What to ask for in a survey - Part 4 - Details and Information

Having established the use, type and format of the survey, lastly make sure to give your surveyor as much available information as possible to quote with.

Vague requests for surveys where only a postcode is provided may lead to a larger cost as the surveyor adds in contingency for factors such as an unknown number of floors, accessibility issues, and assumed size/layout.

By providing example floor plans (even if roughly sketched), a listing from a property website, photographs, or arranging a site visit, the surveyor can tailor the order to you specifically.

Access is also important – is the site restricted or locked? Does the surveyor require a chaperone or need a site induction?

Is your property an HMO with several tenants? Has access to these individual tenant rooms been pre-organised?

This information is critical in arranging access and may spread the survey over several days.

Be sure to work with the surveyor and tenants, making them aware of the survey and access schedule.

There is little worse for a surveyor than arriving and being turned away from the site by tenants unaware of the survey or inadequate notice, and clients are obligated in most contracts to pay for return visits and expenses associated with this.

It is also easy to overlook, but is the site/property in a surveyable state? For a topographical survey, the site should be maintained (or at least cleared recently), and any obstructions to access such as livestock should be moved or dealt with.

In residential properties, a quick declutter and tidy-up makes a huge difference and allows a clear path.

Other considerations worth making could be:

  • Are there tidal or seasonal restrictions if the property is near a large water mass?
  • Do you have any existing datum to tie into?
  • Do you need the survey undertaken after hours?
  • Is the property a working building site, or a school requiring CRB checks?
  • Is there asbestos or an asbestos report for the site? This may be compulsory ahead of undertaking a survey should the property be commercial, multi-residential or retail.

Surveyors by nature are dynamic and want to get the job done as efficiently as possible, so any information to help them on the day is always welcomed.

Having now covered all 4 parts – you should now be aware of the use, type, format and information required, and be ready to instruct your survey with confidence.

As daunting as it may seem, the survey is the foundation for any project and becomes the underlying canvas for design and future works to build from, so it is worth getting it right from the start.

Surveyors, in general, are approachable people and a chat on the phone or a quick email to answer any queries is a good place to start.

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