Guide to hiring a chartered surveyor

Page 1: When might I need one?
Page 2: What will it cost

Hannah Shanks - Editor

Get Free Building Survey Estimates


It is hard to give a guide cost because it will depend on the size of the job and what you want done. However, as a rough guide, the cost of a simple valuation should range between 100-250, the cost of a homeowners' survey is about 250-1000, and the cost of a full structural survey is about 500-1500. These prices will vary depending on your individual requirements, how large the property is, and where you are in the country.

It is also very important to get several quotes from different surveyors; that way, you can be sure that you are getting a decent price for the work they are carrying out.

What happens next?

After you have decided on your surveyor, you will need to choose what type of survey you want undertaken and agree on a price.

There are a number of surveys which you can have undertaken, starting from building society survey or a homeowners' survey (required to get a mortgage on a property) for this they just value the property (rebuilding costs that is) and make sure it appears sound after a brief inspection. If the windows or other fairly minor decorative features are in bad condition, they may hold back some of the mortgage until repairs / redecoration have been undertaken. This should only be used for houses that are of standard design and structure and are obviously in reasonable structural condition; often this tends to be the case with new houses.

At the other end of the scale is a full structural survey, which will test everything about the house (value, grounds, structural condition) and will take half a day to complete.

After this is finished, you will receive a report, which is typically 50 pages long and includes pictures. It will detail the history of the property, rights of way, structural integrity, materials used in building, drainage, electrics, roof (condition) dry rot, woodworm wet rot, dampness, and value of rates.

It is possible to ask your surveyor to only report on certain aspects. For example, if you are buying a relatively new house, which is clearly structurally sound, you may only want to know about rights of way. This sort of survey will take less time to complete and will obviously be cheaper.

Questions to ask your surveyor?

  • Are you a RICS member?
  • How long have you been practising?
  • What is the price for a survey and what is included for each quote? I.e. What do I get for a full structural survey or for a partial survey?
  • When will the job be completed?
  • Do you know the area and have you had experience with a similar type of property?
  • Do you have professional indemnity cover?

Property pros