A RICS Level 3 survey, formerly known as a comprehensive building survey, involves conducting an in-depth inspection and producing a detailed report to provide you with the best possible advice on the condition of the property and any repairs required.

Why is a more comprehensive Survey important?

Every building material has a lifespan, which means that once your property is more than 50-60 years old, key structural components are likely to have deteriorated substantially. Add in the possibility of subsidence, damp or timber decay, and a property that seems to be in good condition to the untrained eye can have a number of serious defects below the surface.

The cost of urgent repairs can quickly add up, leaving new homeowners with a huge bill on top of the price they paid for the property. By investing in a more comprehensive survey, a trained professional can look for potential problems and deliver an estimate of the associated repair costs. This gives buyers a valuable insight into the property as well as factual evidence with which to renegotiate the price and budget accordingly before they commit to the purchase.

What does a Level 3 Survey include?

The site inspection will usually take at least three hours and will cover every visible aspect of the property. This includes internal areas such as lofts, basements and accessible spaces between floors and walls, as well as the external grounds and any outbuildings.

Choose the Level 3 Survey (comprehensive building survey) if you’re dealing with a large or older property, a building that is unusual or altered, or if you’re planning major works. It costs more than the other reports because it gives detailed information about the structure and fabric of the property. It includes all the features of the Level 2 Survey, with:

  • A more thorough inspection and detailed report on a wider range of issues;
  • A description of visible defects and potential problems caused by hidden flaws;
  • An outline of repair options and the likely consequences of inactivity;

What can I expect to see in the report?

The report will contain at least 40 pages of detailed information, annotated and illustrated with photographs showing features of the property, along with any areas of concern.

The report will start with a summary of all significant and urgent matters found pertaining to the property, including the areas requiring urgent attention. It also contains legal, environmental and safety aspects that should be considered before you proceed with the purchase. It will then give a detailed account of each area of the property along with urgent repair recommendations and advice about maintenance and upkeep to prevent more serious problems from occurring in the future.

In addition, we will telephone you to talk through the main points and provide free after-sales assistance to clarify any aspect of the report or subsequent repairs you don’t fully understand, including analysis of quotes and reports received from contractors.

Does a RICS Building Survey include a market valuation?

Surveys do not come with a valuation as standard. If required, we can provide an assessment of Market Value, an assessment of likely costs of repairs, and an assessment of reinstatement costs for insurance purposes. These will help you determine whether the price you have agreed to pay is appropriate, based on the building’s condition and likely costs of improvements, and help you budget for necessary repairs or renegotiate accordingly with the seller.

Which survey is best for a listed building?

As well as our comprehensive Level 3 Surveys we also offer a unique report designed specifically for period properties, older, historic houses or any property of traditional construction, usually built prior to 1919.

Old houses with solid walls work very differently to modern houses. Our Historic Building Surveys are designed to help you understand how your house ‘works’, how it needs to ‘breathe’, how to understand quirks, defects, damp and movement, and how not to be unduly put off. The report will go into great detail and give considerably more advice, especially in terms of how to look after a house like this, what ‘listed’ and ‘conservation area’ means and the implications of these designations. It also provides valuable advice for your legal advisers as well as our best recommendations on keeping an old house as energy-efficient as possible.

Paul Gowers, who has repaired old houses himself, is a passionate specialist in historic property maintenance and care and is a member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

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Why Choose Gowers Surveyors?

With over 20 years’ experience in property surveying, Gowers Surveyors should be your first choice for any building survey needs in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. Our RICS accredited surveyors perform thorough Level 3 Building Surveys to provide detailed information about a property’s condition. These surveys go beyond a standard homebuyer report to include technical advice on defects, repairs and maintenance issues

We deliver comprehensive, bespoke reports tailored to your needs. Whether you’re a homebuyer, seller or own an investment property, our Level 3 Surveys provide an in-depth analysis you can rely on. Led by Paul Gowers, Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), our team has local expertise across the region. Contact Gowers Surveyors to discuss your property survey requirements. We’ll explain the process and deliver the insights you need.

Case Study: Roughton, Lincolnshire

Gowers Surveyors were recently asked to carry out a Comprehensive Building Survey on a period home in Roughton, Lincolnshire, which was built back in the 17th century. The original building was constructed using traditional timber-frame techniques, with a complementary two-storey extension having been built around 30-40 years ago.

Choosing a Comprehensive Building Survey is particularly important for historic properties that have been altered or extended, as the interaction between old and new construction materials is often a source of structural issues. At this property, for example, the structural timber frame had been covered with a non-breathable render (rather than traditional lime), potentially trapping damp and causing rot in the wood underneath.

Lincolnshire - Building Survey

Client Testimonials

Ben Green
Ben Green
24 May 2023
Having used Paul's services for a survey on our upcoming listed building purchase I can assure you that you will get the most thorough, professional and helpful service that you could wish for. The report tallied over 100 pages covering all aspects of the house, walls, frames, windows, roof space, drainage, outbuildings, render, roof tiles, water tanks, electrics, insulation, listed building consent, health and safety and much more. Not only that but Paul's report also told us how to best maintain the house going forwards, using what materials and how often things need doing. This was most definitely worth every penny and has allowed us to make an informed decision on the purchase going forwards. A+ rating from me!
James Marron
James Marron
19 May 2023
I could not recommend Paul Gowers highly enough. Excellent service and a very comprehensive, clear report. An extremely knowledgeable and helpful professional.
Brian Scull
Brian Scull
15 September 2021
I have just had a Survey completed by Gowers of Stamford. I have to say that the team there are superb. From the first contact with Catherine who was courteous, professional and helpful and who also arranged everything. To the surveyor Paul who was marvellous, the report was clear and well presented and easy to understand. Paul was extremely helpful and prepared to spend time discussing all the sections and any issues i had.He was very professional and a pleasure to deal with. I don’t normally do revues but felt compelled on this occasion because they deserve enormous praise and i would thoroughly recommend them.
Cameron Bauldry
Cameron Bauldry
7 July 2021
I needed a building survey doing at short notice after red flags were raised once receiving searches and the sellers paperwork back. Unfortunately Gowers and everyone else I checked with were all booked up for months however Paul took time out of his busy day to speak to me, listen to my situation and provide me with some fantastic advice which I very much appreciate. He is very knowledgeable and the advice given has helped me in the next steps of my house purchase. Thank you again.
Neil Crees
Neil Crees
18 March 2021
The value of using Paul, a local well known professional, was huge. I received immediate personal feedback allowing me to take timely action to avoid what could have been an expensive mistake.
Sam Paul
Sam Paul
10 December 2019
We engaged Gowers to carry out a building survey for an old residential property with multiple issues. Paul Gowers was excellent in his response time to our questions and the level of professional reporting. The service we received was reassuring for us and we would certainly use Gowers again.
Mandy Ingram
Mandy Ingram
6 June 2018
We recently used Gowers Surveyors for a building project involving the Party Wall Act. It was applicable on both boundaries and Paul acted as Agreed Surveyor on one side and Building Owner Surveyor on the other. The build itself was fairly straight forward, but the Party Wall process was definitely not... Paul is the consummate professional. Knowledgeable, reliable, calm and level headed he always made himself available whether in person or at the end of a phone or email to ourselves and our contractors. The project lasted 8 months and he continued to deliver the highest level of professionalism and advice throughout. Cannot recommend him highly enough!

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