Serving Bristol, South Wales and the M4/M5 Corridor

Building Surveyor Bristol

The purpose of a Building Survey is to provide detailed advice upon the condition of a property, having due regard to its age, character and location. Once referred to as a ‘structural survey’, a building survey is a more in depth property appraisal. It is one of the most thorough surveys that can be chosen to be carried out on residential properties, analysing a property’s condition to a high standard. This will be carried out by an experienced chartered surveyor. If you would like to find out more, get in contact with one of our professionals and we will be able to advise you.

The survey will be undertaken and the report prepared generally in accordance with the RICS recommendations for Building Surveys, the salient points of which are outlined below.

The report will be based on our inspection of the property and any information made available to us, which Southwest Housesurveys shall assume to be correct. Parts of the property that are covered, unexposed or inaccessible cannot be inspected and House Surveys shall not therefore be able to report that such parts are free from rot, beetle or other defects.

The report is for the benefit of our client only and Southwest Housesurveys cannot accept liability to any third parties for the whole or any part of its contents.

What is included in a Building Survey?

Once the inspection has taken place, you will receive the survey report alongside a valuation of the property (if this has been agreed upon from the outset).

When the inspection is carried out, it will be on visible or accessible parts of the property only such as windows, doors, walls and floors, roofs, chimneys, cellars and garages or outbuildings. Sealed roof spaces will not be checked. It is true that a surveyor’s ability to identify and inform their client of significant defects is a legal requirement.

If there is a particular area of the property that you have concerns about, be sure to inform the surveyor. A building survey is not the same as a HomeBuyer Report because it doesn’t follow a set format, a building survey report is able to be customised to your needs and there is a potential that the report may also add value to the property, not just take away.

Inspection of a building

The inspection will be as detailed as possible and access will be gained to all accessible voids, roofs etc. Southwest Housesurveys must point out that damage will not be caused to the property or to the contents which will inevitably restrict the extent of the inspection to some degree. Where that is the case an assessment will be made of what lies hidden from view.

Our inspection will be made with the aid of usual surveyor’s equipment to include the use of a torch to inspect voids and a 3 metre ladder to reach higher parts of the building. If additional means of access is required Southwest Housesurveys can make arrangements for a longer ladder or a builder to be in attendance but any additional costs will be chargeable to you.

Structure of a building

The exterior of the roof will be inspected as closely as possible along with the rainwater plumbing. The interior of all accessible loft spaces will also be inspected. Access to the roof surface will be gained if reasonably possible.

Floor surfaces not covered with carpeting will be inspected as far as practicable. Boards will be lifted if possible without causing damage to the boards and floor coverings.

We shall assess the effectiveness of ventilation and insulation in reducing condensation liable to damage elements of the structure and in limiting heat loss.

Exposed wall surfaces will be inspected both internally and externally. Brickwork within accessible voids will be inspected as far as possible. Flues and wall cavities cannot usually be inspected, except from existing points of access. Wall foundations will only be exposed by arrangement with the Vendor and only if other matters indicate defects below ground. The effectiveness of damp proof courses will be noted and all vulnerable areas of wall will be tested with a moisture meter.

The condition of structural timbers in floors and lintels etc will be checked where practicable and noted where it is not possible.

Professional Building Surveyor Services in Bristol

All sanitary fittings and associated taps will be inspected visually and checked by the normal passage of water. The presence of any lead piping will be noted where possible. Boilers and controls will be visually checked for signs of corrosion or leakage. The nature of the space heaters will be noted and checked as for hot water installations.

The electrical installation will be checked visually as necessary to advise on the apparent age and suitability of the wiring and equipment. Tests will not be carried out but Southwest Housesurveys shall give an opinion on the need for tests.


Accessible inspection covers will be opened if possible and a visual inspection made and the direction of the flow noted. Covers are sometimes seized but attempts will always be made to raise them. The means of foul and surface water disposal will be identified and the effectiveness of installations checked.

Further and more detailed investigations will be recommended if Southwest Housesurveys consider them to be necessary.

Fences, Paths & Outbuildings

The inspection of fences, paths and outbuildings will be undertaken in a briefer manner than the main building and reported upon in a more general nature.

Repair costs

If instructed, Southwest Housesurveys can give an indication of repair costs. Such costs should be regarded as budget figures only as builders’ prices vary considerably. Before proceeding with the purchase you are advised to seek at least one builders quotation to confirm the cost more accurately.


We cannot comment upon contamination of the site as that can normally only be established by specialists. However, Southwest Housesurveys will comment on any known hazards, such as historic mining in the vicinity or nearby overhead power lines. Southwest Housesurveys will note if the property is known to be in an area where radon gas levels are high.

To find out more information or to speak to an expert advisor get in touch with us today.

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