Building Surveys

Eriss offer a range of professional services from traditional Building Surveys through to Party Wall and Dilapidations. Whether you are purchasing a property and require a Building Survey or need help with Dilapidations or a Party Wall Award. There are a number of building assessments possible. Please select a service from the list below for a full description of each service. Often, the most appropriate type of inspection varies from client to client, property to property. To better select the most appropriate service, please contact us so we can discuss your individual requirements.

Building Surveying Services

RICS Building Surveying

RICS Building Survey

Often referred to as a “structural” survey, the RICS created the RICS Building Survey as an essential survey for larger or older properties, or for those planning major home improvements or extensions. This most comprehensive of reports provides you with an in-depth analysis of your property’s condition and includes comprehensive advice on defects, repairs and future maintenance options.

“The RICS Building Survey (or “Structural Survey”) involves a detailed inspection of the property and a report designed to address the specific needs and interests of the client, whilst simultaneously providing a comprehensive overview of the property and its features.”

An RICS Building Survey is one of the most bespoke and most thorough surveys we offer; the top level service designed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, carried out by a fully qualified chartered surveyor.

Guidance and comprehensive detailed comment is given on any individual defects exposed and if requested, repair costings can also be included. At an additional cost the surveyor may assist with the arrangements for a number of specialist tests such as structural calculations or drainage assessments.

This survey is best carried out by a qualified, experienced and independent Chartered Surveyor, who is a specific expert in diagnosing and predicting structure and building defects. Our expertise in finding defects early could save you thousands of pounds when buying, selling and converting.

RICS Homebuyers Report

RICS Homebuyers Report

The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) introduced the new RICS HomeBuyer Report (HBR) in July 2009. Often called the “HomeBuyers Survey” or “HomeBuyers Report”, the RICS HomeBuyer Report focuses on highlighting matters concerning the subject property which could negatively affect its value – chiefly including building and structural defects.

Upon receipt of the report, the client is then able to make an informed decision about whether to go ahead with the purchase, negotiate the price or pull out altogether.

Whilst the RICS HomeBuyer Report may not be as detailed as other services like the House Purchase Survey Report or THe RICS Building Survey. This type of report certainly has a place in the market and can be a very cost-effective solution for modern properties of a standard build type. It provides a simple to read and concise report designed to be user-friendly with clarity and transparency in mind.

A HomeBuyer Report is a survey suitable for conventional properties in reasonable condition and newer homes.

What does it involve?

Our qualified surveyors will inspect the property to help you find out if there are any structural problems, such as subsidence or damp, as well as any other unwelcome hidden issues inside and outside. The HomeBuyer Report includes a property valuation as well as the insurance rebuild cost. The report shows the condition of the property and offers guidance to legal advisors and highlights any urgent defects.

Condition Ratings

The Report is designed to be user friendly with the minimum of technical jargon. The Report has a colour coded Condition Ratings system. The surveyor rates each element of the property using one of the following Condition Ratings:

  • Condition Rating 1 – No repair is currently needed. The property needs to continue to be maintained in the normal way.
  • Condition Rating 2 – Defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be either serious or urgent. The property must be maintained in the normal way.
  • Condition Rating 3  – Specific defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.
RICS Condition Report

RICS Condition Report

The RICS Condition Report shows the condition of the property, offers guidance to legal advisers and highlights any urgent defects. Typically the lowest priced of the surveys, it is aimed at conventional properties and newer homes.

House Purchase Survey Report

House Purchase Survey Report

The House Purchase Survey (HPS) takes many of the features from the Full Building Survey but reduces the report to a more concise, manageable document.

The purpose of the report is not just to discuss matters which affect the property’s value and expose defects which affect the internal living environment but also comment on future maintenance considerations.

The specific features covered in this survey mirror the RICS Building Survey, including matters like structural movement, ventilation, damp, timber joinery etc., but the main difference between the two lies in the level of detail. As such, it is suitable for any type of property whether large or small, residential or commercial

Planned & Reactive Maintenance

Planned & Reactive Maintenance

Planned Maintenance
For many, property is their greatest asset. It’s where we work, live, play and have a large amount of our money invested. Whether you’re an owner or tenant, a planned maintenance programme is vital so to ensure you have the resources and finance in place at the right time to keep everything in good order. Our chartered building surveyors have the detailed knowledge of buildings to advise and prepare maintenance plans for you.

Reactive Maintenance
While it makes financial sense to plan you maintenance, some events just can’t be anticipated. With a significant increase in flooding and storm damage to properties in the last few years, the need for professional reactive maintenance advice has never been higher. Our experts can help assess the damage, provide a detailed works specification, tender and project manage the work so to restore you property back to its former glory.

Single Fault Defect

Single Fault Defect Assessment

A single fault assessment is the ideal option where there is just one particular fault or problem with your property. This may be before or after the purchase and is most often required when a property has been in the same occupation for many years at a time.

This fault or problem is analysed and the cause – or probable cause – identified. A proposed course of action is then suggested in order to address the problem itself. Sometimes it may be appropriate for a letter, analysis or report to be prepared for a possible insurance claim.

Dilapidations

Schedule of Dilapidations

Dilapidations, or more specifically “Schedules of Dilapidations” relate to the disrepair of buildings and land, commonly where the landlord or the tenant has an obligation to repair. Our chartered surveyors can be used to support either the tenant or the landlord, in varying instances.

Acting on behalf on the landlord

Any real or potential risk to the asset value of the property is thus halted before a problem develops. This is best done through the service of an interim Schedule of Dilapidations. Although this interim measure is more limited than a final schedule, it will usually focus the attention of the tenant on existing problems.

final schedule of dilapidations will identify items of disrepair to be “made good” by the tenant; chiefly in order to protect the asset value to the landlord at the expiration of the lease. Where the tenant has not complied with his repairing obligations, the schedule can often form the basis of a financial claim by the landlord.

Acting on behalf on the tenant

Tenants are sometimes presented with very large dilapidations claims by their landlord at – or very near to – the expiry date of a lease. In such circumstances, the validity of the landlord’s claim should be investigated with specific reference a) to the specification and pricing of the works involved, b) the scope of repair obligations undertaken by the tenant, and c) to the loss in value of the reversion. When a claim is submitted in good time prior to the lease’s expiry, it is sometimes beneficial for the relevant repair works to be carried out (albeit less expensively) by the tenant.

Schedule of Condition

Schedule of Condition

If you acquire the lease of a business premises in the UK you may find that you have accepted a ‘repairing liability’. Depending on the wording of the relevant clause, this can mean that you have a duty to leave the property in a better condition than it was at the start of the lease if you don’t record accurately what the starting condition was.

To avoid this, many well advised business tenants are now documenting the condition of the premises before they acquire a lease while ensuring that the lease limits their liability by reference to a Schedule of Condition.

The reasoning behind this is that most business premises in the UK are let on what is called “Full Repairing and Insuring Leases”. This means that the tenant is liable for all the repairs required to keep and put the premises in good condition including such expensive repairs as the replacement of a roof covering, for example.

Avoiding Liability

To avoid the liability of putting the premises into a better condition than they were at the start of the lease, it is necessary to have a professionally prepared Schedule detailing the condition of all the elements of the accommodation and for the resulting schedule to be attached and referred to in the lease’s documentation. Even regarding the smallest of shops or stores, claims can run into tens of thousands of pounds. The cost of preparing a Schedule of Condition at the start of the lease is thus just a fraction of the costs of repairs for which the tenant may otherwise be liable.

Party Wall

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 can be a real headache for homeowners.

In principle, it provides a strong statutory framework to avoid disputes between neighbours in connection to excavations and works to boundary walls. The provisions of the act, however, are complex and many building owners and their neighbours have fallen foul of not adhering to the right sections at the right time.

About the Party Wall Act

The Party Wall Act can be split into two sections: ‘Notifying’ and ‘Disputes’:

Notifying – the Building Owner is legally obligated to serve notice on their adjoining owners if they are to begin works which qualify under the Act. The notice needs to outline the works proposed and, if the adjoining owner is satisfied that they will not materially affect them, they can simply agree in writing and the works may begin unhindered. Whilst a surveyor is not necessarily required at this stage, anyone who might trigger the Act is advised to have their notices issued by a Chartered Surveyor – to ensure nothing is omitted.

Disputes – quite often, however, neighbours do not agree at this early stage and are concerned by the impact the proposed works might have on them and / or their property. If they raise concerns, or don’t respond to the notice at all, then a Dispute has arisen.

If such a dispute arises, then both parties need to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor – who will ideally be a trained and experienced Chartered Surveyor (RICS). This surveyor can be the same person for both parties – termed an ‘agreed surveyor’. Whilst this may seem odd, Chartered Surveyors are bound by an ethical code of conduct and, under the Act, they are also duty bound to act impartially – so having only one surveyor involved can keep things fairly simple.

The appointed surveyor(s) will agree a route forward and encapsulate this in what is called a Party Wall Award, which is binding on both parties.

Our services under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996

For building owners:

  • Identifying neighbours who will require notices.
  • Serving notices under the Act.
  • Producing a schedule of condition before works begin, to avoid disputes over alleged damage caused by the works.
  • Preparing, negotiating and agreeing Party Wall Awards.

For adjoining owners:

  • Initially, we provide advice on your rights under the Act – whether you can stop the works going ahead or whether you could seek compensation.
  • We ensure all possible action is taken to limit the possibility of damage to your home or garden.
  • We can monitor the ongoing works to ensure no damage is done to your property.
  • We can act on your behalf in negotiating a Party Wall Award.

It’s also worth noting that fees for the adjoining owner’s surveyor are paid by the developer, so you have nothing to lose instructing a professional to assist you.

Expert Witness

Expert Witness Report

An expert witness, professional witness, judicial expert (or “skilled witness” in Scotland) is a witness, who by virtue of education, training, skill or experience, is believed to have sufficient expertise in a particular subject to advise the court. As such, they possess sufficient knowledge that others may officially and legally rely upon that witness’s specialised opinion about key evidence or facts at issue within the scope of his expertise. This is referred to as the “expert opinion” – an assistance to the fact-finder.

A surveyor’s primary duty in creating an expert witness report is not to a particular client, but to the tribunal. Our surveyor’s primary duty to that tribunal is to ensure that the expert evidence provided is, and must be seen to be, an independent and unbiased product, falling within their expertise, experience and knowledge. It must state the main facts and assumptions it is based upon, and not omit material facts that might be relevant to the conclusions.

We do not stray from the duties of an expert witness by acting in a partial, misleading or untruthful manner.