Costs for a Structural Survey in London

A Female Surveyor With a Laser Measure
February 7, 2024

There are a lot of properties out there and choosing the right one for you can be tough.

You need to balance buying a house that ticks every box in terms of lifestyle – for example, ensuring that it has enough bedrooms and a garden if you need one – and making sure that it’s a good investment. After all, you don’t want to buy a property and immediately run into problems, repair work and unexpected costs.

This is why it’s important to have a survey report carried out before you sign on the dotted line.

Average Costs for a Full Structural Survey

Determining the exact cost for a full structural survey can be difficult, as there are a range of factors to take into consideration. This is why it’s best to focus on the average cost, which will give you a good idea of how much you can expect to spend and how much of your budget will be used to ensure the structural integrity of the house.

Full Cost

The cost of a full structural survey varies hugely, with things such as property value and location taken into account. In London, a Level 3 RICS survey can cost from £599 on a £50,000 property up to £5,000 for a £3 million property. The average cost of a structural survey for an average UK home is £1,000.

Hourly Rates

You should expect to pay an hourly rate of £100 for a structural surveyor in the UK, and this price is likely to be slightly higher in London and for more experienced professionals. However, it’s important to remember that you are most likely to be quoted for the survey as a whole. This will include the inspection and writing up the report.

New Roof on a House in Stratford

Types of Survey and Costs

Here’s what you need to know about the structural survey cost in London.

RICS Survey

A RICS survey – which stands for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Survey – is a comprehensive inspection conducted by a chartered surveyor.

The aim of a RICS survey is to provide a detailed overview of a property’s condition, and to highlight any potential issues that could affect its value. A lot of different things are looked at as part of a RICS survey including structural elements, potential defects and necessary repairs.

There are three types of RICS surveys; Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The right survey for a property will depend on the property type and age, with Level 3 being the most comprehensive of the three.

The cost of a RICS survey can vary based on a lot of factors, which is why it’s important to look at averages. In London, you should expect to pay between £630 and £1,300 for a RICS survey, depending on the value of the property.

Structural Engineer Survey

A structural engineer survey is slightly different to a standard survey, as it focuses specifically on assessing the structural integrity and health of a property.

It aims to identify any issues related to load bearing elements, foundations and structural components. As a structural engineer survey is solely for examining the structural aspects of a building, it doesn’t always cover other non-structural issues in detail.

However, it’s worth considering if you are buying an older property. It’s unlikely that a new build will have any structural problems, but this isn’t the case for older properties or properties that have had major renovations over the years.

The cost of a full structural engineer survey will depend on a number of factors including the size, type and location of the property. You should usually expect to pay between £500 and £1,500 for a professional to conduct the survey.

Homebuyers Report

Another popular option is a Homebuyers Report, which is a survey designed to provide a concise overview of a property’s condition.

It aims to identify major issues that may affect its value, which is important to know before going ahead and finalising a sale. A Homebuyers Report covers essential elements such as the condition of the property, potential risks and any urgent repairs.

This type of structural survey is less detailed than a RICS survey, but more comprehensive than a basic valuation.

For a Homebuyers Report, you should expect to pay between £500 and £1,500 for the survey to be carried out. This price will vary depending on location and the value of the property.

What is Included in a Structural Survey

As a structural survey is a comprehensive examination of a property’s structural condition, there are a lot of areas that are included. A survey typically includes a thorough inspection of various components and aspects of the building, ranging from structural integrity to drainage and boundaries.

Structural Integrity

The surveyor will assess the foundation, walls, roof, floors and other structural elements. This is done to identify any signs of movement, subsidence or structural issues.

Roof Condition

The condition of the roof covering, roof structure and any potential issues are looked at. This includes evaluating leaks, missing tiles or deterioration.

Chimney

The chimney is also looked at as part of a structural survey. This is done to assess its condition and structural integrity within the overall framework of the property.

Damp and Moisture

The surveyor will check for signs of damp, moisture or leaks within the property, which can lead to structural damage and affect the living environment.

Windows and Doors

The condition of windows and doors is examined. This includes frames, seals and overall functionality.

Internal and External Walls

The walls are inspected for cracks, damp and structural stability, both internally and externally.

Woodworm and Rot

Woodworm can tunnel through wood, potentially causing structural damage, and rot can lead to the decay of wood. This is usually caused by certain fungi, compromising the integrity of the timber. A surveyor will check for both during a survey.

Floors and Ceilings

The surveyor will assess the condition of floors and ceilings, looking for signs of sagging, unevenness or any other structural issues.

Guttering

Guttering plays a crucial role in directing rainwater away from the property, and so a surveyor will include this in a structural survey. This prevents water damage, damp and potential structural issues that may arise from improper drainage.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed is part of a structural survey due to its invasive nature and ability to cause damage to building foundations and structures. Identifying and addressing the presence of Japanese knotweed can mitigate any structural risks it may pose.

Factors That Affect Costs

There are a range of things that impact the cost of a structural survey, which is why it’s important to shop around and ask a professional surveyor for a quote.

Property Size and Type

It usually takes longer to inspect a larger property thoroughly, which means that a structural survey will take longer, contributing to higher costs. The type of property also has an impact, as different types of properties may involve specific challenges, influencing the complexity of the survey and, therefore, the cost.

Experience and Qualifications

Highly experienced and qualified surveyors often have higher fees due to their expertise, qualifications and track record. Some homeowners are willing to pay more for the assurance that comes with a seasoned professional overseeing everything.

Property Complexity

Complex structures, such as those with intricate designs or unique architectural features, may necessitate more in depth analysis. This increases the overall cost of the structural survey.

Extent of the Inspection

The depth and thoroughness of the inspection can also influence the cost. A comprehensive survey covering all aspects of the property, including hidden structural elements, will likely incur higher charges. Basic surveys, focusing on visible issues, tend to be more cost effective. But, they might not provide a complete picture of the property’s structural health.

Urgency and Deadlines

Structural surveys that are urgent, or those with tight deadlines, usually require the surveyor to speed up their services, which could result in higher fees. Homeowners looking for a quick turnaround should expect to pay more for a structural survey.

Property Location

The property’s location plays a crucial role in the cost. Surveyors may charge more for properties in remote areas or those with challenging accessibility. Local regulations and environmental factors, such as flood risk assessments, can also affect the scope and cost of the survey.

When You Need a Survey

You can have a structural survey carried out on any home that you want to purchase. They are most commonly done on houses, rather than flats or apartments, and are especially important for older properties.

If you are planning to buy an older property, a property with a unique layout or a property that has signs of issues, a structural survey is recommended.

It’s also a good idea to have a structural survey done if you are planning major renovations and building work, or if it’s been constructed in a unique way.

It’s there to provide peace of mind about the structural health of the building, as well as highlighting any potential problems. Structural surveys can be done on any home, but they are usually reserved for properties over 50 years of age, as well as those with obvious defects.

When a structural survey has been done, you can decide to go ahead with the purchase, knowing exactly what you are getting.

Finding Someone to Do a Structural Survey

A structural survey isn’t something that you can do yourself, and it’s important to engage the services of a professional. Finding a qualified and experienced surveyor ensures that potential issues – whether they are visible or hidden, small or large – are thoroughly assessed.

A professional surveyor’s expertise allows for the identification of structural defects, potential safety hazards and signs of deterioration, and these aren’t always obvious to an untrained eye. Plus, a skilled surveyor can provide valuable insights into the overall condition of the property, which you might not be aware of yourself.

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