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Building Surveys

When buying a property, it will more than likely be one of the biggest investments you will ever make. A building survey will highlight any areas of structural concern, defects and / or repair works that are required, which will allow you to make a well informed decision on the property prior to purchase.

Building surveys can be construed as being an additional expense, but it should be highlighted that a building survey could save you money by providing scope for negotiation on the asking price.

At S P J Simmonds Consulting Ltd we can carry out a variety of building surveys on both residential and commercial properties. We approach every survey on an individual basis, in accordance with your specific needs and requirements.  Our reports provide our clients with clear and comprehensive advice, which are provided in plain, easy to understand English.

Our surveys are broken down into a number of sections to allow easy reading and understanding. The reports will include the client details, description and location of the property, an introduction, the main body of the report broken down into further elemental sections, a summary, the recommendations and a break down of costs.

The following range of surveys show what are offered and carried out by S P J Simmonds Consulting Ltd, which require a high level of technical expertise.

full building / structural surveys

This survey provides you with a comprehensive and detailed report that involves  both external and internal inspection in great depth. The survey will be carried out inspecting everything that is visible and safely accessible using a three metre ladder.

 The survey will consist of an appraisal on the type of construction and materials used, together with the identification and analysis of any major or minor defects such as structural movement / damage, timber decay, damp etc, which are provided with details of appropriate further action. Additionally, maintenance issues, general disrepair and the design of the building are also examined and commented upon.

The survey includes advice and guidance on the repairs required and their associated costs to help with budgeting following acquisition.

Typically the survey comprises of an external inspection on the walls, windows, doors, roof, chimneys, parapets, garages and outbuildings together with the grounds and boundaries. The internal inspection covers the floors, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, sanitary goods and decoration. General comments can be made on the mains services, but detailed assessments and reports can only be made by specialists, such as Gas Safe registered heating engineers and appropriately qualified electricians.

partial building / structural surveys

S P J Simmonds Consulting Ltd are also able to carry out partial surveys, which can be either of the following;

  • the inspection of the structure only

This survey includes the assessment on the condition of the main structural elements of a property, which is usually for clients who only require a report on the main structure without wanting the in depth detail provided within a full building survey.

  • the inspection of a certain part / area of a building

It may be that a property has been extended or altered structurally, and you only need a survey reporting on that area of the building.

These surveys include an appraisal on the type of construction and materials used, together with the identification and analysis of any major or minor defects, maintenance issues and general disrepair of the main structural elements, which are provided with details of appropriate further action.

These surveys include advice and guidance on the repairs required and their associated costs to help with budgeting following acquisition.

The above surveys comprise of an external inspection on the walls, roof, chimneys and parapets. The internal inspection covers the floors, walls and ceilings.

defect / diagnostic surveys

This survey involves the inspection of a specific fault / defect within a building. S P J Simmonds Consulting Ltd specialise in examining, analysing and reporting on individual problems, which may include exploration works that can be intrusive or non-intrusive.

The report will highlight in detail what the defect is, what the cause of the defect is and what further action is required, which will include advice on the remedial works and their associated costs.

We have carried out numerous defect / diagnostic surveys on various problems, which typically consist of the following;

  • foundation movement / defects
  • structural defects (such as failed lintels, beams, roof structures etc)
  • wall tie failure and masonry defects
  • beetle infestation and fungal attack
  • damp (rising / penetrating)
  • condensation problems
  • sub standard work (design or construction)

reinstatement cost assessments (rca)

Reinstatement cost assessments are produced for insurance purposes, which outline the re-build cost of a building, so that your property can be accurately insured, allowing you not to over insure or under insure your property.  

At S P J Simmonds Consulting Ltd we are able to provide you with an accurate assessment that will be produced using the latest cost analysis software.

dilapidation reports

When a lease is reaching the end of its term, the landlord has a right to instruct a Surveyor to enter and inspect the premises. The inspection is carried out to assess the condition of the building in accordance with the lease, to ascertain if any covenants have been breached. On completion of the inspection a dilapidations schedule will be drafted up, which is then served on the tenant. The schedule of dilapidations can be served during the lease or after the lease has finished.

Our schedule of dilapidation reports are set out in a tabulated format that are simple to read and understand. The schedule itemises each element, which provides a description, the covenant breached, the recommendations and associated costs.

If the tenant disagrees with the landlords dilapidations schedule, the tenant can appoint another Surveyor to prepare a separate schedule of dilapidations. Where the tenant appoints a separate Surveyor, both surveyors would then negotiate a settlement.

 It should be highlighted that a tenant is not legally obliged to give back the premises in an improved state of repair, and are only required to give back the premises in the same condition as at the start of a lease.

At S P J Simmonds Consulting Ltd we accept appointments from both the tenant or landlord to aid with dilapidations matters.

schedule of conditions

When entering into a lease agreement, it is highly recommended that the condition of the property to be leased is recorded.  Having a written and photographic condition schedule allows you to have an accurate record of a property's condition upon the renewal or end of a lease.

Our schedule of condition reports consist of a descriptive and photographic record that will identify any defects and general disrepair to a property, prior to entering into a lease.

Generally tenants have a liability to maintain and repair a property to its current condition, in accordance with the lease. Therefore, it is imperative that the condition of the property is recorded in detail at the start of a lease, so that it can be referred to at the end of a lease.   

A schedule of conditions report prepared on behalf of a tenant should be formally agreed on by the tenant and landlord and attached to the lease documents at the commencement of the lease if it is to be used for the dilapidations at the conclusion of the lease.

Our schedules can be used for a number of purposes when recording the condition of a property. The condition schedule can be provided prior to the start of a lease, for party wall matters and can be carried out on buildings or structures adjacent to major construction works. 

S P J Simmonds Consulting Ltd can provide a detailed and thorough condition schedule, which is easy to read and understand. 

movement / crack monitoring

A building or structure may be suffering from movement, and it may be required to monitor the movement for insurance purposes or to determine the rate and direction of movement.

We carry out an initial site visit to inspect the subject area of concern, which enables us to advise on the appropriate course of action and provide you with a schedule of monitoring.

Once the schedule of monitoring has been agreed we can commence the recording of the monitoring, analysing the results and providing update reports.  On completion of the monitoring the results are then fully analysed and a final report produced on any movement. 

The update report will highlight any movement observed, detailing the rate of movement. The final report will detail whether any remedial works are required or not required, depending upon the amount of movement observed. Where minimal movement has been witnessed, it may be required to undertake additional monitoring at periodic intervals, such as every other year etc to ensure no major additional movement has occurred.

S P J Simmonds consulting Ltd use the latest monitoring equipment to monitor and record movement over a scheduled period of time.


vertical crack

movement to brickwork


step fracture

vertical crack due to movement

step fracture above opening

wall tie inspection

damp penetration and cracking

damp to timber joists

mould from interstitial condensation