Services We Offer

It is important to be fully informed about the condition of a property and budget costs of repair before purchase. Pre-purchase building surveys are designed to provide the prospective buyer with as much detailed information as possible as to the property’s condition to allow a balanced judgement of the purchase price and its suitability before exchange of contracts. We usually recommend that a purchaser commissions an independent survey of the property since the valuation provided by the mortgage company or lender is not designed for this purpose.

There are various types of survey available, but in any case it is important to remember that they should be carried out by fully qualified professionals. Christopher White Associates are Chartered Building Surveyors; being fully qualified and long experienced in carrying out pre-purchase inspections and reports. These services offered are summarized as follows:

  • Full Condition Survey
  • RICS Homebuyers Report
  • Listed & Historic Buildings special report
  • New Build Snagging Survey
  • Specific Defect Report

The Full Condition Survey

This is the most thorough of the various types of building survey reports. It is applicable to almost all properties; large or small, old and new and provides our clients with a detailed breakdown of condition. Formally known as a ‘structural survey’ the building survey comprises a detailed inspection of a residential property and a comprehensive report on its current condition and future maintenance requirements. Budget costs can be provided on request to evaluate the feasibility and cost effectiveness of the purchase. The inspection and report can be ‘tailored’ to our clients’ needs particularly with any future plans in mind.

The inspection involves a close examination of all the internal and external components that go to make up a building including services such as hot and cold water installations and drainage. Checks for wood boring insect, dampness and dry rot are undertaken. Like any survey it is not always feasible nor normally practical to open up structures to examine finishes; for example wall linings or beneath fitted carpets. Nonetheless, with an experienced eye in building pathology, it is surprising how much is detected by symptoms of building defects.

The report is presented as a chronological list of the various parts that make up a building. Each section is thoroughly assessed and scrutinised as to its current condition and future wellbeing. Our reports are very thorough and; using plain English avoiding unhelpful technical jargon are renowned for being easily understood. Each report includes colour digital photographs detailing any problems found.

We also offer a quick turn around from instruction to receipt of the report usually 48 hours after the survey has been carried out. Whilst our prices are competitive; we cannot always guarantee to be the cheapest however; we do guarantee value for money and peace of mind when making that important decision of whether or not to continue with a purchase of a property.

The RICS Homebuyer Report

This is a new product that has been recently introduced to the profession by the RICS. It is a simple report in standard format that gives outline information about the property prior to purchase and has replaced the old Homebuyers Report & Valuation.

The new style report uses the now well known ‘traffic light’ system to show whether various parts of the building are good, bad or indifferent, but does not contain any detailed advice as to how to put right any problems. However; it is a worthwhile, basic survey for simple houses when considering purchase.

It requires an in depth inspection similar to other surveys, but the information provided within the report is limited. It is therefore somewhat cheaper than the Full Condition Survey and is only suitable for certain, straightforward types of housing. We normally recommend a Homebuyers Report is carried out on properties built since the 1930’s unless they are of non-traditional construction or have been extensively modernised or extended.

The RICS Homebuyers Report includes a market valuation and a reinstatement cost assessment for insurance purposes.

Please contact us for advice on whether this type of survey is suitable for the property you have in mind and we will guide you on which is best for you.

Listed and Historic Buildings

Over the years we have been fortunate to carry out surveys on many fine listed and historic buildings. As Chartered Building surveyors we find this type of property perhaps the most interesting, although they all have their charm and individuality. From this experience has developed the ‘Historic Building Survey’. This is similar in many ways to the full condition survey and has the same construction advice, recommendations for repair and support documentation. It is however aimed at those properties which carry special responsibilities because of their listed status. There are a number of special points which apply to listed buildings only. For example, works that have been carried out since listing that are inappropriate or do not have listed building consent will be indentified. Repair of these buildings also require special consideration and techniques to comply with Listed Building Legislation and we will help with guidance on how best to repair such buildings to prevent progressive deterioration.

When you buy a listed property you are buying something rather special and different to modern properties. There will be an element of craftsmanship, design and thought gone into the property and you will want some reassurance that the years have not had a detrimental effect. Your report written by an historic building specialist will give you all the information you need to make a balanced and informed decision on your proposed purchase.

Chris White has many years experience in dealing with historic buildings both in surveying them for prospective buyers and overseeing renovation works. This experience has been compounded with an RICS Post-Graduate qualification in ‘conservation of historic buildings’

New Build Snagging Survey

We provide a service to purchasers of newly constructed houses. This takes the form of a list detailing any outstanding works or finishes that are thought to be sub-standard or inappropriate. An independently compiled report such as this has been proved to be a useful tool when final negotiations with the selling contractor are taking place.

Specific Defect Report

This type of report is usually carried out on behalf of existing homeowners who discover or suspect a particular problem with their property. Typical cases include cracking in walls or floors, damp, condensation, leaks, dry or wet rot and poor or defective workmanship on a building project carried out at the property.

An inspection and assessment is carried out on the specific problem and a detailed report giving findings, conclusions and recommendations is provided. This type of work and report is often carried out as part of an insurance claim process.

CWA are highly experienced in providing advice and an assessment on defective building work. Whilst most contractors provide a good job, there are unfortunately still a small number that do not and as a result we are often called upon to provide an independent report detailing findings and recommendations to ‘put things right’. We have a very good record for negotiating out of court so reducing costs for our clients. See also Expert Witness.

Christopher White Associates
Northgate House, Plough Road, Great Bentley, Colchester, Essex, CO7 8LG
Tel : 01206 256483
Fax : 01206 256483
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