Commissioning a RICS Home Survey

What is a RICS Home Survey?

A RICS Home Survey is an in-depth inspection to assess a property’s condition and a description of any potential issues for you to consider before buying.

The survey assesses the property’s strengths and weaknesses, evaluating everything from structural integrity to the utilities, as well as identifying maintenance issues, risks, and areas that warrant further investigation.


A RICS Home Survey focuses on your interests and highlights good points as well as issues with the property.

Benefits of a RICS Home Survey

Home surveys will:

  • Identify potential structural issues;
  • Assess the condition of key components: chimneys, roofs, walls, interiors, and services, etc.;
  • Highlight potential hidden defects and risks;
  • Describe issues like damp, timber decay or pest infestations;
  • Recommend further specialist investigations where these are thought appropriate and necessary;
  • Provide you with a robust assessment of the property, identifying defects, their potential consequences, and risks.

Types of RICS Home Surveys

ECL Chartered Surveyors provide the following RICS home surveys:

  • RICS L3 Home Survey (equivalent) (formerly known as a ‘Building Survey’ or ‘Full Structural Survey’). A more detailed inspection and the most comprehensive survey, this analyses the property’s structure in detail. This is suitable for: older homes; those that have been refurbished or extensively altered or modified; those of non-standard construction, e.g., timber or steel framed properties; properties with evident defects; or those properties where you are planning extensive works or those properties where you are planning extensive works or refurbishment. You may also wish to commission a Level 3 report on a modern property as a ‘belt and braces’ approach.
  • RICS L2 Home Survey (without valuation) (formerly known as a ‘Home Buyer’ Report). This survey includes an interior and exterior inspection, highlighting any serious issues that require attention. It is only suitable for modern homes that have not been significantly altered or extended.

Understanding the Process of RICS Home Surveys

Here’s what to expect when confirming a RICS Home Survey with ECL Chartered Surveyors:

  • We will already have discussed with you by phone the most appropriate level of survey for the property you are buying;
  • You will receive our terms and conditions by email, which we ask you to read carefully, sign and return them to us to confirm your instruction;
  • We will contact the estate agent or seller and book the survey inspection;
  • As part of our survey preparation, we conduct desktop research of commonly available information about the property to inform our inspection;
  • We will visit the property and carry out a detailed assessment;
  • We offer an early verbal de-brief (with a shared album of relevant photographs) subject to conditions;
  • We will produce a report detailing our findings and recommendations for repairs or further investigations, usually between 7 and 10 working days following the survey;
  • You will receive the RICS home survey report by email link which allows you to download and easily share it with your advisors for review.

Key Elements Covered in RICS Home Surveys

We will assess the following:

  • Structural integrity assessment. This examines the building’s stability, inspecting for subsidence, uneven floors and cracks in the walls or ceilings that might hint at structural issues;
  • Roof and chimney inspection. The condition of the roof and chimney(s) are assessed. We look for signs of ageing/ weathering which might lead to dampness issues and cost risks, i.e., the need to re-roof or re-build a chimney stack.  If weather conditions and flight restricted areas allow, we will use our drone to gain aerial views of roofs and chimneys;
  • We will check for a comprehensive range of dampness issues, including penetrating dampness, rising dampness, condensation dampness and plumbing leaks;
  • Services inspection. We will give an opinion on the age and compliance of the heating and electrical systems.  However, we are not specialist engineers and often recommend further specialist inspection;
  • We will inspect visible components of the foul and stormwater drainage system where access allows and will recommend further specialist investigations if necessary;
  • We will comment on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating and other relevant sustainability matters.

Booking a RICS Home Survey

Contact: Matthew Hackling MRICS

M: 07555 483 090
T: 01367 248 933