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Difference between a Level 2 and Level 3 Building Survey

By: Kelly Bellerson
Home Articles
27/07/2023

When it comes to buying or maintaining a property, conducting a building survey is an essential step to assess its condition and identify any potential issues.

The two most common types of building surveys are Level 2 and Level 3. Both serve a specific purpose and provide varying levels of insight into a property’s condition. So, which one is right for you?


What is a Building Survey?

A Building Survey is a type of property inspection that’s carried out by a Building Surveyor. Typically, buyers will request a Building Survey after their offer has been accepted by the seller.

The aim of the Building Survey is to identify any problems or potential issues with the building’s structure or condition, ensuring property owners have all the necessary information they need before a purchase or construction works.

A Building Surveyor will visit the site, carry out the inspection, and deliver a concise report of their findings. This process is known as the Building Survey.


What is a Level 2 Survey?

Also known as the Home Buyer Report or a RICS Home Buyers Survey, a Level 2 building survey is a popular choice for homebuyers looking to assess the overall condition of a property before purchase.

Level 2 Surveys are more extensive than a basic mortgage valuation but less comprehensive than a Level 3 survey, however, both can be accompanied by our new drone pilot services.

Overall, they are generally quicker to conduct and less expensive than a Level 3 survey. It’s non-intrusive and is mostly carried out on residential properties that are believed to be in a “reasonable state”.

This type of survey is predominantly a visual inspection of the dwelling, designed to identify surface level issues, meaning that Surveyors will not be ripping up floorboards or peeling back wallpaper.

Through the report, Surveyors will identify whether the property meets the current set of building standards and outline existing or potential defects such as damp or mould.

Buyers should note that the outcome of the Building Survey can affect the property’s value, shaving off a few pounds from the asking price depending on the issues identified within the report.


What is a Level 3 Building Survey?

A Level 3 Building Survey is best for properties in poor condition, older builds (typically over 50 years), or buildings with an uncommon design.

The inspection is extensive and covers all accessible parts of the property, including attics, cellars, and crawl spaces.

Surveyors will scrutinise the construction and materials used in the building, providing a deeper analysis of the property’s structure and overall condition.

If you are planning on carrying out significant alteration works or further construction on the property, then a Level 3 Survey would be best for this circumstance too.

The Level 3 Survey report is much more detailed and tailored to the specific property. It will highlight all visible defects and potential issues, along with the surveyor’s professional recommendations for repairs and maintenance.

The report may also include estimated costs for the suggested remedial works; however, a Level 3 Survey requires more time to complete due to its comprehensive nature.

As a result, it is usually more expensive than a Level 2 survey but for properties with complex issues or those requiring substantial investment, a Level 3 survey can provide invaluable insights and potentially save the buyer from unforeseen expenses in the future.


Choosing the right surveyor

When deciding between a Level 2 and Level 3 building survey, it’s crucial to consider the type and age of the property, as well as your budget and future plans for the property.

If you are purchasing a relatively new property in good condition, a Level 2 survey might suffice.
On the other hand, for older properties or those with known issues, a Level 3 survey is highly recommended to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the property’s condition.

In any case, always choose a qualified and experienced surveyor to conduct the inspection, as their expertise will play a vital role in providing an accurate and reliable assessment of the property.

Ultimately, investing in the right building survey can provide peace of mind and help you make well-informed decisions about your property purchase or maintenance.

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