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Scope of inspection: Home Survey Level Three

Scope of inspection: Home Survey Level Three

This document provides content on the scope of inspection for a level three inspection in accordance with the RICS Home survey standard 1st edition professional statement.

RICS members must ensure their service is clearly ‘benchmarked’ against one of the defined levels included in the latest edition of the Home Survey Standard

Appendix A and B in the Home Survey Standard highlight a number of different elements in a typical property where the differences between the inspection levels are illustrated and provides critical benchmarks around which an RICS member’s service can be built.

A level three survey is more thorough and detailed than then others and will address matters such as the materials used for each part of the building, defects and remedial options as well as issues related to the future maintenance of the property. Concealed areas normally opened or used by the occupiers are inspected if it is safe to do so.

Although services are not tested, they are observed in normal operation. This level of service is for clients who are seeking a professional opinion based on a detailed assessment of the property.

It is important that clients fully understand the key differences in the levels of inspection and report provided and discuss any concerns with their surveyor.

The following tables give a brief illustration of what scope of inspection might be included at level three for different elements of a property.

Examples of different elements inspected for Level three

Windows

Survey level

Description

Level three

Inspection includes opening of windows only where permission has been given, any keys/ locks are available, and it is safe to do so. Where the inspection of windows is restricted, the RICS member must inform the client.

In a level three inspection, the RICS member will attempt to open all windows, where possible. .

Roof space

Survey level

Description

Level three

For all levels of inspection, the RICS member will carry out an inspection of roof space that is not more than three metres above floor level, using a ladder it is safe and reasonable to do. In a level three inspection, the RICS member will enter the roof space and visually inspect the roof structure, with attention paid to those parts vulnerable to deterioration and damage. Although thermal insulation is not moved, in a level three inspection The RICS member will lift small corners so the roof’s thickness and type, and the nature of the underlying ceiling can be identified, if it is safe to do so. Where permission has been granted and it is safe, a small number of lightweight possessions should be repositioned so a more thorough inspection can take place.

Floors

Survey level

Description

Level three

The RICS member will inspect the surfaces of exposed floors and

will lift the corners of any loose and unfitted carpets or other floor coverings where practicable. The RICS member will assess all floors for excessive deflection by a ‘heel-drop’ test.

Where the subfloor is inspected, an inverted ‘head and shoulders’ inspection will be carried out where appropriate and it is safe to do so (either physically or using appropriate equipment). If it is safe to do so, the RICS member will enter the under-floor area to carry out a more thorough inspection

 Inspection chambers and underground drainage

Survey level

Description

Level three

In a level three inspection, the RICS member will lift accessible inspection chamber covers to drains and septic tanks (where it is safe to do so and without causing damage) and observe the normal operation of the drains in everyday use.

 Other services

Survey level

Description

Level three

The RICS member does not perform or comment on design calculations or test the service installations or appliances in any way.   For a level three inspection, the RICS member will visually inspect all parts of the different service systems that can be seen within the normal operation of the services in everyday use (where it is safe to do so and without causing damage) including the operating an identified sample of lights and extractor fans and asking the occupier to operate the heating.

Grounds

Survey level

Description

Level three

RICS members will carry out a visual inspection of the grounds from within the boundaries of the subject property and where necessary, from adjoining public property. In a level three inspection, the RICS member will perform a comprehensive inspection of the grounds, noting any limitations. Specific defective features and other matters associated with the grounds can be costly to resolve and may affect the client’s decision. Consequently, the RICS member should fully account for these during a level three service and be prepared to follow the trail of suspected problems to a greater extent than at levels one

and two.

RICS members will also use appropriate methods and equipment to inspect a roof that is not visible from a window or another part of the building, and that is not more than three metres above ground level if it is safe and reasonable to do so.

The report

The nature and content of the report will vary between the different levels of service and subject property. (see Section 4 of the Home Survey Standard).

A Home Survey Level Three report does make general recommendations in respect of the priority and likely timescales for necessary work and gives an indication of likely costs.

The RICS Home Survey Level Three report, description of service and associated documents can be found here.

Other supporting materials

RICS members and/or regulated firms may refer to the following supporting materials as part of their services. Many organisations also have their own policies and procedures to deliver the service.

Health & Safety

Vendor liaison

Equipment checklist

Terms of engagement: Regardless of the level of service, refer to Appendix D of the Home Survey Standard and to the Terms of Engagement guidance