RICS Level 3 Survey

Our pre-purchase building surveys are broadly equivalent in starting point to a RICS Level 3 survey.

Our Building Surveys are a great deal more detailed than most RICS surveys.  To report fully on a building we often need more than 60 pages of unique text, and hundreds of photos. Our understanding of the causes of moisture related problems vastly exceeeds that of most RICS surveyors. The survey itself will take at least a day. Writing the report and conclusions can take another two, or sometimes three days. Cost of surveys is dependent on the size and complexity of the building, location and access. We don't use damp meters - we carry thermo hygrometers, thermal imaging cameras, and assess the likelihood of condensation problems from measurement of both internal and external ambient conditions. 

Our surveys are bespoke. They are written by historic building experts who understand the building, and the materials it is constructed with. They understand its history. Very importantly, they understand water - and the effrects it has in its many forms, on the building fabric. Where it comes from, where it goes, and what issues, if any, have been created. We also understand the cost implications of any issues found, and can advise in broad terms what these may be - it is no use buying a house at the maximum end of your budget, only to find you need to spend another 25% or more on repairs that were not anticipated.

We also investigate planning history if there are obvious signs that the current building may not actually be legal. This is very important in the case of Listed Buildings. Most RICS Level 3 surveys that we see (usually given to us by clients who are unhappy with the level of service provided by RICS) suggest that your solicitor should investigate the legality of the house. He or she cannot. They are not on the spot - they don't know whether there are plastic windows, whether a bathroom has been created in the middle of an open medieval hall structure, or whether a chimney has been taken down to the roof level. These things all need to be looked at by the surveyor on the ground, and compared with the Listing.

If you are spending half a million pounds, or more - on a home, the biggest single investment you may ever make - it makes sense to spend a little more than the average RICS survey will cost, to ensure your investment is sound.

The RICS Level 3 survey is trumpeted as being the best quality there is. It is not. It is a basic starting point and cannot guarantee that the client will receive anything other than a bog standard report full of off shelf text. We have been told on occasion of clients being quoted as little as £900 or £1000 for a Level 3 survey. The results are far from impressive - a few pages of generic observations, with the usual recommendation for a PCA damp and timber survey as the surveyor does not understand the basis of why deterioration of building fabric takes place (water, in its many forms).  Usually the RICS surveyor uses a 'damp meter' that doesn't measure moisture to wrongly 'diagnose' issues. Often much of the report is cut and paste text, with the ubiquitous RICS 'traffic light' indicators of the importance of issues seen. Most of these reports are simply not fit for purpose. 

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