Your queries answered
A Congratulations on finding your new home. You have received good advice about getting a survey done. A UK consumer magazine which recently questioned homeowners who bought a property without having had a survey found 75 per cent of respondents regretted the decision.
In relation to the terminology of “structural survey” or “pre-purchase survey”, these are essentially the same thing and represent a report on the condition of the property.
Another survey is a valuation survey as required by lending institutions, but this is primarily a check on the value of the home. There is also a ‘snag list’, which is basically a list of minor finishing items.
Building surveys are essentially a comprehensive health check on the state of the property. They comprise of a visual survey covering the structural fabric, including: roof structure, finishes, grounds and services. The services would not normally be tested but where there is suspicion, testing is advised.
Further investigation may also be recommended if the cause of a defect is not visually obvious. The inspection will also comment on compliance with building regulations. A building survey may essentially save you money in the long run.
The property in question is about 60 years old, built before the requirement for planning permission and introduction of building regulations. Any changes that affect the external appearance will probably require planning permission, and for such alterations, even where permission is not necessary, building regulations still apply.
With regard to the cost of having a survey done, somewhere in the order of €400 to €600 is a good guide – but this can vary depending on the size, location and age of the property. The actual fee will be determined by any specific terms and conditions agreed beforehand.
Ask for a sample copy report from your building surveyor to give you an understanding of the scope of the services covered in the survey.
James Drew is a chartered building surveyor and vice-chair of the Western Region Committee of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland; scsi.ie
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