Are you looking for a structural survey in London? If you’re thinking of purchasing a property, you might consider having its condition assessed by an RICS Chartered Surveyor, who can provide a detailed report of defects, potential problems and the home’s overall condition. This is what’s still commonly known as either a building survey or a structural survey, but those terms refer to two separate things.
In this article, we’ll detail what a structural survey is before explaining how it differs from a building survey, which is usually the most suitable and cost-effective option if you’re looking to buy property. We’ll also help you decide which survey is right for your particular situation.


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Full structural survey sample

Full structural survey sample


What’s the difference between a Structural Survey and a Building Survey?


While a Structural Survey specifically assesses a property’s structural integrity, a building survey report details urgent repairs as well as defects that may require attention. Chartered Surveyors conduct a thorough visual inspection of all the property’s accessible areas, and reports can provide information such as overall repair cost-estimates, future maintenance requirements and issues that may become serious.

When performing a Building Survey, Chartered Surveyors inspect for defects including:

  • Timber defects

  • Areas of movement

  • Dampness

  • Doors

  • Windows

  • Insulation

  • Condensation

  • Roof structure

  • External walls

  • Utilities (surveyors usually aren’t qualified to perform gas and electric safety checks)

There are two popular types of building survey: the Building Survey and the RICS HomeBuyer Report. The RICS HomeBuyer Report Survey is the least expensive and most basic of the two options. Most Chartered Surveyors recommend investing in the more comprehensive Building Survey.

Snagging lists are similar to building surveys in that they identify property defects, but specifically in new-builds. You can use a snagging list to force your developer or builder to rectify issues they’re responsible for before you complete your purchase, which is why it differs from a standard Building Survey.

An RICS HomeBuyer Report Survey (Level 2) costs £600 upwards and a Full Building Survey (Level 3) starting at £750, depending on the size and price of the property. Which is why – financially speaking – they’re often the best option for gauging a home’s overall condition. You can use building surveys to negotiate a lower price by highlighting defects.


Which Survey should I buy?


Given that each survey differs in price and purpose – and the fact that London property is a huge investment – it’s important to spend your money wisely on the right report survey level for your needs. Here are some tips on choosing the right survey for your situation:

  • Structural Surveys

A Structural Survey only assesses the strength and durability of a structure, which is usually required for renovations and extensions. You don’t usually need to invest in a structural survey unless you believe the stability of the property could be a safety concern, which is information the more affordable building surveys provide. A Chartered Surveyor would likely recommend hiring a structural surveyor if they uncovered potential structural safety issues. For a Structural Survey, the estimated cost is anywhere from £8,000 upwards.

If you’re looking to purchase a home, you probably need a Full Building Survey. A Chartered Surveyor can usually complete surveys within a day, and they’ll gladly explain all their findings as well as provide you with a detailed report with photos. By highlighting any potential issues with a survey, you can avoid making a bad investment, anticipate future costs and negotiate a better asking price.

If you’re looking at a new property (younger than 50 years) that’s barely been modified and appears to have been well-maintained, the RICS HomeBuyer Report may be the most suitable survey for you. You may not get to find out how much the repairs are likely to cost, but you can make sure that the property is safe for you and the family.

Some studies suggest that the average new-build hides between 50 and 150 defects, so if you want to be sure you’re investing in a near-perfect condition property, you might want to get a snagging list. Click here for more information about snagging lists.

Need more advice on surveys?

Our Chartered Surveyors can offer honest and impartial advice over the phone or via our online chat service, so if you want to discuss your needs with an industry expert, don’t hesitate to get in touch on 020 3598 6730



What is a Structural Survey?


Nowadays, the term structural survey isn’t used by RICS Chartered Surveyors anymore because it doesn’t accurately reflect what a proper building survey is. However, because building surveys were once widely known as  structural surveys, many people think they need a structural survey when they actually require a building survey.

A structural survey specifically reports on the structural strength and durability of a building or structure. These reports are rarely necessary for assessing the safety of new builds or even old residential properties, unless you or your Chartered Surveyor have real concerns about the structural stability of the home you’re thinking of buying.

Structural reports are, however, sometimes required to obtain building control approval. Chartered engineers can also provide calculations and structural drawings for projects such as:

  • Altering or removing walls

  • Demolishing a chimney breast

  • Extensions

  • Loft and cellar conversions

  • Solar panel installations

  • Underpinning floors

Compare Surveys
Juriana Spierenburg
13:34 02 Jul 21
Very good communication and fast turnaround! I highly appreciated their service.
Alex Durbidge
13:09 10 Jun 21
Professional, helpful, friendly, prompt, value-for-money. I cannot speak highly enough of their thoroughly excellent and efficient service - in particular I really commend Kate's quick and friendly service (I always heard back same day on any query), and Jason's thorough but clear survey (he also phoned me to talk through report as well as submitting formal in writing).
Umar Manzoor
03:11 02 Jun 21
A very helpful, competent and customer-oriented team. Thank you for a great job.
Ilian Walker
08:28 24 May 21
timely & friendly service. thank you
Vishal -
12:20 23 Apr 21
We received a a very detailed and informative survey report and were very happy with the service provided by the friendly and knowledgeable team!
Sara Thomas
09:07 19 Jan 21
The homebuyer's report carried out by Harding Chartered Surveyors was clear informative and timely. The level of detail was just what I needed in order to appreciate what the property needed doing and to help me with my decision to proceed with the purchase process.
Aimee Glensor
19:09 08 Jan 21
Really helpful, made the process easy and really efficient service even though it was over the holiday period. Would def recommend / use again
Claudio Mascolo
18:24 30 Nov 20
Kate is very responsive and also took time to advise me on the phone at the very beginning. Scott Ingham did our report. It was thorough and informative. Felt in safe professional hands throughout.
John Simmons
15:53 29 Oct 20
Martina Glaser
17:56 28 Oct 20
Scott completed a survey for me on a flat purchase and both he and Kate were great - very quick to respond, knowledgeable, thorough and happy to address any additional questions I had. Would definitely recommend and use them again.
Bene Walters
10:47 05 Oct 20
I requested Harding to provide a valuation for a lease extension. Albert Wellington was in charge of my property and he was extremely professional and helpful in addressing all my concerns. I would recommend him and the company with no hesitation.
Claire Brown
14:17 19 Aug 20
A very efficient, timely and thorough service for us, as we go through the house buying process. I'd definitely use them again.
Nicholas R.
10:05 23 Jul 20
Very satisfied with service. Report was delivered promptly and provided the information we needed.
Richard Denison Gay
14:49 02 Jun 20
Excellent service; professional, helpful, communicative and courteous as well as relatively quick. I would highly recommend.
Marianna Ciampa
14:25 30 Jan 20
Very efficient and professional. I had my survey few months ago before buying my house and I am still following the advice from the survey to fix and repair what needed. I dealt with Scott Ingham and I think he worked very accurately and checked everything very carefully. Highly recommended.
Amel Ahmed
16:15 13 Nov 19
Needed a valuation for a property purchase and can honestly say the service was 1st class from start to finish. Queries were dealt with promptly and followed up via telephone to make sure I was happy with the responses.The team are extremely knowledgeable.Thank you Kate, Albert, David and the rest of the team I will definitely use the company again.
Millie Jones
16:07 30 Oct 19
Harding's were great - very responsive, gave a very clear and detailed report and were happy to run through their comments with me over the phone.
Emma Goldschmidt
16:21 01 Oct 19
Brilliant thorough service!
Jennifer Smith
11:12 30 Aug 19
Harry Coaker
09:46 22 Aug 19
Dealt with James Brook, very efficient and professional, James had the report sent out to us within 24hrs. would highly recommend.
Karen Royal
21:33 14 Aug 19
David Good
10:34 20 Jul 19
Harding Chartered Surveyors are a very professional business who handled a challenging task for us with ease. I highly recommend them and will be using their services again.
Karen Ng
22:30 01 Jul 19
Very efficient service and very detailed report. We are very satisfied.
Lily Kwong
10:38 24 Jun 19
Really quick turn around and professional service.
Sue Hodgkins
16:42 20 Jun 19
Neill Ghosh
14:22 11 Jun 19
Have used for years and always been very happy. Competitive on service and always good on deadlines and quality. Recommended.
tom binks
17:56 09 Apr 19
Kevin Loughlin
20:27 28 Mar 19
The surveyor turned up on time as planned to survey the roof, both inside and out, then was happy to discuss it all with us afterwards. Bit tricky in high winds. Report arrived 2 days later, just what we needed. Professional and thorough. Recommended.
Jon Brennan
09:44 01 Mar 19
Quick, responsive and very thorough. Would definitely recommend Hardings to others, and will come back to them the next time I need a survey completed.
Abi and Andy La Fontaine
20:57 20 Feb 19
Quick, efficient and excellent service. Came as a recommendation from a friend and we’d happily recommend too.
Bradley Roth
01:56 16 Feb 19
Giulio Pepe
16:25 16 Dec 18
Thorough and professional surveyors. Very happy with their service. Highly recommended.
Margaret Rowley
16:09 03 Dec 18
Simon Wilson
15:54 10 Nov 18
Good, thorough, and promptly scheduled homebuyer survey in Fulham. The surveyor called me and explained everything clearly.
Daniel Vernazza
10:41 29 Apr 18
I highly recommend David. Very good technical knowledge. He was always available for our questions, which included a detailed call on the same day as the survey. The written survey report was clear, detailed and included pictures and estimates of the cost of repairs.
James Palairet
11:16 09 Jan 18
David gave us a fantastic service and has been a huge help during our property purchase process. We have had 2 surveys carried out, both of which were arranged very promptly. Thorough and extremely useful telephone calls and full written reports were received shortly afterwards. David's reports and advice have been invaluable to us.
Sarah Dixon
14:13 08 Jan 18
I have worked with David and his team as a buying agent for many years now. The service they offer is an excellent one, timely with a commonsensical approach. I would recommend them to anyone.
William Sharples
08:57 05 Oct 17
James provided a very professional and thorough service, highly recommended.
Elif Erdine
14:30 04 Oct 17
Very experienced firm and friendly staff. Highly recommended.
Structural Survey London