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How much should I pay for a Survey?

Is that the first question you ask? Or are the questions:

  • what is the quality of the inspection?

  • what is the quality of the report content?

  • what is the liability of the Surveyor?

  • what is the experience of the Surveyor?

The last one is key, because that really influences the three before it and each will influence the fee.

Remember a Professional is not charging for the number of hours it takes them on the day : they are charging for the number of years it took them to gain the knowledge & understanding that enables them to do the job well.

The problem, that has always been around, is you would think (or hope) that one Surveyor's report is the same as the next. RICS has tried various ways over the years to create parity [equal reporting] but that has just not been the achievable reality.

Consider this : "all these cars in the photos are they same..." : well, yes, at one level they are

- they all have four wheels

- they all have an engine (I presume)

- they all have got the owner from 'A-to-B'.

Just as Surveys "being the same" is limited to the facts : they are undertaken by Surveyors, they are based on a visual inspection (I presume); and Clients are provided with a report.

But for both cars and surveyors, fundamentally

- they do not all perform the same; or

- offer you the same peace of mind; or

- are as reliable as each other.

Of course looks can be deceiving, so you have to really check what you are buying*.

What we are increasingly seeing within the world of Surveying firms is:

  • some other surveying firms have their surveyor(s) inspecting 2 or 3 houses a day - compared with visiting just 1 to 3 houses a week.

  • some other surveying firms use more standard wording and more caveats - compared with others tailoring the report to the level of detail the Client needs.

  • some other surveying firms are limiting their liability at 5 to 10 times the value of the fee (so with a lower fee, not only might the quality be suffering but the liability is less too (eg a limited liability when a fee is £500 at x 10 = £5,000, that being the most they say they will payout in the event of their mistake)) - compared to a "reasonable" level of cover of £250,000; £500,000 or more (that's 100 times more!).

In case you are wondering, we are definitely the second alternative in each of those.

Of course you should obtain quotes from 2 or 3 firms - BUT do Ask the RIGHT questions!

Ask for a Quote today for PBSC's Professional Surveying, with detailed reporting by an experienced Surveyor (me!), providing tailored reports with the information that you need, and with our 'Add-on' flexibility and options available.

* PS: I am making no statement about any one of those cars being better than the others, but the buildings behind do look more interesting to me!

Mark Pearce - Chartered Surveyor for about 25 years and Director for about 20 years.


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