Types of Building Survey

In the UK you can choose between three types of valuation and survey; the valuation, Homebuyer Survey or Building Survey. What are the pros and cons, the strengths and weaknesses of each?

The types of survey are:


This is simply the value of the property, and though it includes a few comments on the condition of the building, is intended only to enable the lender, such as a bank, to determine the safety of their investment.

Homebuyer Survey

This is a mid-price review of the condition of the property. It incorporates a valuation.

Building Survey

This is a more in-depth, but normally more expensive, review of the condition of the property. It does not incorporate a valuation.

Personal Survey

This can be a basic or thorough survey conducted by you as the buyer; you should support this with a survey by a professional surveyor.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors offers the following comments on the two types of survey:


HOMEBUYER Survey & Valuation Building Survey
Type of property

Conventional houses, flats,bungalows, etc., in apparently reasonable condition

Any residential or other property, in any condition

Type of service

Economy package in standard form

Custom-made to client's individual needs

Objects of service

To assist client to: (i) make an informed judgement on whether or not to proceed; (ii) decide whether or not property is a reasonable purchase at agreed price; and (iii) assess urgent and significant matters before exchanging contracts

To provide client with: (i) assessment of construction/condition of property; and (ii) technical advice on problems and on remedial works

Special features

Focus on urgent and significant matters

Details of construction/materials/defects


Integral part of HOMEBUYER Service

Provided as agreed extra

Form of Report

Compact, fixed RICS/ISVA (Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers) format

Usually much longer, in surveyor's format