Home Survey Standard

RICS draft professional statement - Home Survey Standard

3 Carrying out the service

The RICS member or RICS regulated firm must:

  • undertake appropriate pre-inspection research to support the service (see appendix C)
  • be familiar with the type of property to be inspected and the area in which it is situated
  • inspect the property in accordance with the level of service agreed
  • produce an accurate and comprehensive record of the property at the time of inspection to allow reflection before the service is delivered
  • provide an accurate summary or overall opinion consistent with their professional obligations
  • only recommend justifiable further investigation
  • be clear in the report about the scope of inspection including limitations, caveats and actions available to the client
  • deliver a property specific, clear report to the client properly reflecting the acquired information
  • offer to discuss the findings of the report with the client following delivery
  • ensure any software, technology and system used to deliver the report is compliant with this professional statement and
  • document the service and ensure there is a complete record. This must be securely stored and accessible in compliance with current data protection legislation and regulations.

Please note Single Survey Scotland variations apply. Refer to the RICS Property Inspection Technical Guidance for the Completion of Single Surveys.

3.1 Locality

RICS members must be familiar with the type of property to be inspected and the area in which it is situated.

The depth and breadth of the research will depend on a range of factors including the RICS member's knowledge and experience, the locality and the client's specific requirements. At levels one and two, the amount of research is likely to be similar. Research for level two services on older and/or complex properties, historic buildings and those in a poorer condition and all level three services are likely to be more extensive, especially if the client has requested additional services.

The research will depend on circumstances and may vary over time as additional property-based information becomes publicly available. Desktop research should include:

  • information about the general environment as described in appendix C
  • information from the seller/selling agents
  • the energy performance certificate
  • planning areas (e.g. conservation areas A and B and Article 4 direction)
  • listed building status and
  • other general information about the site including exposure to wind and rain, risk of frost attack, and unique local features and characteristics that may affect the subject property.

3.2 Information from property owner/agents

The owner and/or seller or their agent should be asked to provide appropriate information including details of:

  • previous alteration, repair and improvement work
  • planning permissions
  • building regulations and/or information provided by a 'competent persons' scheme
  • any relevant guarantees and warranties
  • evidence of service agreements and
  • lease details.

It will also be appropriate to ask whether any building insurance claims have been made, the property has been flooded or Japanese knotweed has affected the property or any of its neighbours. Other matters could also include ownership of boundaries, existence of any neighbour disputes, rights of way and so on.

Many organisations provide a range of information about the transaction and the property at an early stage in the conveyancing process. The RICS member or RICS regulated firm should carefully evaluate this information before incorporating it into the report.

Where information is offered by the vendor/occupier, the RICS member should keep a clear record.

3.3 Equipment

For all levels of service, RICS members and RICS regulated firms should have access to suitable equipment required to complete the service. This would typically include:

  • Equipment for recording information: the method of recording information will vary. RICS members and regulated firms must produce an accurate and comprehensive record of the property at the time of inspection to allow reflection during the report writing stage and before the report is delivered.
  • Measuring equipment: the RICS member or RICS regulated firm must measure in accordance with RICS property measurement (2nd edition) RICS professional statement. The RICS member should collect appropriate dimensions and other property characteristics to a suitable level of accuracy.
  • Equipment for assessing remote and concealed areas: the RICS member should have appropriate tools and equipment available that will enable the assessment of remote and concealed areas (depending on the nature of service).
  • Health and safety equipment: RICS members should carry out all parts of the service safely and this covers work done in the office, travelling to and from the property, and during the inspection itself. RICS members should have appropriate health and safety procedures and policies in place, including access to appropriate health and safety related equipment. For more information see Surveying safely: health and safety principles for property professionals (2nd edition) RICS guidance note.

With level two services on older and/or complex properties, historic buildings and those in a poorer condition and all level three services, RICS members may need additional tools and equipment that will allow them to inspect and deliver the agreed level of service.

3.4 Inspection methodology and scope of the inspection

The RICS member is responsible for carefully inspecting the property in accordance with the nature and level of service, the terms of engagement and client needs.

3.4.1 Specific inspection details

The extent of an inspection will depend on a range of circumstances (including health and safety considerations). A number of critical aspects are identified in appendix B and these may help distinguish the different levels of inspection from one another.

3.4.2 Safety during the inspection

The RICS member must be able to safely undertake the tasks involved or manage others undertaking those same tasks. This is particularly important in relation to gaining access to voids that may be present within the property.

The RICS member should also consider health and safety aspects such as:

  • keeping a record of their appointment either at the office or at home
  • letting someone know their expected return time
  • carrying a personal alarm
  • carrying a mobile phone and
  • using ladders and other equipment safely.

For personal safety reasons, the RICS member or RICS regulated firm should be familiar with Surveying safely: health and safety principles for property professionals (2nd edition) RICS guidance note.

3.4.3 Recording information

The RICS member or RICS regulated firm must keep a record of the inspection, including:

  • the construction, condition and circumstances of inspection (including any limitations)
  • the checks made to the fabric and structure and what was found and
  • appropriate dimensions and diagrams, sketch plans, photographs and videos.

As level two services on older and/or complex properties, historic buildings and those in a poorer condition and all level three services will include more detailed and technical assessments of the building, the amount of recorded information will be greater.