RICS Report vs Full Building Survey

A home is the most expensive property purchase most of us will ever make. The vast majority of property sales rely on a pre-purchase property survey to provide essential information on the condition of the property in question. But with many different types of survey on offer, which is the right one for you? Should you get a RICS HomeBuyer Report or a full building survey?

Peter Barry Surveyors have many years’ experience in all aspects of residential property surveying. We are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Our specialist surveying team undertakes numerous RICS HomeBuyer Reports and full Building Surveys every week and can provide professional advice on all surveying requirements.

What is a RICS HomeBuyer Report?

The RICS HomeBuyer Report is a medium level survey, which we would recommend for flats and modern houses. It is a cost effective method of minimising risk by giving the buyer sufficient information to make a reasoned and informed decision regarding the property purchase.

The report is based on an in-depth visual inspection of the property and follows a set format designed by the RICS, aimed at clearly distinguishing the defects and issues noted during the Surveyor’s inspection.

This is done by rating each defect via a traffic light system:

Condition Rating 1 (Green)         Confirmation that no action is needed and that the item should be maintained as normal.


Condition Rating 2 (Amber)        Confirmation that the defect needs repairing or replacing, though not with any great urgency.


Condition Rating 3 (Red)              Confirmation that urgent repair or replacement is necessary. Typically, this will be accompanied by comments recommending further specialist investigation.

Most reports will contain a mixture of the above ratings, but it is the Condition 3 Ratings that should be of greatest concern to the buyer. For instance, if the report recommended urgent repair or replacement of the roof covering, costs for an average size house could be in the region of £5,000 or more. This could have a substantial impact on the sale price, and the buyer may wish to reduce their offer accordingly. In this way, a Building Survey can actually save you money.

Property valuation

A RICS HomeBuyer Report can also include a market valuation of the property, typically determined by way of comparative research methods and the cost of reinstatement.

The Surveyor will visually inspect the property noting its age, type, construction and other characteristics. The findings will be compared to similar transacted sales properties and the figures adjusted until a considered and reasoned opinion of the market value has been arrived at.

A reinstatement valuation confirms the total rebuilding cost of the property. This will typically be for the benefit of obtaining adequate home insurance for the property.

When do you need a full Building Survey?

A full building survey is a high level survey. It is similar in content to the RICS HomeBuyer Report while providing a far more detailed analysis of the findings. It is highly recommended for flats or houses that require a lot of work, and particularly for larger and older properties. A full Building survey will not only describe visible defects but also consider potential issues caused by hidden flaws.

The benefit of a full Building Survey is the detail that the report will go into when discussing a particular defect. As a general rule, where a defect is noted, the report will provide an in-depth analysis of the defect itself and its likely causes. It will then explain the possible solutions for rectification, giving the buyer a comprehensive understanding of the issue as well as the steps needed to find a solution. Realistic cost estimates can also be provided by the surveyor if required.

With a full Building Survey, a market valuation and reinstatement valuation are not offered as standard, but can be included if discussed with the Surveyor in advance.

Peter Barry Surveyors

If you have any particular concerns about a property you are planning to buy, Peter Barry Surveyors can carry out a RICS HomeBuyer Report or full Building Survey to put your mind at ease. With over 10 years’ surveying experience in and around London, our expert multidisciplinary team can provide comprehensive reports and in-depth analyses on the condition of any type of property. We are happy to advise on the best type of survey for your particular situation.

Once our report has been completed and you’ve had time to digest its recommendations, we encourage our clients to get in touch to discuss the findings with us direct. This will give you the opportunity to ask further questions as they arise. It will also give us the chance to get to know you better so we can provide the best possible customer service, now and in any future dealings.

Contact Us

At Peter Barry Surveyors, you can be assured of the highest quality of surveying expertise. Being RICS regulated means that we must follow strict rules of conduct and be fully insured to protect our clients’ interests. Our surveyors regularly update their professional skills and knowledge, meaning we are able to offer the highest quality service at all times.

Whether you choose to commission a RICS HomeBuyer Report or a full Building Survey, the team at Peter Barry Surveyors is looking forward to discussing your surveying requirements with you. Please contact 020 7183 2578 or send us a short message here.


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