Environmental Reports – are they fact or fiction?


Independent Building Surveyors

Environmental ReportsWe are independent surveyors, which means we are not linked to or owned by an estate agent or lending institute, and as a result we are only working with your best interests in mind.  

We can give you a free survey quote and we will usually save you money on the cost of the survey.  We carry out building surveys quickly and we believe that the quality of our surveys are one of the best on the market.  We offer a reasoned view, based upon our knowledge and experience and we don't make a mountain out of a molehill.  Equally if we think the property has problems we say so in a clear, jargon-free manner.  

Having a survey carried out on the property that you intend to buy will give you the extra peace of mind that you are buying the right one.

Free phone 0800 298 5424


Environmental Reports - what are they?

Environment Reports have various different names and are mass produced reports.  We would say, in some cases Environment Reports are very general in what they are saying and certainly often not an easy read. 

What is information included in an Environmental Report?

An Environmental Report when purchasing a property gives details on:-

  1. Past uses of the land and the land in the vicinity of the property and if such past uses are likely to have caused any potential contamination of the land on which the property is located.
  2. If the property is within a flood plain and at risk of flooding
  3. The  stability of the ground the property sits on
  4. Water and drainage reports

plus normally further action recommendations.

What do solicitors do for you when you are buying a house?

One of the services you will find that your solicitor does for you  when you are buying a house is to provide an Environmental Report of one kind or another. 

We have also seen that these reports are said to be professional opinions but we feel they are more computer based reports often with general information.  We have heard them referred to as a box ticking exercise. 

We believe that one of the most honest articles on Environmental Reports many, many years ago was within the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Magazine, in their section where a knowledgeable expert gives an opinion; see below.

In this case, the article was written  by one of the managers of Chainbow Limited, now merged with Savills Estate Agency, a man called Roger Sotham, a company expert in property management and we believe it sums up our thoughts on Environmental Reports. He commented that he considers Environmental Reports to be an “unprofessional service for a fast buck”.

We suggest you read the article for yourself and make your own conclusions, very rarely do we see such a honest opinion in the open press - you obviously get an honest opinion in our building surveys.

Are You Buying a new Home? - to ensure you don't buy a problem property have a building survey

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Extract from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Business'

The Magazine of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Environmental Reports

Environmental Reports

Sotham’s article highlights unless you buy houses regularly you have “no idea of the scam that is being perpetrated by mass-market, cheap priced and unprofessional environmental surveying companies”.

Environmental Searches leading to worthless further investigations

The article also refers to how sometimes worthless additional searches can be incurred.

Real Environmental companies

What does an Environmental company think about this?

Sotham then comments that he spoke to one of his friends who concluded that Environmental Reports are simply unhelpful and could not understand how the comments within Environmental Reports are made without reference to specific plans or problems.

Are solicitors the problem with Environmental Reports?

Furthermore, Roger Sotham does make the comment that “in a free market, where you reply on the integrity of the professionals providing a service, there will always be those who want to make the fast buck and ruin the reputation of all.”

Buyer Beware

In his last comment in the article “Caveat emptor indeed” we can explain this as “Caveat emptor” is Latin for “buyer beware” and is the legal protection that the vendor/seller has when they sell a property and is why you need a building survey from someone who actually visits the property.  We can also sometimes help with  interpreting  Environmental Reports, but we have to admit even sometimes we find them confusing.

For Independent Advice

Free Phone our friendly property experts on 0800 298 5424 today

Building Surveying Articles

Over the years we have produced thousands of surveying articles. Here are some you may like to read:

What is an Independent Survey?

Find out about Building Surveys

Residential Building Surveys, how we can help

Why have one of our surveys?

You can see further articles by clicking HERE

Don't buy a problem property buy a building survey

Our Good, Bad and Ugly surveys!

If you are in the process of buying a new home we would like to tell you about what we call our good, bad and ugly survey.  This is a Building Survey also sometimes known as a structural survey.  We have developed this over many years, in fact several decades.  We have listened to feedback from our clients and amended and altered our surveys to make them easy to read and describe issues clearly.  The key factor we believe is our Independent Surveys are easy to understand and written in plain English.

Chartered Surveyors with thermal imaging cameras?

Let's have a look at a sliding sash window through a thermal imager.  Yes we do have thermal imagers and yes it can be dangerous Chartered Surveyors using thermal imagers if they do not have enough experience working with them.  We have developed knowledge of thermal image cameras over the many years we have now worked with them.  We have even given lectures about them at some universities.

Environmental Reports
Thermal imaging photo of a 1960's house. The red areas being the hotter areas



We will save you money with a building survey

Free Phone  0800 298 5424 today

Environmental ReportsWe can email you examples of our building surveys

We are more than happy to email you several examples of our tailor made reports that we have carried out on similar properties although we do appreciate that all properties are unique.

We really believe that you should see what you are getting in the form of an example Survey.  What is more is that we are so confident with our higher than average standards that we believe that there is no other comparable survey available in the UK property and surveying market.

Our survey photographs and unique sketches help you understand the survey

If the report, along with our photos, does not explain the problem or characteristics of a property enough then we also have a vast range of sketches, as per the examples above, that we have had commissioned exclusively for us that we can use in our reports.

Environmental Reports

Diagonal crack below window

Environmental Reports

Diagonal cracking in plaster


For Independent Advice

Free Phone our friendly property experts on 0800 298 5424 today

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