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Should I get a Level 2 or Level 3 building survey?

By: Kelly Bellerson
Home Articles

The two most common types of building surveys are the Level 2 and Level 3.

Both offer varying degrees of detail and insight into the condition of your home, but which one is right for you?

Understanding the differences

Previously known as a Homebuyer Report, this mid-level survey is a popular choice for most.

It encompasses all aspects covered in the RICS Home Survey Level 1, with additional inspections of roof spaces and cellars included. Here’s a small overview of the Level 2 building survey:

  • Ideal for conventional properties in reasonable condition.
  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the property’s condition.
  • Focuses on significant issues that may affect the value.
  • Doesn’t delve into extensive detail but covers essentials like damp, subsidence, and structural integrity.
  • Offers practical advice and recommendations for necessary repairs or further investigations.

Whilst a level 2 building survey is suitable for most properties, surveyors will often measure the need for one against the following criteria: the property was constructed within the last 100 years, built using traditional construction methods (such as brick walls and tiled roof), the property has one or less extensions, and the property remains in its original design (eg no conversions).

The Level 3 Building Survey, also known as a structural survey, represents the pinnacle of thoroughness among RICS surveys.

This option is ideal for properties aged over 50 years, possessing unique designs, listed status, or showing signs of deterioration. It’s particularly valuable if you’re contemplating renovations or have concerns about the property’s condition. Here’s an overview of the Level 3 building survey:

  • Recommended for older properties, those in poor condition, or buildings you plan to extensively renovate.
  • Offers a more detailed inspection, including hidden areas like underflooring and behind walls.
  • Provides a comprehensive analysis of the property’s construction and materials used.
  • Identifies both major and minor defects, along with potential future problems.
  • Typically involves a thorough examination of the property’s structure, including foundations, walls, roofs, and more.
  • Offers tailored advice and solutions for remedying issues discovered.

In addition to all the features of a Level 2, the Level 3 survey delves deeper. It meticulously outlines risks and potential defects in unexamined areas, offering insights into their causes.

It also presents a comprehensive plan for any necessary remedial work, highlighting the repercussions of neglecting repairs.

Additionally, you’ll receive expert recommendations regarding repair priorities and estimated timelines.

Making the choice

Older properties or those with a history of issues may benefit from a Level 3 survey for a deeper understanding of potential problems whilst newer properties, or those in good condition, may suffice with a Level 2 survey to highlight any immediate concerns.

If you’re planning extensive renovations or foresee significant maintenance costs, investing in a Level 3 survey can provide invaluable insights into the property’s structural integrity.

However, while Level 3 surveys offer more comprehensive analysis, they are typically more expensive than Level 2 surveys so, consider your budget constraints alongside your property’s needs.

When in doubt, seek advice from a chartered building surveyor. They can provide guidance based on the specifics of your property and your requirements.

So, what should I do?

Choosing between a Level 2 and Level 3 building survey ultimately depends on the property’s age, condition, your renovation plans, and budget.

Remember, investing in a building survey is an investment in your property’s future and your peace of mind.

Whether you opt for a Level 2 or Level 3 survey, prioritising a thorough assessment will help you make informed decisions and ensure the long-term health and value of your home.

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