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A Guide To RICS Chartered Surveyors For Property Surveys

Buying a property can be a stressful process, where there is lots of administrative baggage that comes with this kind of serious investment. Estate agent fees and the cost of removals all pile on top of a building’s asking price, whether you’re looking to move house or you’re finding new workplace premises for your business.

Things can go from bad to worse however if you overlook the importance of a property survey. Professional surveyors spend their time inspecting properties so you don’t have to, where they will investigate potential structural issues, boundary disputes or environmental concerns, all of which will be gathered together in a detailed report. You can then use this information to re-negotiate your asking price or to pull out of a sale altogether.

Read on to find out more about RICS chartered surveyors and the work they undertake, with a look at the meaning behind this prestigious accreditation.

What Is RICS Accreditation?

RICS accreditation is a professional award bestowed on surveyors who have undertaken a rigorous level of training. They need to have passed all official examinations and put into practice what they have learned by carrying out detailed and impartial property surveys.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) ensures that surveyors are regulated and are offering a consistent, competent professional service. In recent years, residential surveyors have had to meet the RICS Home Survey standard. This means that surveys must investigate potential risks to occupants, legal issues and energy concerns, all of which should be contained in a detailed report.

Professional surveyors can receive this accreditation for their business, or it can be used to distinguish reputable academic courses. For customers, RICS accreditation is a marker of trustworthiness, which is particularly important when it comes to making a major financial investment in a property. 

As such, most companies that hold this kind of accreditation will advertise as such on their website, where this kind of clear declaration makes it easier for prospective buyers to find a surveyor they can depend on.

A graphic consisting of the RICS logo

What Does A Chartered Surveyor Do?

The role of a chartered surveyor is wide ranging, where they can consult on various issues relating to buildings and properties. They can work for residential, commercial and industrial clients, where some surveyors will undergo additional training in order to pursue an industry specialism.

In general, surveyors will value a property and undertake structural surveys, where they can also provide expert consultancy services relating to construction, engineering, legal matters or environmental issues.

For prospective buyers, it is always recommended to choose a chartered RICS surveyor compared to an unaccredited surveyor. This is because the chartered standard guarantees a specific level of expertise, thoroughness and impartiality, where you can also expect to receive thorough and professional documentation once the survey is completed.

Understanding Property Surveys

A property survey is an inspection of a home, workplace or unoccupied building that is generally used to determine the value of the property, and whether any repairs are required. This is especially useful for buyers looking to invest in a property who wish to check that the asking price is suitable, or who would like to be aware of any hidden defects going forward.

Despite their importance, research undertaken by insurance firm Churchill has revealed that only around 25% of UK homeowners choose to purchase a property survey before buying a house. This leaves many exposed to unexpected costs that may be uncovered once they have already moved into their new property.

Simple home outline containing the text 'only 25% proceed with a survey'

A surveyor will investigate specific aspects of the property, where their focus will vary depending on the type of survey that has been requested. Some are more generalised, whilst property surveys can also be targeted at a particular issue, especially if something has been uncovered during a previous investigation.

Some key areas that are often considered by a surveyor include:

Boundaries & Access

An important part of a property is its boundaries, where these dictate what is actually owned by the buyer. These could be disputed or historically changeable, where all these details need to be collated. Similarly, a surveyor will take note of various access routes onto the property and any issues with these. If there are any problems, the survey may include potential legal recommendations for how to proceed.

Structural Condition

Property surveys generally cover the structural condition of a property, where this involves an inspection of supporting beams and load bearing walls to ensure that everything is in good working order. Loose roof tiles, leaks or clogged chimneys could be included in the report, where the surveyor will also be on the lookout for signs of damp, wood rot and infestations. All of these issues can be costly to repair.


A property survey may also involve locating and mapping the whereabouts of various utilities that are situated near or within the building. Local sewer, water or gas lines will all be noted, where these could impact the property if they are poorly maintained or liable to faults. Some surveyors will also take note of the efficiency rating of key utilities and appliances within the property itself, where this can have a big impact on energy bills for buyers.

Repairs & Improvements

Surveyors will take note of any substantial repairs that have been made to the property, and the quality that these are currently in. They may investigate the level of accreditation held by the building teams that completed these repairs, where shoddy workmanship could indicate future structural problems with the property. Improvements to the building, such as an extension or the installation of a boundary fence, will also be checked to ensure that appropriate permissions have been obtained.


An in depth property survey will also include an overview of the surrounding natural landscape, where this can have an impact on the stability and safety of the building. Flood risks or erosion issues will be identified at this stage, which could impact insurance cover and other costs. Any overhanging trees or potentially destructive plant roots will also be noted as part of the report.

Once these areas have been thoroughly investigated, the surveyor will put together a detailed report to summarise their findings. This may also include essential advice and information on how best to resolve any discovered issues, which can allow buyers to estimate repair costs and timelines going forward.

A graphic consisting of a survey focus points including topography, structured condition, boundaries and access, repairs and improvement and utilities.

Viking Surveyors: Professional & Impartial Building Surveys 

As fully accredited RICS surveyors, we offer a range of invaluable services to help you to make a well informed decision about your property. We strive to produce detailed reports without an over reliance on industry jargon, so you can fully comprehend our findings in order to proceed with confidence. 

In addition to this, we understand that time can be limited when it comes to buying a property, which is why we pride ourselves on producing our reports without unnecessary delays. Our RICS regulated surveyors can also contribute their own local knowledge to their assessments, so you can ensure that we’re making an informed judgement on your property.

Our team currently offer RICS Level 3 Building Surveys, Red Book valuations and Homebuyer Survey reports, all of which are carried out to our high industry standards. So get in touch with us today to find out more about which survey is right for you.

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