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What Does a Structural Surveyor Do?

By Kelly Stoll
Updated Jan 25, 2024
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A structural surveyor is a qualified professional who specializes in inspecting buildings. The structural surveyor, or structural engineer, works to ensure that a property is in a reasonable and safe condition. He or she also advises clients about a building's structural integrity, necessary routine maintenance and additional repairs that might be needed.

When carrying out a structural survey, structural engineers actively search for potential problems and building defects. They will inspect all aspects of the building, including the roof, foundation and wall integrity. In addition to looking at the design and construction of the property, a structural surveyor might also assist with doing insurance assessments and confirming that compliance regulations have been met. They also might help with planning issues and energy efficiency reporting.

A structural survey is usually done before the purchase of a building that has an unusual construction or is in obvious need of repair. It also might be done if a building is more than three stories tall or more than 50 years old. Finally, if a building requires major alterations, a client might want to consider having a survey done before beginning a project.

There are two types of surveys that are completed by a structural surveyor: a homebuyer’s report and a full building report. A homebuyer’s report gives the client an overall idea of urgent structural problems that are likely to affect a building's value. This survey will list information about the general condition of the property. It also will indicate other problems that will require a specialist’s consultation and the basic information about the building's interior and exterior condition.

A full building report is similar to a home buyer's report but is much more of an in-depth report. This inspection will tell a client whether the building was constructed correctly and what materials were used. This report will list all major and minor repairs that might be needed. It also will note any minor flaws or repairs that are required.

After a survey is complete, the structural surveyors will give the client a detailed structural survey report. This report usually is very broad and describes any problems or concerns that were found during the survey. It might also indicate the likely costs of making necessary repairs to fix those problems. Structural survey reports traditionally contain detailed pictures that document each problem in need of repair. This report can be a very helpful guideline for both the client who needs to make repairs and any specialists whom they might consult.

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