The Types of Building Surveys

Surveys play an essential role in the construction industry and the larger real estate market. They are used by businesses and individuals alike to gain a greater understanding of the building they are using or are thinking about buying, so that informed decisions can be made regarding the value of the building, but they serve a number of other purposes too:

A survey of the structure of a building could help to determine how resistant it is to any damage, which if you’ve got insurance which covers certain types of damage then such a survey could have an impact on the price of insurance. This survey on the structure of a building can find numerous things which, as an owner, you would want to know, such as what types of development are possible.

A roof survey is a common type of survey performed by the construction industry because roofs are very important. As they cover the building and are the main defence against moisture (which can cause significant damage to wiring, building materials, and create a breeding ground for fungi and their spores), being able to detect issues with the roofing system before they become significant issues is very important.

Both of these types of building surveys study an existing structure for faults and other useful bits of information that a property owner or prospective buyer of a property would need to know, but there is also a whole other world of surveys which are required to determine where and how you can build:

For instance, if you’ve recently acquired a plot of land then you will need to start first of all with a geological survey, particularly for large construction projects. What this can determine is a number of things which are definitely need to know, such as what type of rock you’re building on, the amount of ground water that is in the area and what amount of erosion can be expected based upon that knowledge. These are important and absolutely necessary for you to avoid wasting money on construction techniques which are unsuitable for the ground your developing on, although if you’ve got a reasonable expectation of the quality of the ground (such as if it is an existing urban or suburban environment), or are willing to lose a butt-load of money then you won’t need to do this type of survey.

Unfortunately, a lot of these surveys are pretty expensive to do. A roof survey can cost thousands and even more depending upon the type of technology being used. A structural survey can be cheap or it can be expensive as well, depending upon whether or not there is a need to explore further, which may mean causing damage to some of the superficial elements of the building (like plastering), so that the building can be examined in closer detail. A geological survey is very expensive, with a variety of expensive tools required to get the necessary information in addition to the expensive exploration needed as well. While all of these aren’t necessary for a simple home (except for a basic survey prior to an extension), it is worth bearing in mind that they are ultimately cost saving measures.