Survey Pricing

You get what you pay for...

We've been prompted to explain pricing of surveys after being told by some potential clients we were too expensive, and they had 'cheaper' quotes. The sad thing is that these same folk then make contact again a few weeks later to say they've spent their money on that cheap quote, and the RICS survey was awful and told them nothing. 

We are NOT the cheapest.  We frequently encounter folk telling us they have a 'quote' for a RICS Level 3 survey of an old building and its £900.  A full survey takes a day - the surveyor has to drive there, record the building and its defects, and drive home. Writing the report and analysing anything up to 200 photographs will take anything from a day to 3 days. Then there's the legal research we do on a Listed building - looking at previous planning applications, the actual Listing, and any other relevant data. That can take another day. 

We carry around £10,000 worth of equipment. Thermal imaging cameras, thermo hygrometers for measuring moisture levels, carbide kit for measuring moisture in walls, pole cams, drones and more.  Most RICS surveyors will, if you are lucky, have a 'damp meter' in their pocket you can buy from B&Q for about £20.

We take responsibility for what is probably the largest investment you will ever make - your own home. We ensure your money is well spent, and there are no hidden costs lurking beneath the surface. We take and record a lot of scientific data relating to moisture levels. You can't do this for £900 - no highly qualified and experienced surveyor will work for effectively £100 a day.

Our costs include all of the above, and frequently reports run to 50 or 60 pages. There is no 'cut and paste' - they are a detailed breakdown of the building. Although we can't provide formal costings with the survey, we CAN give an indication of what repairs will cost - based on extensive practical experience.

A lot of our work involves legal situations where a client has paid for a cheap RICS Level 3 survey, which inevitably misses serious problems with the building and results in a client having to sue the surveyor for negligence. It is a horrible situation which unfortunately is happening more and more. Very few RICS surveyors have the experience of old buildings that our team have. If you cannot take a building apart and rebuild it, you cannot survey it. A recent horror story involves a million pound timber framed manor house, surveyed by a Conservation Accredited RICS surveyor who claimed to be FRICS. He totally missed structural issues with the frame, and is being sued for nearly £400,000 by the owner. The issues were so easy to see - they were visible from the road!

Most RICS surveyors do not understand damp. They still carry a 'damp' meter and use it. This indicates their lack of any knowledge about moisture - the single biggest cause of deterioration to an old building. Almost every RICS survey we see is full of 'get out' clauses - 'We couldn't lift this, we couldn't reach that'. Many RICS Level 3 surveys we are seeing at the moment  have a clause that says 'Get a PCA survey of the timber and damp' - which is actually in contravention of the RICS professional standards - but they don't care.

It is this lack of knowledge and understanding of buildings that is allowing surveyors to charge very minimal fees - £900 simply does not even begin to cover the cost of a proper survey of an old building. The survey and report are often completed the same day. If someone quotes you £900 - ask them how they intend to measure and report moisture levels in the building. Ask them what experience they have of re-building an old house from the ground up. Have they ever restored an old building? Do they understand timber framing, lime mortar, breathability? The answers will be interesting to hear.  We've been told of RICS Level 3 surveys being done in the North East that cost £200.  It just doesn't make sense. 

To use the old adage - 'You get what you pay for'...


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