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  • What Do Surveyors Look for in a Condition Report?

    13th October 2017

    What Do Surveyors Look for in a Condition Report?

    Let’s start with what the survey will provide:

    • An inspection of the property
    • A report


    Why get a Level 1 Condition Report?

    • Highlights defects that need urgent attention or are hazardous to safety
    • Covers issues that need further investigation to prevent damage to the building


    The report will rate each part of the property using a traffic light system:

    • Condition rating 3 – serious defects needing urgent attention
    • Condition rating 2 – defects that aren’t serious but need repairing or replacing
    • Condition rating 1 – no repairs required
    • NI – not inspected


    Limitations to a Condition Report

    A condition report is designed to focus on smaller, new properties and so the inspection assumes there will be no hidden issues (such as wood rot) as this won’t have had the time to develop. Therefore it only looks at obvious visible defects. As such, it is not suitable for larger properties or houses over 5-10 years old. Remember, your surveyor can only inspect what is accessible to them and visible. They will usually state any limitations to their inspection so you know what they were unable to inspect.

    A condition report is unobtrusive meaning they will not lift floor coverings (e.g. carpets, floorboards), drill into walls or move heavy furniture.

    Your surveyor will inspect all the visible elements of the:

    • Roof structure – often just a quick head and shoulders check inside the loft hatch
    • Ceilings
    • Internal walls
    • Floors
    • Joinery (e.g. staircases)
    • Fireplace and chimney breasts
    • Roof and chimneys
    • External walls
    • Windows
    • Rainwater pipes/gutters
    • Garage
    • Outbuildings
    • Grounds
    • Drains – usually not inspected


    What equipment does my surveyor use?

    • Damp meter – test for any moisture readings around the property
    • Binoculars – to help get a better view of elevated areas of the property (e.g. roof/chimney)
    • Torch – to see into awkward spaces
    • Ladder – access roofs and internal hatches up to 3m from the ground


    Limitations to a Survey

    Services (e.g. gas, electrics etc) – These are often hidden within the walls and floors. Your surveyor can inspect the visual parts advising on the condition they appear to be in. Remember, your surveyor is like a GP – they can provide a general idea of the condition of these services from what they can see but they are not specialists and so will not conduct specialist tests or establish the efficiency of any services.


    Outside the property – Boundary walls or fences will be checked. This is important from a safety and maintenance perspective but also from a legal perspective. Unclear boundaries can cause issues at a later date. They will also look at permanent outbuildings and common areas that you may have to contribute funds to and/or require access through.

    A swimming pool counts as a permanent outbuilding but as with the services mentioned above, they are not specialists in this area and so cannot report on pool equipment and machinery.


    Flats – Communal areas such as stairs and hallways will be inspected as well as outside surfaces where accessible. Drains, alarms and lifts will also be checked for everyday operation but similar to services mentioned earlier, no specialist tests will be conducted.


    For a full breakdown including terms of engagement see:

    RICS Description of a Condition Report and Terms of Engagement 


    Compare the Condition Report to: