How long does a building survey or homebuyer report take?

One of the most common questions we are asked is: “How long does a building survey or Homebuyer report take?”

The answer is usually: “It depends.” It can take anything from 1.5 to 6 or more hours, depending on the property, then our report is usually back to you within five working dates, quicker if you have an urgent requirement.

The time taken always varies based on the size and type of the house, the age of the property, the type and manner of construction, the extent and nature of the defects we may find, whether is occupied, the extent of furnishings and carpets, if it’s raining and we have to keep nipping in and out between showers, and whether the vendor makes us cups of tea or not too!

How long does a survey take? - depends if we stop for tea!

If we are surveying and inspecting a typical three-bedroomed, semi-detached property, with an extension or conservatory, typically furnished and with no particularly awkward defects, on a nice day, we would expect to be on site for at least two and a half to three hours to carry out a building survey.

On the other hand, a full survey of a five-bedroom, detached house in dilapidated order may well take six or more hours (and we recently spent two days on one of these).

At the other end of the scale a recently built, one-bedroom starter home may only take an hour and half.

A Level 2 HomeSurvey Report needs less inspection time. We would expect to spend no less than an hour and a half on a three-bed semi in good condition. For a tiny studio flat it might take an hour; and we would spend no time at all on a chunk of country house because the Homebuyer Report is not a suitable product for a property of this type.

How much research do you do for a house survey?

For a full building survey, desktop research might include, old maps, local authority consents, certificates, EPC details, plans, online histories and photos. In fact, not a lot different to investigating your own home.

How long before I get my building survey report back?

Once we’ve undertaken the site survey, we return to the office to write our report. A typical building survey runs to around 15,000 words or more (but you want quality not quantity!), needs a couple of hours to dictate, and the same to transcribe. It then needs to be checked and illustrated. We always try and get reports back within five working days, but can do quicker if needed to keep your deal on course.

If you have had a HomeSurvey Report, the report is shorter and covers issues in less depth, so this can often be sent more quickly.

You can see samples of our reports here: Examples of reports.

For more information about our home surveys and defect reports, or to request a quote, get in touch with us via the form below.

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Collier Stevens – Chartered Building Surveyors in London and Kent – Regulated by RICS