What is a Chartered Surveyor?

A Chartered Surveyor is a professional which job is to assess the structural integrity, quality of build and even to value a property. Probably, you heard this before, but what they actually do? What do you need to know when you are choosing one? When do you need a Chartered Surveyor?

A Chartered Surveyor is a highly trained property professional which assesses properties for defects and future issues and will provide you with specialist advice on any potential issues.

Surveyors produce reports in which any issues are highlighted with the adequate advice for remediation and any notes which will help a client to see if the property is a good investment.

Underestimating the importance of hiring a surveyor it may be costly especially if you commit buying a house and later on you discover hidden defects or damages, such as damp issues or structural defects.

The best time to look for a chartered surveyor is when you found your property and you wish to purchase it.

Usually, a survey is requested once an offer is made to the homeowner because you have enough time to renegotiate your house price or even back out before the contract exchange which is the legal point of no return. 

In most cases, if the issues are significant and are quite expensive to fix, a buyer will ask the vendor to lower the price to reflect the remediation costs. Thus is important to carry a survey before is too late – be safe than sorry, especially when some hidden defects or damages are really costly to remediate.

In addition to this, chartered surveyors can offer advice and guidance to homeowners or companies at the design and implementation stages of a construction project, often giving suggestions and recommendation on how to maximize the land and helping with planning authorities.

Once the type of survey is chosen, a surveyor will inspect and assess the property in question and will offer a detailed report with any potential issues along with useful and easy to understand guidance on how to approach the remediation work. 

Also, in a case of commercial property, a chartered surveyor can advise on a wide range of issues, such as: lease advisory on new premises, advice and negotiations on rent or lease reviews, preparation of a dilapidation schedule, pre-acquisition survey work, acting as valuation surveyors with a legal weight (due to RICS certification).

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A Chartered Surveyor can offer a series of surveys, depending on property size, age, value and condition. We need to mention that in Scotland the system is a little bit different than England, Northern Ireland and Wales. 

The most offered surveys in England for home buyers are: Condition Report (Level 1), HomeBuyer Report (Level 2) and Building Survey (Level 3).

Condition Report is the most simple survey available, offering an overall view of the property issues without offering recommendations for repair or how much will cost to fix them.

HomeBuyer Survey is the most common option because offers a fairly detailed report and is suitable for most properties – not being too complicated, unconventional or too old.

Building Survey is the most comprehensive and in depth survey available for a future homeowner and is usually chosen for older, unusual and complex properties.

Also if the new owner plans taking down walls, adding extension or a lot of building work is necessary a Building Survey will be the best option because is an invasive survey and will uncover any hidden issues before any work will commence.

Of course, building surveying profession is a diverse one, are several different categories of chartered surveyors, specialized in different areas of work, such as Listed Building Surveyors, or Rural Surveyors (farms and farm machinery) and more. 

All surveyors should have a degree or a course that is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). A Chartered Surveyor will always use letters, such as MRICS or FRICS at the end of their name meaning that their are members or fellow of RICS. 

Any company which is regulated by RICS will need to declare this on their marketing materials and platforms. A Chartered Surveyors regulated by RICS needs to go through rigorous training and assessment to ensure the highest standard is kept and the Code of Professional Ethics is respected throughout their work.

Also, any chartered surveyor or company regulated by RICS will need to be fully covered with indemnity insurance. So, using a qualified RICS surveyors will offer you a peace of mind for getting a high-quality and reliable survey for your dream property.

As we mentioned before, there are a series of house surveys available which can be requested by a customer which will offer different level of assessment. 

Nevertheless, an experienced surveyor will look for most common concerns, such as roof issues, signs of asbestos, evidence of damp, any visible structural movement, risk of woodworm or even the presence of plants that can damage a property, such as Japanese knotweed.

All these issues are not always easily detected, especially for an untrained eye and hiring a surveyor will save you time and future costs.

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The most important benefit of hiring a RICS Chartered Surveyor over a surveyor is professionalism. A RICS member of fellow surveyor are guaranteed to have gone through rigorous training and have the required qualification to ensure that their advice is trustworthy and accurate. They regularly need to update their skills and knowledge to maintain their status which means that they offer the highest quality for surveying services.

Also, in case of a complaint, RICS offers a Professional Conduct Team which handles the complaints by a standardized procedure and ensure that the rules of conduct have be uphold. As well as this, any RICS member need to have Professional Indemnity Insurance to be able to use their RICS status.

Choosing a Chartered Surveyor is a relatively easy process. Firstly, you need to make sure they are a RICS Chartered Surveyor, meaning that they must following the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors guidelines and have the necessary experience and qualifications.

Secondly, look at their reviews and their experience from previous customers. Also, location, price and turnaround time are important aspects to consider when you are picking your surveyor.

At Trusted Surveyors, we take care of these aspects, by providing you quotes from RICS certified surveyors. We only work with the best surveyors who are experienced and highly-qualified so you can benefit from high quality and accurate surveys.

We always recommend taking to your surveyor about what your concerns are before you pick them. Most surveyors are happy to talk with you and answer any questions you may have.

Written by Danil P.
25th Sept 2020 (Last updated on 9th May 2023)
8 minute read
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