At Peter Barry, we undertake valuations for a range of purposes. Taxation, accounting and the more unfortunate probate or divorce. All of our procedures and reports must conform to the RICS Valuation – Global Standards or ‘Red Book’.
The current COVID situation has caused huge disruption to every industry including the surveying world. The majority of our work involves the inspection of people’s homes and properties, so how can firms adapt and what is appropriate?
Whether an inspection for a valuation is deemed essential, whilst subjective to a degree, it is easy to conclude that very few if any inspections can be deemed essential.
The Government Advice on moving home provides the following advice:
“Surveyors should not expect to carry out non-urgent surveys in homes where people are in residence, and no inspections should take place if any person in the property is showing symptoms, self-isolating or being shielded.
It may be possible to carry out some of your work online and also carry out urgent surveys on empty properties, or those where the occupants are out of the property or following guidance to stay at home and away from others.”
This advice relates only to the housing market and would be applicable to pre-purchase surveys such as Homebuyer and Building Surveys.
On the other hand, workers are still going into offices where home working is not possible so there could be a justification for an inspection on the grounds that it simply is not possible to undertake the valuation remotely.
The previously mentioned Red Book, goes into significant detail on what is expected of a surveyor in terms of inspection requirements. This is ultimately summarised in that the extent of the inspection should be appropriate for the service that is being provided. If an inspection can be undertaken, there are limited reasons why the surveyor should proceed without one.
These however are not normal times and the scope to provide a service without an inspection have arguable widened. We have already moved to providing desktop studies for our Lease Extension and Freehold Enfranchisement work. Each case must be taken on its own merits but there is scope that with suitable and relevant information such as floorplans and photos supplied by clients for us to provide clients with the same desktop service for valuations.
We are all slowly getting used working from home, and the world will be a very different place once this is all over. Whereas previous reports would have been followed up by an email or phone call, why not schedule a conference call over Zoom or Teams?
Peter Barry are keen work with clients to provide innovative, creative and professional ways of working.
If you require a valuation and are unsure how to navigate through these uncertain times please call or email us and we will be more than happy to advise.