building insurance valuation surveys
It is essential your property has adequate insurance cover in place for the cost of re-building the property in the event of its total loss, and this should not be confused with the market value. A reinstatement or re-building cost valuation for insurance purposes should assess the cost of reinstating the main property and all buildings within the property boundaries from fencing and drainage to tennis courts and swimming pools. The valuation should also include all the related professional costs such as architects/surveyors fees, planning permissions, Building Regulations, demolition and debris removal costs, VAT on repairs, and any compensation to other parties for disruption.
These costs must be calculated by a surveyor such as ourselves with all the latest information, and for listed buildings this is a particularly involved process requiring local specialist knowledge. This reinstatement figure should be updated annually when you renew your insurance to ensure you have adequate cover in case of any claim, and it can also help prevent you being charged excessive premiums.
RICS homebuyer survey & valuation/homebuyer’s report
A Homebuyer Survey and Valuation (HSV), also known as a Homebuyer’s Report, is a survey done to a standard format set out by the RICS. It is most suitable for conventional properties built within the last 150 years, which are in reasonable condition. It doesn’t detail every aspect of the property, and only focuses on urgent matters needing attention. It’s not usually suitable for properties in need of renovation, listed buildings, or if you’re planning major alterations. An HSV includes details of:
- the general condition of the property
- any major faults in accessible parts of the building that may affect the value
- any urgent problems that need inspecting by a specialist before you sign a contract
- results of tests for damp in the walls
- damage to timbers – including woodworm or rot
- the condition of any damp-proofing, insulation and drainage (though drains aren’t tested)
- the estimated cost of rebuilding the property for building insurance purposes
- the value of the property on the open market.
If you are dealing with a large, older or rundown property, a listed building, a building that is unusual or altered, or if you are planning major works, an RICS building survey (formerly called a structural survey) will give you a comprehensive structural report including defects, repair and maintenance options. A building survey costs more than the other RICS reports because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property.