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Buying Property – What’s the role of a building surveyor?

Written by Stuart Thornhill, Partner, Jonathan Cornes Associates.

Many people ask me “What does a building surveyor do?”

It has been difficult to define exactly over the years because as a profession a Chartered Building Surveyor covers a very broad spectrum of duties. Most people’s experience relates to the purchase of a new house and commissioning a building surveyor to carry out a survey.

The use of a Chartered Building Surveyor means that they are regulated by the RICS, the main benefits to this is that there are minimum standards that a surveyor has to achieve and they have to be insured to protect their clients against errors.

The RICS also has disciplinary procedures. It is always worth contacting the RICS to check that the surveyor is still able to use the chartered designation.

Services that building surveyors undertake are broad, but can include:

• Construction design and building works

• Project management and monitoring

• Property Legislation advice

• Insurance assessment and claims assistance

• Defect investigation and maintenance advice

• Building surveys and measured surveys

• Handling planning applications

• Building inspection to ensure compliance with building regulations

• Pre-acquisition surveys

• Negotiating dilapidations claims.

Building surveyors also advise on many aspects of construction including:

• Design;

• Maintenance;

• Repair;

• Refurbishment; and

• Restoration and preservation of buildings and monuments.

Clients of a building surveyor can be the government agencies, businesses, Commercial Landlords, Solicitors and individuals. Surveyors work closely with architects, planners, homeowners and tenants groups. Building surveyors may also be called upon to act as an expert witness.

If you feel you may benefit from the professional knowledge of a Building Surveyor in the North West, you can contact Stuart Thornhill on 01782 209203 or email him at

Property Aspects Magazine thank Jonathan Cornes Associates for help with compiling this article.