Better survey than sorry

You’ve fallen in love with a house and want to buy it, but remember the saying: ‘love is blind’. Your dream home may look perfect to you but, unless you happen to be a qualified surveyor, you are not judging with a professional eye. There could be costly hidden structural defects that you wouldn’t recognise. So, before it’s too late, request a survey to uncover any significant problems.


The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the professional body that sets standards across the surveying profession. A RICS qualification confirms that the surveyor has undergone rigorous study and training to achieve the following levels of qualification (in ascending order): Associate Members (AssocRICS), Chartered Members (MRICS) and Fellows (FRICS). They can offer a range of survey types, including HomeBuyer Reports and Building Surveys, which are governed by laws and rules that may vary in different parts of the UK.

There are other qualifications, including the Diploma in Residential Surveying (DipRSurv). This is a route some surveyors take to their AssocRICS. Surveyors may also belong to the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) or the Independent Surveyors and Valuers Association (ISVA).


Back in 1792, during the architectural heyday of the Georgian era, a group of leading surveyors set up The Surveyors’ Club. Initially an informal gathering, in the ensuing decades its membership increased and plans were made for a more structured professional association.

The next (19th) century saw rapid urban, industrial and transport development, urgently requiring reliable standards. In 1868, about 50 participants gathered at a Westminster hotel and resolved to form the Institution of Surveyors under the presidency of eminent railway surveyor, John Clutton.


The Institution leased premises near the Houses of Parliament – still the headquarters of RICS today – and its work was quickly recognised as beneficial to the many ambitious projects of the day. In 1881, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors was incorporated by Royal Charter granted by Queen Victoria.

RICS’ standards and qualifications have been updated over the decades to ensure they meet current needs. Remember to check the credentials of anyone conducting a survey on your behalf.

As a mortgage is secured against your home or property, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up mortgage repayments.