For most of us, the world of surveyors is a murky and mysterious one. We’re not really sure what they do and why they do it. ‘Of course we do,’ I hear you grumble. ‘A surveyor inspects a property for sale,’ mutter, mutter, ‘then goes away and prepares a report on its condition. What could be simpler than that? Hmm?’
Ah, but it’s not that simple, not by a long chalk. The work of surveyors is rather more complicated and all-encompassing. So why don’t you sit down, read this article and learn about the real inner workings of surveyors. By the end of it, you’ll be a more informed person … which can only be a good thing. Right?
Apart from providing surveys and valuations for homes and business premises, which this article covers in more detail later, many surveyors also provide services such as quantity and land surveying, auctioneering, mortgage valuations and estate management. Some surveyors have expertise in other areas like architecture and hence partnerships may be established that offer a wider choice of surveying services.
Let’s briefly run through some of the services surveyors offer and what those services entail.
Project management involves the administration of all financial aspects of a building project through to the full management of the construction or renovation. It also includes liaison with relevant local authorities and compliance with various building regulations and often involves a number of different professionals such as builders, architects and building control departments.
Home Buyer Reports
A home buyer report carried out by a surveyor evaluates the overall condition of a property and pinpoints any defects that may affect the property’s value. The report also includes a valuation of the property as well as the rebuild costs for insurance purposes. After examining the report, buyers are then able to make an informed decision and may be able to renegotiate the purchase price.
Many surveyors have an architectural background and can help design the plans for a customer’s building project. This will also include the planning processes, the coordination of consultants, building contractors and building inspectors.
Surveys and Valuations
A building survey provides an in-depth and detailed assessment of a property. Surveys are particularly advantageous in the case of larger, older properties where a property has been altered, had extensive renovations, or is suffering from dilapidation. A market valuation of the property can be included if requested, as well as the rebuild costs for insurance purposes.
Party Walls Service
If a construction or refurbishment project involves work to a party wall (a wall that divides your property and a neighbour’s), then the Party Wall Act of 1996 is applicable. In order to avoid disputes some surveyors offer a Party Wall service, where they liaise with neighbours and their surveyors to ensure everyone meets their obligations.
Building Surveying Services
Surveyors can provide the client with a detailed summary of the anticipated timescales for completion of a building project. If requested, the surveyor can also include a detailed costing schedule as well as obtain tenders, appoint contractors and oversee the project to completion.
Commercial Property Services
Surveyors’ services are not just limited to residential property. They can also help their clients with new leases and the purchase of commercial properties. They are also able to protect their clients’ business interests by providing a Building Survey or Schedule of Condition and/or a Schedule of Dilapidations.
Schedules of Condition and Dilapidation
Prepared towards the end of a property lease, a Schedule of Condition protects a tenant from being responsible for any repairs that were already in a poor state at the beginning of a lease, whereas a Schedule of Dilapidations list those defects that have occurred during the lease term and which requires the tenants to make good.
Expert Witness Services
If there’s a property case before the courts, surveyors are also able to provide independent and unbiased specialist reports. In some cases, they may even be called as expert witnesses to testify in court.
Snagging Lists for New Builds
Here a surveyor prepares a detailed report listing all the work that still needs to be completed or work that’s shoddy and not up to standard.
So you see, there’s far more to the world of surveyors than just property surveys. As highly-qualified professionals, they perform numerous and vital services, many of which safeguard the interests of their clients and save them money.
Article provided by Sara Bryant, an independent content writer working alongside a selection of companies including Southdown Surveyors, who were consulted over this post.