Level 3 Building Survey

Regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

What is a Level 3 Building Survey?

The Level 3 Survey, also known as a Building Survey, or Structural Survey, is the most exhaustive survey available for prospective property buyers. It is highly suited for older properties, buildings of unique construction, or those in a visibly poor state of repair. The survey provides a thorough examination of both the visible and hidden aspects of the property. By commissioning a Level 3 Home Survey, you equip yourself with a detailed understanding of the property’s condition, thus aiding in more sophisticated decision-making, such as substantial renovation or refurbishment planning.

What's included in the Level 3 survey?

The RICS Level 3 Home Survey provides an exhaustive, detailed examination of the property. It encompasses all features of a Level 2 Survey, and additionally:

  • Offers an extensive evaluation of the property’s condition, identifying possible hidden problems.
  • Conducts an in-depth analysis of the building’s structural soundness, giving a complete view of its strength and stability.
  • Recommends options for renovations, refurbishments, or potential property conversions. Projects a timeline for anticipated maintenance and repair work.

The report is presented in a clear, detailed manner, possibly including photos, sketches, and specific suggestions for further specialist assessments. It delivers an all-encompassing insight into the property’s condition, using a precise rating system to highlight the importance and seriousness of any issues discovered.

What you’ll learn from your Level 3 Survey

Our RICS Level 3 Survey, conducted by a skilled surveyor, provides an in-depth exploration of the local area, common property types, and unique challenges that could arise. This equips you with a clear understanding of potential post-purchase investments.

The surveyor’s examination includes:

  • Checking the structural integrity of walls, floors, and roofs.
  • Assessing the condition of damp proofing, insulation, and drainage systems.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness and safety of electrical, gas, and plumbing installations.
  • Identifying concealed issues like wood rot or hidden damp spots.

The findings are organized using a standardised Condition Rating system, akin to the one in Level 2 Surveys, ensuring the results are easy to understand.

  • Condition rating 3 – Identifies critical defects requiring urgent repair, replacement, or immediate investigation.
  • Condition rating 2 – Highlights issues that require fixing or replacement but are not deemed urgent or severe.
  • Condition rating 1 – Indicates no present need for repairs.

Using a Level 3 Home Survey to Re-negotiate the Sale price

Much like the Level 2 Home Survey, the Level 3 can be a potent tool in the negotiation process, especially if it uncovers issues that were previously unknown. This is even more applicable when considering older or more complex properties that might require extensive work.

However, as with the Level 2, the extent to which you can renegotiate the price depends on the current market conditions. In a seller’s market, even a highly detailed Level 3 report might not give you much leverage. On the other hand, in a buyer’s market, the information gleaned from the survey can offer substantial room for negotiation.

By commissioning a Level 3 Home Survey, you not only gain peace of mind but also a powerful aid in making one of life’s most significant financial decisions.

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FAQ: Level 3 Home Survey

RICS Level 3 Home Surveys are the pinnacle of property inspections, offering an exhaustive, in-depth analysis of a property’s overall condition. Unlike Level 1 and Level 2 surveys, which offer a more cursory glance at the state of the property, Level 3 surveys delve into the very fabric of the building. They provide intricate details about the structure, potential defects, and even future maintenance requirements. If you’re looking for a comprehensive understanding of a property, a Level 3 survey is unparalleled.

Properties that are older, those that have been listed, or those with unconventional architectural features are best suited for a Level 3 survey. In addition, if a property has undergone extensive renovations or appears to be in poor condition, the Level 3 survey is invaluable for revealing hidden problems. Essentially, any property where there is a heightened risk of discovering significant issues should be evaluated with a Level 3 survey to minimise future financial risks.

A RICS Level 3 Home Survey is incredibly comprehensive. It covers every visible and accessible aspect of the property—from the roof down to the foundation. Unlike other types of surveys, Level 3 dives deep into areas such as structural issues, plumbing conditions, electrical systems, and insulation. It will also examine the property’s compliance with building regulations and could potentially unearth legal issues that might impact your purchase decision.

Indeed, a Level 3 survey has the potential to significantly impact property valuation. By uncovering issues that may require costly, immediate, or future repairs, it can offer a realistic view of the property’s worth. This could either fortify your decision to proceed with the purchase or give you the grounds to negotiate a more favourable deal.

Absolutely. The detailed findings generated by a Level 3 survey can serve as a critical negotiating tool. If substantial problems are found, you can either request the seller to fix them or negotiate a reduction in the property’s price to account for the required repair costs. This is particularly valuable in high-stakes property transactions where every detail matters.

A RICS Level 3 Survey goes above and beyond other survey types, covering an extensive range of areas. This includes evaluating the structural integrity, the condition of the roof, guttering, plumbing, electrical systems, and even issues like dampness and insulation quality. It’s essentially a full health check for your property, designed to leave no room for surprises after purchase.

Yes, structural concerns such as foundational cracks, signs of subsidence, and other forms of structural weakening are examined meticulously in a Level 3 survey. Such a survey aims to offer a comprehensive understanding of the structural integrity of the property, helping you to avoid any unexpected, costly repairs down the line.

Should a Level 3 survey unearth significant issues, the report will not only identify them but also offer detailed recommendations on the next steps. This may involve carrying out urgent repairs or even potentially withdrawing from the purchase altogether. This guidance allows you to evaluate your options fully and make a decision that is both financially and practically sound.

The time required for a Level 3 survey largely depends on the property’s size and the condition it’s in. Generally speaking, you could expect the process to take several hours up to a full day. This allows for a meticulous inspection that covers all bases and ensures that you receive a report that is as comprehensive as possible.

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More FAQ: Level 3 Home Survey

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is typically a separate service, but it can be a valuable addition to the findings of a Level 3 survey. It can give insights into the property’s energy efficiency, helping you understand how this will impact your future energy bills and the home’s environmental footprint.

While a Level 3 survey does include an examination of the property’s electrical systems to ensure they meet safety standards, it’s essential to note that it doesn’t substitute for a dedicated electrical survey. For a complete evaluation of the electrical systems, you would still need to consult a specialist electrical surveyor.

A RICS Level 3 Survey will usually cover the boiler’s general condition, but it’s not a substitute for a thorough boiler inspection conducted by a Gas Safe registered engineer. If concerns about the boiler’s condition arise from the Level 3 survey, a specialised boiler check is recommended.

Absolutely, damp and mould are among the common issues meticulously checked in a Level 3 survey. Such problems, often hidden and usually an indicator of other issues like poor ventilation or leaks, are thoroughly inspected to ensure that you are fully aware of the condition of the property you’re considering.

The optimal time to book a Level 3 survey is immediately after your offer is accepted on a property. This allows ample time to identify any potential issues before you finalise the purchase, thereby giving you the opportunity to renegotiate the price, request repairs, or even withdraw your offer, depending on the findings.

It’s crucial to ensure that the surveyor you choose for a Level 3 survey is RICS-qualified and has extensive experience with this type of comprehensive survey. Look for a surveyor who not only has the requisite credentials but also has a portfolio that demonstrates a strong track record in conducting Level 3 surveys.

While a mortgage valuation is primarily aimed at confirming the property’s market value for the benefit of the lender, a RICS Level 3 survey serves a different purpose. It gives you an exhaustive understanding of the property’s structural and aesthetic condition, arming you with the knowledge you need to make the most informed purchasing decision.

While a RICS Level 3 Home Survey is the most comprehensive inspection you can get, it’s worth noting that it does have its limitations. For instance, the survey can’t provide insight into areas that are inaccessible or concealed, such as under floorboards or within the walls. It also won’t replace specialised surveys, like those for electrical or gas safety. Moreover, the cost and time investment for a Level 3 survey is higher compared to other levels. Therefore, it’s crucial to weigh these factors carefully before opting for this type of survey.

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