properties like period conversion flats due to their unique characteristics.

Certainly, it is essential to inform the client about any constraints and allow them to make a well-informed decision. After considering all pertinent information, the client can determine whether to pursue a comprehensive building survey or opt for a less extensive report. The critical aspect is to present the building survey option to the client rather than automatically steering them away, even if it might be the most suitable report physically.

Feel free to reach out to us to discuss your building survey needs.

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Our Services

RICS Home Survey Level 2 (with or without valuation)

Our reports are easy to read with sub-sections included as well as bold text in the relevant places and photos of defects or advisory information. These will help you to understand exactly what we are talking about.

RICS Home Survey Level 2 (with valuation and post work valuation)

You will receive the same high-quality service as the survey with or without a valuation but you will also get a valuation of the property of what you should realistically expect to achieve once the remedial works have been carried out to a professional standard.

RICS Standalone Private Valuations

We offer a few of the most common types of standalone private RICS valuations, such as, those that can be used in investment purchases or the purchase of the remainder of a Help to Buy loan.

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