Surveys and Defects

Kingston Morehen can provide a range of options for surveys and valuations of residential properties to help you make an informed decision about buying.

All surveys have limitations and are generally visual inspections of the reasonably and safely accessible parts of a property.

Level 1 – Market Valuation

This consists of a limited inspection for the main purpose of collecting information about the attributes, condition and any significant defects and drawbacks to enable a Market Value to be given. This is NOT a survey and is similar to the level of inspection and reporting commonly undertaken by, or for, mortgage lenders. There can be defects present and works of maintenance and repair required, but if these do not have a material effect upon the value of the property they are not normally reported on.

Market Value is defined by the RICS Valuation – Professional Standards manual January 2014 as "The estimated amount for which an asset or liability should exchange on the valuation date between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction, after proper marketing and where the parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.".

Level 2 – HomeBuyer Survey (& Valuation)

This is a standard format of survey produced by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and provides a concise report that sets out the significant matters relating to a house or flat in an easy to follow way, prioritising issues according to their importance. The report can be suitable for a wide range of domestic properties, from 19th century to current day, of conventional construction and which appear in reasonable condition, and which have not been significantly altered or extended, or to which significant alteration, extension or refurbishment is not intended. It is not suitable for Listed Buildings.

The HomeBuyer service can be provided with or without a Valuation. The Valuation option includes both a Market Value and a Building Insurance Reinstatement Cost.

The HomeBuyer service is limited to advising on the condition and highlighting where repairs, further investigation or some other action might be necessary. It does not allow comment on proposed alteration or extension and does not give detailed advice on possible reasons for defects or options for works.

Level 3 – Building Survey

Once commonly known as a Structural Survey, this involves a more thorough inspection and provides a more detailed report on the condition and attributes of a property. Where defects are found, or the potential for defects or problems reasonably foreseeable, these are discussed and advice given accordingly.

A Building Survey can be provided for any house or bungalow, but is particularly suited to properties that are older, unusual, in poor condition, which have been substantially altered or extended, or to which significant alteration, extension or refurbishment is planned. A Building Survey is the only option in the case of a Listed Building.

Various optional services can be undertaken, including valuations and rebuilding cost assessments. The survey can be tailored to the individual requirements of the client.

More information about residential surveys is shown in the video below. 

Surveys of commercial and industrial property

We can provide surveys of commercial and industrial properties, which involve thorough, visual inspections and detailed reports on the condition of a property, together with other advice relating to the use, management and maintenance of the property, including comment on legal matters and health & safety issues.

Access plant and the assistance or involvement of contractors may be required depending on circumstances.

Depending on the nature and/or terms of a lease very often a Schedule of Condition is more suitable than a Building Survey or is worth having in addition to the survey report. Please contact us for advice.

Specific defect investigations

For owners or those responsible for property, or for prospective purchasers, we can undertake investigation into and report on specific defects or issues, for a wide range of matters. This commonly includes dampness or structural movement.

Investigations may entail a single visual inspection followed by a brief report and advice, or where an issue is more extensive or complicated can require testing, exposure works, multiple visits and assistance from contractors or other professionals.

Following on from a specific defects investigation, we can assist with specifying and administering remedial action.


New houses or flats often have unsatisfactory or incomplete work, known as “snags”. We can undertake an inspection to produce a snagging list for you to present to the developer or sales office, or can represent you directly in order to get matters resolved. Depending on the competence and diligence of the contractor, snagging items may be few or comprise a long-list, some of which a householder might typically be unaware of if they relate to regulatory or particularly technical issues, for example. In undertaking our inspection we might discover more serious defects, which require investigation or action prior to moving-in or accepting handover of the dwelling.