The new RICS Home Survey Standard: what it means for anyone getting a residential survey

By Nathan Foley | 19 November 2019 | Home Buyers Survey

The new RICS Home Survey Standard:

RICS Have now released their vision for the future of residential surveys via a mandatory professional statement which means all RICS regulated Firms and Professional members must adhere to these standards by 1st June 2020. Firms can introduce the new standard in advance of this date, but 1st June is the point at which they become enforceable. Home Survey

This is all based on the industry and consumer consultation in April 2019 following a review of the existing guidance and this has resulted in the new standard.

The RICS Home Survey Standard makes the difference between survey types very clear. In the past, there has, perhaps understandably, been considerable confusion on the differences between a condition report, the home buyers report and the building survey.
The new Standard goes much further than simply relabelling these as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 surveys and describing the differences. It now also provides clear, practical examples of how the survey types vary.

For example, for a Level 1 survey, the surveyor will generally check the opening of one window on each side of the house. A Level 2 survey goes slightly further – if there are different window types, one of each type is opened on every side of the property. The Level 3 survey is more comprehensive – all windows will be checked and opened where possible. In a Level 3 survey, heavy curtains or easily movable possessions will also be repositioned to allow a more thorough inspection; this is not expected in Level 1 and 2 surveys.

Other key elements of the Standard include highlighting the responsibility of the surveyor to help clients decide on the right type of survey for them and placing more emphasis on getting as much relevant information from the seller as possible. It also includes clear guidelines on the relationship between surveyors and legal advisers, and how the surveyor is expected to act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the legal entity.

RICS State the purpose of this standard to be:

• establish a clear framework that sets minimum expectations – this to protect and maintain consistent and high-quality standards in residential property survey services that RICS members and regulated firms provide

• provide mandatory requirements for RICS members and regulated firms in the UK who deliver any level of residential property survey

• replace and harmonise previous RICS publications relating to residential surveys.

In addition to the document, RICS will be developing supporting tools and materials over the coming months for members and firms delivering condition-based survey services to clients.