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Terms and Conditions for Surveyors

Terms and Conditions for Surveyors
19 January 2018

A property surveyor can carry out range of different type of surveys: commercial, residential and building defects to name a few.  For all types of job it makes sense to set out details of the services you will provide in a written surveyors terms and conditions contract.  A written document will make clear exactly what you will inspect, the type of report you will product, the price and both your and your clients obligations.

A common way to present your standard terms and conditions to your client is to include them on the reverse of an application form, completed by (or on behalf of the client). The application form would set out details of the property to be surveyed, fees, expenses and other details specific to the job, with a reference to your T&Cs.  It would also include a section to be signed by the client, indicating their acceptance of your proposal and your terms. Once signed, the document would be a record of the legally binding agreement made between you and your client.

Surveyor terms and conditions for a residential building survey

A residential building survey is the type of survey carried out, usually at the request of a client, prior to the purchase of a property.  The survey is carried out by a chartered surveyor and the report produced advised the client on the visible condition and state of the property, construction of the property and may include a market valuation.

Your surveyor terms and conditions for this type of survey should include clauses that cover (amongst other things):

  • the type of report you will produce, including whether or not the report will include a market valuation and/or a reinstatement cost
  • details of the type of inspection you will perform, including whether or not you will take photos as part of the inspection
  • recommendations of any further investigations required to determine the presence of hazardous materials
  • your cancellation and payment terms.

Surveyor terms and conditions for a residential mortgage valuations survey

A residential mortgage valuations survey is significantly different from a building survey and, hence, the surveyors terms and conditions need to be different.  In particular, the report produced merely provides a market valuation of the property and comments on its suitability as a mortgageable property.  Your terms and conditions would typically cover:

  • the type of report i.e. valuation and suitability for lending only
  • the extent of the inspection that you will carry out - probably limited to accessible surface area
  • the assumptions you will make and are not obliged to verify e.g. no harmful or hazardous substances present, no radon present
  • price and payment
  • cancellation terms.

Commercial property surveys

While there are similarities in the terms and conditions used for commercial and residential building surveys there are also significant differences.  A different set of property surveyor terms and conditions is required for commercial properties.  In particular, a commercial building survey report will differ from a residential one in that it will:

  • identify significant defects, hazards or other problems that are likely to have a material effect on the building's use or value
  • specifically exclude specialist facilities such as swimming pools
  • if the property forms part of a larger group of properties, may include inspect of other parts such as common areas, garages etc.

If you need more information about the qualifications required to work as a professional property surveyor then the RICS (Registered Institute of Chartered Surveyors) website is the best place to start. The RICS provide an online, searchable register of suitably qualified surveyors so it is worth making sure your details are up-to-date if you are already registered.

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