Building Defect Report

There are times when a report is needed in respect of a specific problem, sometimes by a potential buyer, sometimes by an existing owner, and sometimes in dispute situations. Occasionally a report is needed by a vendor whose home has been the subject of an adverse pre-marketing survey  or Home Condition Report. A Building Defect Report will usually be strictly limited to a particular defect (and the fee charged will reflect this) and where several defects require further study it may be more sensible to commission a traditional Building Survey. It should be appreciated that such a report will not refer to other defects the surveyor may see, apart from those specifically under investigation.

While it is no longer planned to introduce compulsory Home Condition Reports, some are still arguing in favour of a "market led" introduction over the next few years and we may see an increasing use of pre-marketing surveys of this or other kinds. If this does occur (at present there is no sign of an early move in this direction) then many vendors will be finding their sales potential much reduced by critical comment within these reports and will need further guidance, either to enable a problem to be attended to or to be able to put the nature of the Home Inspector's criticisms into context for prospective buyers. The previous government's original intention was to make Home Condition Reports compulsory prior to a residential property being placed on the market, as from June 2007; these were to be prepared by Home Inspectors, who would not necessarily be chartered surveyors. It remains to be seen whether there will still be a role for these newly trained Home Inspectors, but it would seem likely that some will become involved in the voluntary process now proposed. It should be appreciated that Home Condition Reports are intended to be a statement of the condition of a property, not advice as to work that should be done; they will not be tailored to the particular circumstances of buyer or seller and may not put defects into the context of what is or is not normal for a building of a particular age and type. It will, of course, still be possible for a buyer or seller to obtain a Building Survey from a fully qualified chartered surveyor for the foreseeable future and it remains doubtful whether many vendors will voluntarily opt for the extra expense of a Home Condition Report when putting their home on the market.