top of page

RICS Level 3 Survey

The RICS Building Survey Service includes (see Prices):

• a thorough inspection of the property (see ‘The inspection’);
• a detailed report based on the inspection (see ‘The report’).



The Service

The surveyor who provides the RICS Building Survey Service aims to give you professional
advice to:
• help you make a reasoned and informed decision when purchasing the property, or when
planning for repairs, maintenance or upgrading the property;
• provide detailed advice on condition;
• describe the identifiable risk of potential or hidden defects;
• where practicable and agreed, provide an estimate of costs for identified repairs; and
• make recommendations as to any further actions or advice which needs to be obtained
before committing to purchase.

Any extra services provided that are not covered by the terms and conditions of this service
must be covered by a separate contract.


The Inspection

The surveyor carefully and thoroughly inspects the inside and outside of the main building
and all permanent outbuildings, recording the construction and defects (both major and
minor) that are evident. This inspection is intended to cover as much of the property as
physically accessible. Where this is not possible an explanation is provided in the ‘limitations of
inspection’ box in the relevant section of the report.

The surveyor does not force or open up the fabric without occupier/owner consent, or if there
is a risk of causing personal injury or damage. This includes taking up fitted carpets, fitted floor
coverings or floorboards, moving heavy furniture, removing the contents of cupboards, roof
spaces, etc., removing secured panels and/or hatches or undoing electrical fittings.

If necessary, the surveyor carries out parts of the inspection when standing at ground level from
adjoining public property where accessible. This means the extent of the inspection will depend
on a range of individual circumstances at the time of inspection, and the surveyor judges in
each case on an individual basis.

The surveyor uses equipment such as a damp-meter, binoculars and torch, and uses a ladder
for flat roofs and for hatches no more than 3m above level ground (outside) or floor surfaces
(inside) if it is safe to do so.

The surveyor also carries out a desk-top study and makes oral enquiries for information about
matters affecting the property.


Services to the Property

Services are generally hidden within the construction of the property. This means that only the
visible parts of the available services can be inspected, and the surveyor does not carry out
specialist tests other than through their normal operation in everyday use. The visual inspection
cannot assess the efficiency or safety of electrical, gas or other energy sources. It also does
not investigate the plumbing, heating or drainage installations (or whether they meet current
regulations); or the internal condition of any chimney, boiler or other flue.

Outside the Property

The surveyor inspects the condition of boundary walls, fences, permanent outbuildings
and areas in common (shared) use. To inspect these areas, the surveyor walks around the
grounds and any neighbouring public property where access can be obtained. Where there
are restrictions to access (e.g. creeper plant, these are reported), and advice is given on any
potential underlying risks that may require further investigation.

Buildings with swimming pools and sports facilities are treated as permanent outbuildings
and therefore are inspected, but the surveyor does not report on the leisure facilities, such as
the pool itself and its equipment internally and externally, landscaping and other facilities (for
example, tennis courts and temporary outbuildings).



When inspecting flats, the surveyor assesses the general condition of outside surfaces of
the building, as well as its access and communal areas (for example, shared hallways and
staircases) and roof spaces, but only if they are accessible from within the property or communal
areas. The surveyor also inspects (within the identifiable boundary of the flat) drains, lifts, fire
alarms and security systems, although the surveyor does not carry out any specialist tests other
than their normal operation in everyday use.

Dangerous materials, contamination and environmental issues
The surveyor makes enquiries about contamination or other environmental dangers. If the
surveyor suspects a problem, he or she recommends a further investigation.

The surveyor may assume that no harmful or dangerous materials have been used in the
construction, and does not have a duty to justify making this assumption. However, if the
inspection shows that these materials have been used, the surveyor must report this and ask for
further instructions.

The surveyor does not carry out an asbestos inspection and does not act as an asbestos
inspector when inspecting properties that may fall within the Control of Asbestos Regulations
2012. With flats, the surveyor assumes that there is a ‘dutyholder’ (as defined in the regulations),
and that in place are an asbestos register and an effective management plan which does not
present a significant risk to health or need any immediate payment. The surveyor does not
consult the dutyholder.


The Report

The surveyor produces a report of the results of inspection for you to use, but cannot accept any
liability if it is used by anyone else. If you decide not to act on the advice in the report, you do
this at your own risk. The report is aimed at providing you with a detailed understanding of the
condition of the property to allow you to make an informed decision on serious or urgent repairs,
and on maintenance of a wide range of issues reported.

The report is in a standard format and includes the following sections.

A Introduction to the report
B About the inspection
C Overall assessment and summary of the condition ratings
D About the property
E Outside the property
F Inside the property
G Services
H Grounds (including shared areas for flats)
I Issues for your legal advisers
J Risks
K Energy efficiency
L Surveyor’s declaration
What to do now
Description of the RICS Building Survey Service
Typical house diagram

Condition Ratings

The surveyor gives condition ratings to the main parts (the ‘elements’) of the main building,
garage and some outside elements. The condition ratings are described as follows.


  • Condition rating 3 – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced orinvestigated urgently.

  • Condition rating 2 – defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

  • Condition rating 1 – no repair is currently needed. The property must be maintained in the normal way.

  • NI – not inspected.

The surveyor notes in the report if it was not possible to check any parts of the property that the
inspection would normally cover. If the surveyor is concerned about these parts, the report tells
you about any further investigations that are needed.

The surveyor does not report on the cost of any work to put right defects or make
recommendations on how these repairs should be carried out. However, there is general advice
in the ‘What to do now’ section at the end of the report.


The surveyor has not prepared the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as part of the RICS
Building Survey Service for the property. If the surveyor has seen the current EPC, he or she
will present the energy-efficiency rating in this report, but does not check the rating and cannot
comment on its accuracy. Where possible and appropriate, the surveyor will include additional
commentary on energy related matters for the property as a whole in the energy efficiency
section of the report, but this is not a formal energy assessment of the building.



Issues for legal advisors.

The surveyor does not act as ‘the legal adviser’ and does not comment on any legal documents.
If, during the inspection, the surveyor identifies issues that your legal advisers may need to
investigate further, the surveyor may refer to these in the report (for example, check whether
there is a warranty covering replacement windows).

This report has been prepared by a surveyor (‘the Individual Surveyor’) merely in his or her
capacity as an employee or agent of a firm or company or other business entity (‘the Company’).
The report is the product of the Company, not of the Individual Surveyor. All of the statements
and opinions contained in this report are expressed entirely on behalf of the Company, which
accepts sole responsibility for these. For his or her part, the Individual Surveyor assumes no
personal financial responsibility or liability in respect of the report and no reliance or inference to
the contrary should be drawn.

In the case of sole practitioners, the surveyor may sign the report in his or her own name unless
the surveyor operates as a sole trader limited liability company.
Nothing in this report excludes or limits liability for death or personal injury (including disease and
impairment of mental condition) resulting from negligence.



This section summarises defects and issues that present a risk to the building or grounds, or a
safety risk to people. These may have been reported and condition rated against more than one
part of the property or may be of a more general nature, having existed for some time and which
cannot reasonably be changed.

If the property is leasehold, the surveyor gives you general advice and details of questions you
should ask your legal advisers.

This includes the cost of rebuilding any garage, boundary or retaining walls and permanent
outbuildings, and clearing the site. It also includes professional fees, but does not include VAT
(except on fees).


Standard terms of engagement

1 The service – the surveyor provides the standard RICS Building Survey Service (‘the
service’) described in the ‘Description of the RICS Building Survey Service’, unless you
and the surveyor agree in writing before the inspection that the surveyor will provide extra
services. Any extra service will require separate terms of engagement to be entered into with
the surveyor. Examples of extra services include:

• plan drawing
• schedules of works;
• supervision of works;
• re-inspection;
• detailed specific issue reports; and
• market valuation and re-instatement cost; and
• negotiation.

2 The surveyor – the service is to be provided by an AssocRICS, MRICS or FRICS member of
the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, who has the skills, knowledge and experience
to survey, value and report on the property.

3 Before the inspection – this period forms an important part of the relationship between you
and the surveyor. The surveyor will use reasonable endeavours to contact you regarding your
particular concerns regarding the property and explain (where necessary) the extent and/
or limitations of the inspection and report. The surveyor also carries out a desktop study to
understand the property better.

4 Terms of payment – you agree to pay the surveyor’s fee and any other charges agreed
in writing.

5 Cancelling this contract – nothing in this clause 5 shall operate to exclude, limit or
otherwise affect your rights to cancel under the Consumer Contracts (Information,
Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 or the Consumer Rights Act 2015,
or under any such other legislation as may from time to time be applicable. Entirely without
prejudice to any other rights that you may have under any applicable legislation, you are
entitled to cancel this contract in writing by giving notice to the surveyor’s office at any time
before the day of the inspection, and in any event within fourteen days of entering into this
contract. Please note that where you have specifically requested that the surveyor provides
services to you within fourteen days of entering into the contract, you will be responsible for
fees and charges incurred by the surveyor up until the date of cancellation.

6 Liability – the report is provided for your use, and the surveyor cannot accept responsibility
if it is used, or relied upon, by anyone else.

Complaints handling procedure

The surveyor will have a complaints handling procedure and will give you a copy if you ask.


Note: These terms form part of the contract between you and the surveyor.

bottom of page