The New RICS Home Survey Standards
Produced by : Christopher Lewis Bsc (Hons) Building Surveying, Graduate Surveyor at DEESURVEYS Ltd
It is an exciting and busy time in the world of surveying with the stamp duty holiday still in effect and business for residential surveys booming as a result. On top of that this year the RICS has introduced their new RICS Home Standard Reports which began in March of this year with a transition period from the old to the new to end on August the 31st. They are intended to increase consistency, transparency and competence across the UK’s residential surveying market which will help to grow understanding and confidence of the services provided by Britain’s surveying industry.
The changes originate as a result of research by a group put together by the RICS in 2018 to look at the entire home survey guidance suite. Through their research they determined that the service and standards of home survey practitioners was not consistent and that there was no mandatory guidance on home surveys. This along with a general lack of knowledge or understanding of the types of surveys available by consumers needed addressing and this led to the new system.
The simplest and most obvious difference now is that the old titles to describe the various types of residential property survey that an RICS chartered surveyor might issue (the most recognisable being the Residential Building Survey, the RICS Homebuyer Report and the RICS condition report) have been replaced. Now there is a levelled system which will allow a client to better understand the depth to which a survey will go. There are three new levels with the extent of investigations and the depth of the report becoming greater as the level increases.
At level one (the former RICS Condition Report) the survey will provide a basic overview of the condition of a property. It is best used for modern properties built via conventional means.
The new level 2 surveys act as a replacement for the RICS Home Buyer Report. This level of survey is intended for use to determine the general condition of the property and where required its price (the new level 2 survey comes in two varieties, one with a valuation and one without). Level 2 surveys cover a broader range of buildings and building types than the level 1 survey but they are unlikely to suit use on surveys for older (built before the 1850s) or unique buildings or those in a neglected condition.
Level 3 surveys are the most detailed assessments under the new system. They endeavour to provide assessment on all elements of a property and an assessment of defects including their scope, timescale for repair and cost. Where possible the advice is intended to be of such a level that further investigations should not be required, but if the Surveyor is not able to come to sufficient conclusions on a fault, then further investigations will still be advised. Unlike the level 2 survey, a level 3 survey would see most use on properties in a poor condition, of unique design or of a significant age (pre – 1850s).
The new levelled system for Home Surveys remedy many of the problems identified as a result of the 2018 research group’s findings. The new reports demonstrate a growth in the Surveying sector that prioritises the customer and their understanding of the service provided by Surveyors. Through this new system the RICS has demonstrated commitment to high standards and a drive to improve the services of Surveyors everywhere going forward into the future.
For more information on these new surveys please follow the link below: