Difference between homebuyers report/ survey and a structural survey

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If you are considering buying a property, you are likely to have had a homebuyers report or survey carried out on the property. 

This report will assess a property’s value and report on the condition of all elements of the property.  They will give you guidance on the condition and quality of the main elements of the property but also on the fixtures and fittings.  Examples of this might include comments on such items as whether the kitchen taps are working, if the flashings on the roof tiling are intact, ventilation problems or the window frames needing painting. They will also report on any cracking in walls or partitions.

A structural survey, though, inspects and reports only on structural matters, tailored only towards the structural elements such as load bearing walls, floors, roof, beams, lintels, chimney breasts etc.These structural matters might have been highlighted in the homebuyers report as needing more investigation. They might include cracking in walls, signs of movement or any risks of deterioration of the structure.  A structural survey would not comment on anything that is not structural.

A homebuyers report will not give great detail on any of the topics they mention, but more simply record if there is a problem.  A structural survey differs at it will look at the structural elements of the house in great detail, describing why any issues have arisen and how they might be corrected. A homebuyers report will tell you what faults appear to have occurred,whereas a structural report will tell give you why those faults have occurred. 

A homebuyers report will be carried out by a building surveyor or chartered surveyor, who have a familiarity with all elements of properties but no detailed specialised knowledge.  A structural survey is carried out by a structural engineer, who has detailed specialised knowledge and experience of building’s structure and foundations.  As structural engineers, we cannot give any informed comment on elements of the building that aren’t structural.

In essence, a homebuyers report / survey gives high level comment on the condition of all elements of the property whilst a structural survey give detailed explanation of only one – the structure and why it has occurred.

If you would like to discuss further please feel free to contact us using our email support@structures-made-easy.co.uk or call us on 0207 965 7376 

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