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Terms & Conditions for Residential Surveys

The terms on which the Surveyor will carry out the Building Survey are set out in this document. If you require any changes, please make sure that you ask for these to be put in writing. In that way, we can avoid any problems relating to what the Surveyor and you, the Client, is expected to do.

1 - Generally
(a) Based on an inspection as defined below, the Surveyor, who will be a Chartered Surveyor, will advise the Client in a written report as to his opinion of the visible condition and state of repair of the subject property.
(b) The Report should be read as a comment on the overall condition of the property. It is not an inventory of every single defect, particularly if they are not considered to be of major structural significance, or would not affect the value of the property. One copy of the report will be provided to the Client. Additional copies can be provided at a cost of 25.00 if requested.

2 - The Inspection     [ top ]


The inspection will cover all those parts of the property which are visible whilst standing at ground level within the boundaries of the site and adjacent public / accessible areas and whilst standing at various floor levels.

(a) Accessibility & Voids
(i) The Surveyor will inspect as much of the surface area of the structure as is practicable within the restrictions imposed by occupation, furniture, fittings and floor coverings, and will not inspect areas which are covered, unexposed or inaccessible. Screwed down hatches and service ducts will not be removed.
(ii) Roofs, chimneys, parapets and gutters, together with projections and elevations above first floor level are examined externally with the aid of binoculars where required. Surveyors normally work on their own, therefore, for reasons of Health and Safety, he / she will only inspect roofs / parts of roofs, over single storey structures not exceeding 3.0 metres in height, with the aid of a ladder.
(iii) Access to the roof voids will be gained where reasonable trap doors and hatches are available. Comments relating to the suitability of the structure will be made, although specific calculations to check the strength of the framework is beyond the scope of this type of survey. Flues will not be opened up. It is not usually possible to indicate the condition of flues or presence and suitability of flue liners. Without smoke tests, no assumption can be made as to the practicality of using the chimneys and fireplaces.

(b) Foundations
(i) The condition of the foundations will be assessed from the visible parts of the structure as at the date of the survey - taking onto account site conditions and the normal sub soil conditions in the area.
(ii) Foundations are not exposed during the course of the survey, therefore, it is not possible to confirm their construction, depth and suitability, nor is it possible to determine the type of sub soil. Where cracking or distortion is evident, the survey will comment and advise accordingly. Specific calculations to check the strength of the structural fabric will not be undertaken. No sub soil analysis or testing will be done.

(c) Floors
(i) The Surveyor will lift accessible sample loose floorboards and trapdoors, if any, which are not covered by heavy furniture, ply or hardboard, carpets or other floor coverings. The Surveyor will not attempt to raise fixed floorboards.

(d) Roofs
(i) The Surveyor will inspect the roof spaces if there are available hatches and it is safe to do so.. The Surveyor will have a ladder of sufficient height to gain access to a roof hatch or to a single storey roof, not more than 3.0m (10ft) above the floor or adjacent ground. It might not, therefore, be possible to inspect roofs above this level. It, therefore, follows that certain types of roof structure, by nature of their design (including flat roofs) cannot be fully inspected without the use of long ladders. In such cases, pitched roofs etc will be inspected by binoculars. It is not always possible to advise if roof coverings / rainwater goods are watertight, even if it is raining at the time of the inspection.
(ii) The Surveyor will follow the guidance in Surveying Safely issued by the RICS in April 1991 which incorporates guidance given in Guidance Note GS31 on the safe use of ladders and step ladders issued by the Health and Safety Executive.

(e) Structural Timber
(i) Inspection of the roof voids and beneath floors, where access is available, is confined to overall design and construction, individual timbers are not specifically examined, although if material defects are observed, such defects will be recorded in the report.

(f) Walls
(i) These will be viewed from ground level only. It may not be possible to inspect some walls where these are obscured by adjoining buildings and where access will need to be obtained on adjoining land where permission to enter has not been obtained.
(ii) The inner and outer leaves of cavity walls are normally tied together with metal wall ties. Some properties are now suffering from advanced corrosion of the wall ties resulting in expansion and deterioration of the horizontal mortar joints and increasing lack of stability of the walls. One of the most frequent symptoms of cavity wall tie failure is the appearance of horizontal cracking along the brickwork mortar joints though in the case of galvanised wire ties (the most common type) no such cracking may occur, even in the later stages of deterioration. It will be appreciated that the cavity wall ties are completely hidden from view and, therefore, it is not possible to confirm if cavity wall tie failure is present in the property. If you require a positive statement regarding the cavity wall ties, then cavities should be opened up for inspection prior to the exchange of contracts.
(iii) Wherever possible, the fabric will be examined for evidence of material structural movement, but no excavations will be made.

(g) Boundaries, Grounds and Outbuildings
(i) It is our policy to concentrate inspection upon the main buildings The inspection will include boundaries, grounds and outbuildings. However, it will be assumed, unless specifically instructed that a general comment as to the condition of outbuildings, garages, fences and paths will be sufficient, and, therefore, comments are restricted to important defects only. A conservatory may in individual circumstances constitute an outbuilding and where we take this view, we will state as such in the report.
(ii) Specialist leisure facilities, including swimming pools and tennis courts, will not be inspected.

(h) Services
(i) Whilst a superficial inspection of the visible sections of the services will be made, none of the gas, electricity, water, drainage, heating and hot water systems will be tested, nor will there have been an opportunity to observe them in operation (if the property is unoccupied, services may be disconnected). Specialist reports on all, or any of these systems can be arranged at further cost.
(ii) You will be advised if special tests to the drains, electrical, gas, water or heating installations will be required. No definite opinion can be given that the equipment is entirely free from defect if not tested. A separate test and report can be arranged and carried out by a specialist firm if required. The costs of any testing or further investigations will be met by the client direct with the specialist contractor.

(i) Flats
(i) Unless otherwise agreed, the Surveyor will inspect only the subject flat and garage (if any), and the related internal and external common parts and structure of the building in which the subject flat is situated. Other flats or properties will not be inspected.
(ii) Advice will be given on the standard of construction and maintenance of the subject flat and the repairs required to maintain the fabric of the flat will be listed in the report. The client is reminded that, particularly in the case of large blocks, the object of the inspection is to give guidance on the general standard of construction and maintenance, pointing out those items which will need attention within, say, the next decade and not to list those minor points which would normally be taken care of in the course of routine maintenance. Many blocks form part of large developments, consisting of several blocks. In such cases the Surveyor will be inspecting only the one block in which the flat is situated. The inspection will exclude the roof space unless there is an access hatch from the common parts or the client has made arrangements for access through another flat. The inspection will be restricted to that part of the roof over the subject flat. If a separate visit is necessary, an additional charge will be made.
(ii) A copy of the lease should be provided to the Surveyor prior to his inspection so that an assessment can be made on the extent and nature of the repairing liabilities. Assumptions on the extent of liabilities will have to be made where precise information is unavailable. If your solicitor / legal adviser subsequently established that the report does not cover all the common parts for which the owner of the subject flat bears a liability, the surveyor will inspect those additional common parts and prepare an Addendum to the report. An additional fee will be charged for this service.
(ii) It is essential that your solicitor/ legal adviser advises you on the interpretation of each and every provision in the lease prior to exchange of contracts. This should also include the identification of costs either outstanding or planned made by Management or Tenants Associations.

3 - The Report     [ top ]

(a) The report will take precedence over any verbal or e-mail advice given.
(b) The report is set out in the following sections:

Section A Introduction
Section B Description
Section C Building Fabric
Section D Environment and Services
Section E The Site and Outbuildings
Section F Legal
Section G Summary
Section H Appendices
(c) Section C will report on relevant identifiable forms of construction and allowing for the age and type of property refer to the present condition and describe any material defects and where considered appropriate, recommend further action.
(d) Where Building and repair costs are included within the report they are for guidance only. They should not be considered as a substitute for competitive cost quotations and should not, therefore, be relied upon in a decision to purchase. All costs should be established by the Client prior to entering into a legal commitment.

4 - Deleterious & Hazardous Materials     [ top ]

(a) Unless otherwise expressly stated in the report, the Surveyor will assume that no deleterious or hazardous materials or techniques have been used in the construction of the property.
(b) No investigation will be made concerning the use of asbestos, high alumina cement concrete, additives including calcium chloride, or any deleterious materials during the construction phase, unless specifically requested.

5 - Contamination     [ top ]

(a) The Surveyor will not comment upon the existence of contamination as this can only be established by appropriate Specialists. Where, from his local knowledge or the inspection, he considers that contamination may be a problem, he should advise as to the importance of obtaining a report from an appropriate Specialist.

6 - Consents, Approvals & Searches     [ top ]

(a) The Surveyor will assume that all Bylaws, Building Regulations and other consents required have been obtained. In the cases of new buildings, and alterations and extensions which require Statutory Consents or Approvals, the Surveyor will not verify whether such consents have been obtained. Enquiries should be made by the Client or his Legal Advisers. Drawings and Specifications will not be inspected by the Surveyor.
(b) The Surveyor will assume that the property is not subject to any unusual or especially onerous restrictions or covenants which apply to the structure or affect the reasonable enjoyment of the property.
(c) The Surveyor will assume that the property is unaffected by any matters which would be revealed by a local search (or their equivalent in Scotland) and replies to the usual Enquiries, or by a Statutory Notice, and that neither the property, nor its condition, nor its intended use is or will be unlawful.
(d) No enquiries will be made of the Local Authority in respect of planning considerations, the Highway Authority regarding public roads, the Environment Health Authority regarding any environmental matters, nor of the freeholder, leaseholder, selling agent or occupier concerning any road bonds, or lease conditions, in the case of a leasehold property or any restrictive covenants.

7 - Legal Matters     [ top ]

(a) The Surveyor will make verbal enquiries only on the tenure of the property, ownership of boundaries, details of any tenancies and management of the block of flats (in the case of flats only).
(b) The Client's legal advisers should fully investigate all relevant legal matters and advise the Client and the Surveyor when appropriate.

8 - Fees & Expenses     [ top ]

(a) The Client will pay Mitchell Price Limited the agreed fee (plus VAT) for the report and any expressly agreed disbursements in addition.
(b) The fee will become payable 14 days after the date of issue of the fee account.

9 - Restriction on Discolsure     [ top ]

(a) The report is for the sole use of the named Client and is confidential to the Client and his professional advisors. Any other persons rely on the report at their own risk.

10 - Valuation     [ top ]

(a) No Valuation of the property will be provided.

11 - Insurance Valuation     [ top ]

(a) Where the Surveyor is instructed to provide an assessment of the reinstatement value, due regard will be taken of the Association of British Insurers - Building Cost Information Service House Rebuilding Cost Index. The assessment will not include loss of rent or cost of alternative accommodation for the reinstatement period.

12 - Proposed Alterations     [ top ]

(a) If you are intending to carry out extensions or alterations to the structure or services, it would be helpful to be advised of your alterations prior to our inspection.
(b) We are able to prepare plans, specifications and estimates for your present and future proposals for the property. Please contact us about this additional service.

13 - Repairs     [ top ]

(a) Repairs which are required to the property will be clearly identified, but these will not be costed. It is very important that you obtain competitive quotations or estimates for these works before exchange of contract for the purchase of the property.

14 - Sound Insulation     [ top ]

(a) It will not be possible to comment on the sound insulation of the subject property in relation to adjoining properties as such insulation, where present, is concealed from view.

15 - Cancellation of Instructions     [ top ]

(a) Instructions for a survey may be cancelled in writing at any time up to 2 working days before we carry out the actual inspection and unless some expense has been incurred, no charge will be made. Where time has been spent and some expense incurred, charges will be at the Surveyor's discretion.
« Back
1 - Generally
2 - The Inspection
3 - The Report
4 - Deleterious & Hazardous Materials
5 - Contamination
6 - Consents, Approvals & Searches
7 - Legal Matters
8 - Fees & Expenses
9 - Restriction on Discolsure
10 - Valuation
11 - Insurance Valuation
12 - Proposed Alterations
13 - Repairs
14 - Sound Insulation
15 - Cancellation of Instructions
  « Back

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