What is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors?

What is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors?

RICS is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It is a global organisation that enforces standards across the surveying sector, including construction and the natural environment.

The institution covers more than 130,000 trainees and professionals, ensuring confidence in the work done by chartered surveyors worldwide.

Practicing members have to hold surveying qualifications and be able to demonstrate extensive experience and competence, they then gain the right to use one of several designations after their name. These include AssocRICS (Associate Member of RICS), MRICS (Member of RICS) and FRICS (Fellow of RICS). They need to abide by strict regulation and audit undertaken by the RICS.


Landmark dates in RICS history

RICS dates back to 1868 when 49 surveyors met at the Westminster Palace Hotel and founded the organisation. Its name has changed slightly over the years:

  • June 15th 1868: The Institution of Surveyors is founded.
  • August 26th 1881: The Surveyors’ Institution receives a Royal charter.
  • 1930: The name changes to the Chartered Surveyors’ Institution.
  • 1946: King George VI grants the ‘Royal’ title to the organisation.
  • 1947: The name officially becomes the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.


The Chartered Institute of Surveyors continues to set standards covering land, property and the built environment, with 18 professional groups representing specialisms within those three areas.

In 1988 it was a founding member of the Building Industry Council, which eventually became the Construction Industry Council.

And in 2013, RICS co-founded a group that developed International Property Measurement Standards, followed by International Ethics Standards in 2016.


RICS Property Surveys

For most people in the UK, RICS is best known as the regulatory body for professional property surveys, including:

These offer different levels of detail for property owners and prospective buyers to check the physical condition and market value of a property.

By getting a professionally accredited surveyor to inspect a property, you know you will receive a high-quality RICS report from an individual who must meet certain standards of continuing professional development, ongoing training and proven competence.


Make an enquiry today

If you would like to make an enquiry about a RICS accredited Condition Report, HomeBuyer Report or RICS Building Survey (also known informally as a Full Structural Survey), please contact Torus Chartered Surveyors in Altrincham today and we’ll be happy to help.

We are open for business and conducting home surveys in accordance with all government guidelines. As the pandemic eases, we will continue to work in a safe way, observing appropriate social distancing and wearing gloves and face masks for as long as necessary.

To find out more about any of our services, call 0161 929 7892 or visit our Contact page for more details.

How to Prepare for a House Survey

How to Prepare for a House Survey

Having a surveyor looking around your home can be a stressful experience. In this article, we’re here to show you how to prepare for a house survey to make their job easier and the experience less stressful for you too.

An inspection by a surveyor is an important part of several processes:

  • Valuation for mortgage/re-mortgage or help to buy purposes will normally last around 30 minutes for an average sized house.
  • An inspection for a HomeBuyers Report will normally last 1.5 to 2.5 hours for an average sized house.
  • An inspection for a full Building Survey will likely take 2.5 hours + for an average sized property and can be substantially longer for larger houses.

Whilst the visit may be inconvenient, if you are selling your property, consider the amount of money involved for your purchaser, providing access to their surveyor for a few hours would seem only reasonable.  It’s important for the surveyor to be able to work unencumbered and uninterrupted.

How can you help

  • A tidy house with easy access to all areas reduces the amount of time the surveyor will spend in your property, surveyors will often need to look at windows, fuse boxes, stop taps and utilities clearing items away from these areas can help.
  • Pets; if you have particularly nervous or aggressive animals, please think about the surveyor. Maybe getting someone to look after them during the visit or ensuring they are kept in different rooms.
  • Hiding defects with strategically placed rugs, sofas or pictures generally doesn’t work. Most surveyors are experienced enough to find them, quite often being honest about problems can allay surveyor’s and purchaser’s worries. Hiding or disguising them normally rings alarm bells, when maybe it is only a small problem.
  • Finally, please don’t try to rush the surveyor. Your purchaser has spent a lot of money on their survey and the surveyor is trying to provide a good service to their client.

Should I make minor repairs?

If there are any small DIY tasks that need doing around your property, it’s sensible to get caught up with them ahead of a house survey.

This could be something minor, like a broken light switch or plug socket, a leaking tap or pipe, or cosmetic work like peeling paint.

Nobody is expecting you to fully refurbish a house you’re about to sell – unless you plan to do this anyway to add value – but taking care of the small details can help.

Any questions?

The exact itinerary for your surveyor’s visit can depend on the level of survey you have booked, from a Condition Report or HomeBuyer Report, through to a full RICS Building Survey which can identify necessary repair work and estimate the costs involved.

If you’d like to know more about how to prepare for a house survey and what the surveyor will do on the day, please contact us on 0161 929 7892 and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

The Most Common House Survey Issues

The Most Common House Survey Issues

If you’re looking to buy a property, it’s likely you will need the services of a chartered surveyor to examine the condition of a house. Not only does a RICS HomeBuyer Report give you peace of mind, but if ordered, provide an accurate property market valuation and a reinstatement value for insurance purposes.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or existing homeowner, assessing the risk of such a huge investment can help you make an informed decision. So, here are some of the most common house survey issues you’re likely to find.


This is one of the most common house survey issues. Excess moisture from leaky roofs, damaged guttering, rising damp and poor ventilation are just some of the reasons behind damp sneaking into the house’s interior.

It can vary in levels of severity. It can be a cosmetic consideration or on some occasions it can cause wet rot and dry rot in timber which can lead to structural problems.

This can normally be rectified, although in some older houses this can be notoriously difficult to completely eradicate.

Roof issues

A sound roof, is a sound house. However, this part of the property is extremely susceptible to environmental factors such as heavy rain and wind. From cracked or missing tiles, to overflowing gutters and blocked ventilation, these can be incredibly costly to fix.

Structural movement

Another common house survey issue is structural movement or subsidence. Indicators of this are cracks in the ceilings and walls, sometimes caused by defects in the building’s foundations.

Most older houses have suffered from some structural movement and normally it is historic and nothing to be overly concerned by. A comprehensive survey will identify if movement could get worse.

Japanese knotweed

The notorious Japanese knotweed can grow rapidly and be extremely difficult to remove. Its deep roots are known to cause damage to buildings and driveways through cracks in concrete and brickwork, as well as potentiality interfere with drainage.

If identified by your house surveyor, then it is necessary to eradicate it using an accredited specialist.

Mortgage lenders take a very broad brush approach when dealing with houses with knotweed and this can make selling or mortgaging very difficult

Electric & Gas

Finally, faulty electrical wiring and lack of certification are other common house survey issues not to be overlooked. Chartered surveyors are normally not able to test the utilities in the property, they can only visually assess surface mounted fixings. However, it is highly recommended that an EICR is carried out to make sure your new home is safe.

A recent boiler test certification is also important to check all appliances and pipework are working accordingly, and vendors should be able to provide a Gas Safety Record as proof.

Book your next Homebuyer Survey

If you would like to find out more about one of our detailed HomeBuyer Surveys, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Chartered Surveyors in Altrincham at Torus.

Call us on 0161 929 7892 or request an instant quotation.

You can find out more about what to do after a bad house survey, by reading our latest blog here: https://www.house-survey.co.uk/what-to-do-after-a-bad-house-survey/

What to Do After a Bad House Survey

What to Do After a Bad House Survey

Knowing what to do after a bad house survey can mean the difference between completing a house purchase or the sale falling through. Problems raised on a property survey don’t have to mean walking away. Some problems are very common, sometimes similar issues can be found in most houses of that age and style. Sometimes other defects can be used as a bargaining chip to negotiate a reduction in the agreed price. If you are particularly concerned about elements of your survey, it is a good idea to speak to your surveyor directly.

But buying a property without a thorough survey is a gamble you should not take, as you might miss significant structural issues that require costly repair work later.

Common problems on house surveys

There are a few common problems on house surveys, and they can have different implications in terms of cost, difficulty to repair, and whether you should continue with your purchase.

Some bad house survey examples include:

  • Damp and rot
  • Subsidence
  • Japanese knotweed
  • Old electrical fittings

If your house survey highlights any of these issues, your surveyor should be able to give you an idea of how to proceed. An in-depth property survey is likely to look for a wider variety of less common problems, with more detailed advice provided if any are found.

Understanding a bad house survey

Understanding the results of a bad house survey can help you decide how to proceed. At Torus Chartered Surveyors, we use a simple traffic lights system to show the likely difficulty of repair.

No matter what level of survey you go for, we will talk you through the results so that you know what we have found.

How to estimate costs of property repairs

If a significant issue is raised, you can estimate the cost of repair work by asking independent tradespeople for quotes to carry out the repairs. This is especially important if the problem is one that needs repairing immediately, rather than one you can leave until later or have repaired in stages.

Make it a priority to get 2-3 quotes as quickly as possible, so that you can decide whether or not to proceed with the purchase, without keeping the vendor waiting unnecessarily.

Renegotiating the sale price

If repair work is going to cost money – especially if the likely cost is in the thousands – you might opt to ask for this to be taken off the amount you pay for the house itself.

Be reasonable – don’t try to get a heavily discounted sale over a minor or common repair job. But don’t be afraid to revise your original offer if it is important to you.

For more advice on building and house surveys, contact the experts at Torus Surveyors in Altrincham now on on 0161 929 7892 or email info@house-survey.co.uk and a member of our team we’ll be happy to help with your enquiry.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Firm of Surveyors

Things to Consider When Choosing a Firm of Surveyors

There are plenty of times during your property-owning life when you might want to consult a Chartered Surveyor, obviously including when you buy a house, but also for other valuation purposes like insurance.

But what are the things to consider when choosing a firm of RICS surveyors? Here’s our list of some of the most important things to keep in mind.

1. Location

Location is important, you will want a surveyor with local knowledge. Some large national RICS firms will sometimes send their surveyors many miles out of their normal area of practice, but this is less than ideal when surveying houses. Ideally you want a surveyor who understands the local market, planned infrastructure projects, ground conditions and common structural problems. Torus Chartered Surveyors in Altrincham can provide property surveys in Manchester, North Cheshire and other nearby areas. Just ask if you’re not sure whether your address is within range.

2. RICS Regulation

RICS is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and by using a RICS-regulated surveyor like Torus, you know you will receive a high standard of service.

3. Reviews and recommendations.

For most people buying a new house is a once in a 5 -10 year experience. Maybe you weren’t impressed by your last surveyor or maybe they are no longer available. When choosing a firm of surveyors ask friends and family for recommendations. Or, better still, ask people who have regular contact with surveyors for their recommendations, such as estate agents, solicitors or financial advisers.  Have a look at online reviews, you can check social networks, Google reviews and third-party websites for honest reviews by past customers.

4. Price

It’s always worth getting a quote and including price in your decision. Remember that not all surveyors are the same, and it’s often worth paying a little extra for better service and in-depth inspections, in exchange for the peace of mind this brings.

5. Choice

While we’re on the subject of different levels of property survey, look out for chartered surveyors who offer you the choice of a RICS Condition Report, HomeBuyer Report or Building Survey.

6. Clarity

How will the results of your property survey be given to you? For example, at Torus we use a simple traffic light system with the most severe damage and repair work highlighted in red, so you can immediately see what needs to be addressed first.

7. Contact

Finally, how easy is it to contact your chosen surveyor? Do they reply promptly to emails or answer the phone when you call? At Torus we pride ourselves on offering good communication to all our clients.

So, when choosing a firm of surveyors look no further than Torus. Give us a call today on 0161 929 7892 and let’s start the conversation.

What Happens During a House Survey?

What Happens During a House Survey?

If, like most people you are funding the purchase of your new home with a mortgage, your lender will likely want to satisfy themselves that your home provides them with financial security should you default.

Nowadays lenders use a variety of methods to this, they may undertake an Automated Valuation Model (AVM) where a computer program checks your purchase price. They may ask a surveyor to undertake a Desktop Valuation where your purchase price is checked by a surveyor using a computer many miles away, or they may request a more traditional valuation inspection.

It is important to consider that even if your lender requests a Surveyor physically inspect the property, they are not checking for your benefit. They are looking at the house as loan security. Now consider the size of your deposit; if your new house needs a new roof costing £5,000, but you are putting down a 10% deposit at £30,000 there is a good chance that your lender wouldn’t be overly worried about this.

In your lender’s eyes; in the worst case scenario, if they have to sell your property they can afford to sell it for £30,000 less than your purchase price, the cost of a new roof may be irrelevant to them. This is why instructing your own independent survey undertaken by an experienced Chartered Surveyor is only sensible course of action when buying a new house.

What happens during a house survey depends on the level of survey you have requested. At Torus Chartered Surveyors we offer three types of pre-purchase property survey:

You can see from the estimated length of time taken that a RICS Building Survey is the most in-depth option, whereas a RICS Condition Report is a less comprehensive check.

During a condition report, A surveyor will inspect the property inside and out.  The roof space is inspected from an access hatch if it is safe to do so, the loft would not be entered. The covers to the inspection chambers of the underground drains are not lifted. Underfloor voids are not inspected. The services are visually inspected.

During a HomeBuyer Report the inspection and report is more detailed than a condition report but less detailed than a building survey. A surveyor will inspect the property inside and out.  The roof space is entered and fully inspected if it is safe to do so. Where feasible the covers to the inspection chambers of the underground drains are lifted.

An inverted head and shoulders inspection is undertaken of underfloor voids where possible. The services are visually inspected. The report can also contain a Market Valuation and Insurance Reinstatement figure for an additional fee. The report will focus on matters that may affect the value of the property if they are not addressed.

If you opt for the most comprehensive RICS Building Survey, the surveyor will conduct a detailed visual and structural inspection of the property. The roof space is entered and fully inspected if it is safe to do so. Where feasible the covers to the inspection chambers of the underground drains are lifted and seen in operation. Underfloor voids are fully inspected where possible and safe. The services are visually inspected and seen in every day use where the owners consent is given.

What to expect in a house survey

In all cases, Torus Chartered Surveyors provide a personable approach. We encourage our customers to speak to our surveyors directly and ask any questions you might have about the inspection process.

We make sure you have access to our surveyors by telephone both before and after the physical inspection, so you get end-to-end service from us.

No matter what level of survey you choose, you’ll also get a written report of our findings.

  • A RICS Condition Report will include reports on main elements like floors, walls and roofs, and any significant defects.
  • A RICS HomeBuyer Report can include a market valuation (please ask for this in advance) and advice on any major maintenance that is likely in the future.
  • A RICS Building Survey, formally called a Full Structural Survey, is the most detailed type of pre purchase survey we offer.

If you would like to know more or have any more questions about the differences between property surveys and what to expect on the day, please get in touch by calling 0161 929 7892 or info@house-survey.co.uk. All enquiries are welcome and one of a friendly and helpful staff are waiting to help.