WHAT DO CHARTERED SURVEYORS DO?
We market the services of independent Surveyors. Surveyors pride themselves on high standards of work. We can offer Building Surveys also known as Structural Surveys and Home Buyers Reports. We also carry out Specific Defects also known as Engineers Reports or Damp Reports. We can also carry out Independent Valuations. Note these are not for bank lending but are to advise you how much we feel the property is really worth. If you have a property problem we may even already have written an article on it and we would refer you to the many articles we have on our free property articles page. Use independent surveyors who are more than happy to chat. Please Free phone us on 0800 298 5424 and surveyor will call you back.
Lots of different types of Chartered Surveyors
What's quite confusing is that there are lots of different types of Chartered Surveyors, all of them a specialist in the property and associated fields, literally fields in some Chartered Surveyors cases! The range of Chartered Surveyors that you may come across are Chartered Quantity Surveyors who look after the financial side of a large project, General Practice Surveyors who as the term implies are general but normally but look at the values of property and the selling of commercial property, also some of them specialise in the auction field. There are also specialists in this area who are called Chartered Valuation Surveyors, specialists in the value of property, please see our many articles on valuing a property. Then of course there is the type of Surveyor that everyone thinks of when you think of a Chartered Surveyor which is the one that looks through a theodolite and assesses the contours of the land, they were originally involved years ago with developing maps and the ordnance survey and these are commonly known as Land Surveyors.
We use Chartered Building Surveyors, which means they specialise in a wide range of areas, everything from project management to estate management to defects reports and design. In fact it is fair to say that our Surveyors are a mixture of several disciplines notably Architects looking at the design side and appropriate technical details, Quantity Surveyors looking at the pricing of work and getting value for money, Interior Designers we look also at the interior aspects of the property. The Chartered Surveyors we use have had a lot of experience of restaurants, public houses and hotel concepts. We would also argue that we are good negotiators and communicators due to the range of different people we meet and most of all we are detectives and problem solvers. Becoming a Chartered building Surveyor is said by many Surveyors to be the hardest section of Chartered Surveying because it has such a wide range of skills, although some Chartered Building Surveyors do specialise in such matters as project management, disputes, party wall matters, stock condition surveys, expert witness cases for courts, the list goes on and on.
Where are you most likely to meet a Chartered Surveyor?
Most people instruct a Chartered Surveyor when they are buying a new house or to be correct most people have a Chartered Surveyor instructed for them to carry out the valuation. We should imagine this is by far the most common use for Chartered Surveyors by the non professional outside of the property industry. However probably the most popular Surveyor that you will meet from choice is a Chartered Building Surveyor. This is where you have decided to have your own survey and own private advice on a property you are buying or maybe a property you are in and you have noticed the defects in it. Let's have a look at various scenarios.
What should my Surveyor do when carrying out a building survey?
When you instruct a Surveyor to work on your behalf that is exactly what they should be doing using their knowledge and skill to take the building apart (not literally but mentally) and diagnose any potential problems and anything they think you should know about. They certainly should speak to you at some point during the survey to get to understand your particular concern. We prefer to actually meet the client as it is the only way you truly get to know and understand their concerns and issues.
It is just a walk around the property
The survey does just involve a walk around the property. It's what's going on in a Surveyors head while they are walking around the property that is important. Do they have the experience and knowledge to identify major problems? Some problems are common sense and any good DIY'er should be able to spot the effect whether they understand the cause is a different matter. We also find that builders as well are very good at spotting the effect but rarely understand the technical issues behind the cause of the problem, although we have been pleasantly surprised with some. Many issues are a combination of issues and are only identifiable when the Surveyor has a good knowledge and experience of that type, age and style of construction. Again a good Surveyor will look at the effect and then the cause and offer you a remedy for the cause, possibly a few different options and also we would expect a good Building Surveyor to have a budget cost within the report for the building work required. They should ensure you go into the property purchase knowing exactly what you are buying, the issues on it and the potential it may have for you. This is why we use our Good, Bad and Ugly summary system because there are always good things in the property, there are inevitably some Bad things and sometimes there are Ugly things which means you should be buying something else.
Looking at a defect when you own the property
We are well aware that quite a few people, particularly during boom times buy properties without the benefit of having a survey carried out. We were recently involved with one where the lady bought what we would only describe as a terrible property which had many DIY repairs, in this case DIY really did stand for Destroy it Yourself or it could have stood for Devalue the property Yourself. She advised us she was a first time buyer and really didn't understand the house buying process. She really did feel she had been conned with the house renovation which she had bought. Whilst we understood the situation we would say to anyone who knows someone who is buying a house for the first time, a Building Surveyor will help and advise them, it really is a minefield.
Meet the Surveyor at the property on the day of the survey
Whilst we are biased of course we would recommend that they have a Chartered Surveyor that they can speak to and talk to about the issues of the property. We really would recommend that you spend the time, by this we mean a day off, to come and see the Surveyor, question him while he is at the property and get a reassurance that he knows and understands what he's doing and he knows and understands what you want. We would say that if the Chartered Surveying company say that they are too busy or can't give a time for you to actually meet them, move onto a different Chartered surveying practice because a house purchase really is too important for you to be part of a production line process that doesn't care about the property that you are buying. Whilst Chartered Surveyors are often pressurised for time when they are at the property, in our experience good Surveyors should be able to talk and explain the problems in words that you can understand. We have had many people who have come to meet us at the property where we have actually insisted they come along. We have even had one retired gentlemen who advised that he had never been along to a survey before who said it was well worth his while as he was spending his life's savings on the property and as properties always cost a large amount of money he said he didn't know why he hadn't come along to meet a Surveyor previously. We would say in practically a hundred per cent of cases they all think it is well worth the time to have come along.
Another example we would give is where we went to a survey and the lady turned up with a ladder and damp meter, which we were quite surprised about. She advised us that the Surveying company that she had used previously she would never use again, were first of all very surprised when she turned up when they had been insistent that their Surveyor couldn't speak to her and then she was even more surprised to discover that the Surveyor didn't have a ladder to look in the roof and he didn't have his own damp meter so this time she decided to bring one along! The other thing when you are buying a property is if you do meet the Surveyor there you then have time to look around without necessarily the estate agent following you around, which is always a benefit that people comment on.
Back to the lady who bought the house without the building survey, which was full of DIY improvements. At first she wasn't sure why we were there. During discussions with her it turned out that her father had insisted that she had a Building Surveyor to come and look at the property and as we looked at the property and mentally took it to bits and got to understand what we term the 3D problem of the property we were able to advise her in terms that she understood. She felt in more control of the situation and able to put things right and ensure that they stayed correct. This is the cause and effect that we talk about in many of our articles where the builders resolve the effect rather than the actual cause. She is at the moment diligently working through a plan of action that we have put in place over the next three years, which is to suit her budget to carry out repairs and alterations to the property and she rang us up to thank us. What was very nice also was the father that recommended that she used us and we believe paid for the survey rang us afterwards without his daughter knowing to have a chat with us. We like happy endings!
More and more we are getting calls where people have been given conflicting advice by different builders or different product companies and we would comment that this is because they either don't have the technical knowledge or want to understand the problem or they are selling a specific product and therefore the only solution they can offer is that specific product. A classic case that we have come across fairly recently was where a person had damp in the property, they had several damp proof specialists to carry out quotations, and all of these came out to different prices. They recommended inserting damp proof courses and also replastering. We were asked to come and advise what needed doing. Having looked at the property we believe it related to the ground level being too high on the outside so it was simply a matter of lowering the ground level allowing the property to breathe which is often the case in older properties. There are many better solutions than adding a damp proof course. This is just one example of where we have been called in to resolve an issue.
We also get calls from landlords and tenants with regards to repairs and the best way these can be carried out which we are more than happy to help with.
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a chartered building surveyor, and many of us are also chartered builders, with regard to valuations, mortgages, mortgage companies, surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, structural surveys, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have included is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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