Chartered Building Surveyors, Chartered Building Engineers and Architectural Consultants

Building Surveys

A service tailored to your needs

BUILDING SURVEYS – the different types

Should you risk buying property without a survey? Did you realise your mortgage valuation is no more than a check for your lender that their financial interest is covered by the value of the property?

A home is one of the most expensive things most people will ever buy and yet, according to The Daily Telegraph report (2nd July 2010), RICS research has found that on average we take just 21 minutes to choose a new home – less than the time to select a new car or sofa!

An RICS survey (1st April 2013) of home buying consumers has shown that 89% of respondents who did not commission a survey now think it is important to take out independent advice.

Our approach ...

All members of the Building Consultancy Bureau surveying team are Chartered Building Surveyors having anything from fifteen to twenty five years’ experience – this gives you the benefit of not only the best possible technical knowledge but also the experience when it comes to inspecting a property on your behalf.

So, why do we think an independent Chartered Building Surveyor is the only person to use for your survey?

  • Anyone can call themselves a surveyor, but ‘Chartered’ can only be used when RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is satisfied someone has: undergone the required extensive training; demonstrated a high level of knowledge *and* proved they continue their on-going professional training.
  • Additionally, a Chartered Building Surveyor has followed specialist training in structures so all BCB surveyors can call themselves the true ‘building doctors’ of building pathology and diagnostics – the exact skills required for surveying properties.
  • BCB are also proud to be members of the ISVA (Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association) – have a look at this link and on the ISVA website to see why we believe being independent is so important too.


We offer various types of survey to suit the differing situations and budgets of our clients:

Building Survey

RICS Homebuyer Report

Intermediate Building Survey

Building Defect Analysis/Structural Investigation

Expert Witness Investigations

Planned Maintenance Programmes

Fire Risk Assessments

Building Survey(formerly known as a ‘Structural Survey’)

The ‘premier’ service for surveys: the most detailed report providing an enhanced level of information and assurance. It is particularly suitable for older properties and is the RICS recommended survey for buildings of unusual or mixed construction or structures whose original form has been significantly changed. This type of survey is also useful for prospective purchasers who are considering extensive alterations or enlargements of the property.

The report is provided as a result of lengthy inspection of the property and surrounding areas, and gives a very detailed analysis of the construction and condition of all elements within the structure. Accordingly, it provides more detailed information than either the RICS Homebuyer Survey or our in-house Intermediate Building Survey. Typically, the report will be 50 to 60 pages in length and incorporates an overall summary and, where appropriate, photographic examples of the defects identified.

Call our Bournemouth or Southampton office to speak with a surveyor for more information.

RICS HomeBuyer Survey

The RICS HomeBuyer Survey is a standard format inspection and report which can be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor although at BCB they are only ever undertaken by one of our Chartered Building Surveyors. (See our explanation of the types of surveyors at the top of the page.)

The inspection follows a defined pattern specified by the RICS and the resulting report is delivered in a standard format which identifies the issues found within those areas.

Why not call to speak with a surveyor at our Bournemouth or Southampton office to find out the best survey for your needs?

Intermediate Building Survey (or IBS)

We created our in-house developed report as a result of listening to client requests for the survey and report content they want. Again, this survey is always undertaken at the BCB by a Chartered Building Surveyor who has been qualified for at least fifteen years. This level of survey is intended for properties of conventional construction in reasonable order and is the more cost-effective option for clients not wanting the expense of a full building survey but wanting more detailed or customised information about the significant defects which the surveyor may find at the property. Typically, the report will be 25 to 30 pages in length and incorporates an overall summary and includes photographic examples of the defects identified where appropriate.

Our IBS report is presented in a user-friendly and logical sequence to cover the inspected areas. BCB Chartered Building Surveyors have the flexibility to include the appropriate level of report detail they consider necessary to explain their findings on any given aspect. Similarly, as we are not tied to a standard format we can offer additional areas of inspection to tailor our service to meet your requirements: perhaps you would like our surveyor to access a higher flat roof that can only be accessed by longer ladders, or maybe we can arrange a specialist camera drain survey at the same time for you? .

The IBS report identifies the significant issues such as damp, rot, structural movement whilst including information about all building elements, services and any potential shortcomings. It has additional observation sections to highlight any hazards and checklists identifying specific concerns, advice on further specialist investigations which should be undertaken and legal aspects to be considered by your advisers. This report provides ample information for you to make an informed decision about your potential property purchase and can often be more cost-effective that either a full Building Survey or an RICS Homebuyer Report.

Call one of our offices: Bournemouth(01202) 537000 or Southampton (023 80) 388688 to speak with a surveyor for more information or go to our Contact page.

Building Defect Inspection/Structural Investigation

A Building Defect Inspection is most frequently recommended by BCB for those clients who have already identified symptoms which are causing them concern – such as subsidence cracks, damp, leaking roofs and so forth. BCB offers the Building Defect Inspection or Structural Investigation which focus on specific areas of the property, rather than the whole building.

A BCB Chartered Building Surveyor will interview you to find out any background information before carrying out an exhaustive inspection to determine the causes. The resulting Report will provide a full analysis of the symptoms and provide diagnostics, advice and remedies for the property owner. If required this service can include preparation of a Specification of Works for the home owner to seek competitive builder quotations themselves or BCB can provide a full Project or Contract Management service.

Call and discuss the matter with one of our surveyors at the Bournemouth (01202 537000) or Southampton (02380 388688)offices

Expert Witness Investigations

For those clients who, sadly, are involved in building disputes we offer our Expert Witness Investigations, again we can provide a tailored inspection to address specific concerns but in this case the reporting must cater for potential use in court so conforms to the court protocols – refer to Expert Witness Investigations on the lefthand side Menu, click here or call our Bournemouth (01202 537000) or Southampton office (02380 388688) to talk with one of our surveyors to see how we can help.

Planned Maintenance Programme

All buildings deteriorate and wear over time. A Planned Maintenance Programme (PMP) is usually compiled as a result of some form of survey and identifies the building elements, any necessary repairs and budget costs for such maintenance work.

Our approach...

A BCB Chartered Building Surveyor will undertake a full inspection, assess the condition of the building and compile a detailed report identifying the condition of the building and all its constituent parts. The BCB surveyor will identify the items which currently need attention but will also use his years of experience to anticipate the future maintenance and repair requirements. The report includes recommendations for maintenance and repairs of the building based upon the surveyor's findings during the survey.

The report includes a tabulated schedule which breaks down each building element, identifies all current and anticipated future repairs and maintenance works and allocates a priority rating for each entry. Each item shows an estimated figure based upon accepted industry cost data sources and all activities are merged into the surveyor's recommended programme by calendar year giving a total repair cost per year.

The Condition Report with its accompanying Schedule forms the complete Planned Maintenance Programme (PMP). The PMP is a vital building asset/management tool to use as the basis for budgeting, anticipating future funding requirements and for effective organisation of on-going maintenance and repairs.

If a building is not properly and regularly maintained then accelerated deterioration and increased repair costs will result – see our ‘Salutory Lesson’ project for a sad example......

Why not call one of our offices - Bournemouth (01202) 537000 or Southampton (02380) 388688 to discuss your requirements further with one of our surveyors?

Fire Risk Assessment (or Reinstatement Cost Assessment)

In brief, all publicly accessible buildings and common parts of multi-occupied residential buildings must carry out periodic Fire Risk Assessments by law. The ‘responsible’ person must ensure that: a periodic review of the building is undertaken; all risks are identified; plans are made to mitigate the risks; any issues are resolved in a reasonable time frame; procedures are in place to ensure scheduled checking and maintenance of equipment.

Our approach

As the lessee-owner of an apartment, when paying a contribution to the cost of a Fire Risk Assessment you may think the primary goal is to make sure someone ‘ticks the boxes’ and ensures the Fire Risk Assessment has been carried out to ensure legal compliance – but have you ever thought *why* this is now a legal requirement? Who would want to be party to a decision which contributes to an injury or death - just because the primary focus was cost rather than quality of information and as a result the building was not safe?

In an apartment block everyone is more vulnerable to the consequences of other peoples’ actions: a faulty refrigerator or oven in a house can be frightening and start a fire - but in shared premises that impacts upon the safety of not only everyone living in that block but also visitors and service personnel too. Then, add to that equation the need to escape from an elevated flat or landing - perhaps some two or four storeys from the ground, and the whole scenario becomes more complex, and for any such situation lives can be at risk. The FRA is intended to identify these issues and ensure that buildings are safe and there are real routines in place for reviewing/servicing of fire protection equipment and alarms.

At BCB we will obtain copies of any existing documents and provide a questionnaire for completion before undertaking a thorough survey of the building, so the surveyor can be pre-advised of any provisions/routines that are already in place. He will use not only an understanding of the legal requirements but also his technical construction knowledge to identify any real building issues that could jeopardise peoples’ safety in the event of fire. Your BCB surveyor will offer solutions that provide practical, everyday benefits to any building alterations but will try to be sympathetic to budget constraints wherever possible whilst addressing the requirements of the law.

Call one of our offices: Bournemouth (01202) 537000 or Southampton (02380) 388688 as shown to the right and speak with a BCB surveyor.

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Bournemouth Office
Tel: 01202 537000

Chartered Building Surveyors, Building Engineers and Architectural Consultants

780 Wimborne Road

Southampton Office
Tel: 02380 388688

Chartered Building Surveyors, Building Engineers and Architectural Consultants

81 London Road
SO15 2AA