What is the purpose of a house survey?
In Ireland, a pre-purchase house survey is designed to give you a professional opinion on the overall condition of the property so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not to proceed with the purchase and sign contracts.
What is included in a survey?
When you purchase a survey, you are paying for a professional surveyor or engineer to visit the property, inspect it and then produce a written report.
The written survey will include:
A summary of the property
The overall condition
Opinion on suitability to purchase
Approximate year of construction
A reinstatement value (cost to rebuild based on SCSI formula)
Approx year of any extensions or conversions
Number of rooms
Comments on energy efficiency/insulation levels
Heating type (gas, oil, heat pump, electricity, solar, etc.),
Description of water services (mains, well, septic tank etc.)
Comments on the location gardens including boundary structure
Any environmental concerns.
As part of this, the surveyor will also include any structural issues which could be identified during their inspection and any other issues caused by poor maintenance or general wear and tear of the property. Each of these issues should have some indication as to their severity/urgency.
The areas which a surveyor will check include:
Rainwater Pipes and Gutters
Gardens & Outbuildings
Roof Structure (from inside attic)
Walls and Partitions
Dampness & Condensation
Insulation levels and energy efficiency concerns
Hazards and Environment*
*Note: To confirm the presence of Asbestos, Pyrite or Mica a lab test is required which is not part of a survey. A surveyor will comment if any material (usually roofing materials) is likely to contain asbestos or if any structural damage is potentially caused by Pyrite in the foundation backfill or Mica in the blocks. They will then recommend further action. For 100% confirmation of any of these substances, an invasive test would be required to collect samples that a vendor is not likely to approve and is not covered under a survey.
Another important element of the report is where the surveyor will flag any notes which your solicitor should be aware of, these include:
Any alterations to the property and if they need a planning compliance or planning exemption certificate.
Any issues with the boundaries where a boundary is not clearly marked or if there are any potential encroachment issues.
If any of the services (septic tank, well, oil tank etc.) are not located within the boundaries.
If your solicitor provides certificates of compliance or exemption before the survey takes place, the surveyor will check to ensure the works carried out to the property match the cert.
Note: 1: This is a visual check only.
If your solicitor provides a folio map before the survey takes place, the surveyor will check to see that it appears to match the physical/marked boundary at the property.
Notes: 1: This is a visual check only and no GPS or other mapping equipment is used. 2: This check is also done within reason. If a property is on a large plot of land with complex boundaries, significantly more time could be taken up which may result in additional charges. But for 95% of properties, no additional charge is needed.
What do I do with my survey?
When you receive your survey, you should share it with your legal advisor as there will be elements in it that they need to be able to fully advise you. Then spend some time reading through the report and take particular note of any condition rating 3s on the report as they are issues that require immediate attention.
When you have read the report, you should have a good understanding of the condition of the property and any potential issues you need to be aware of. This should give you enough information to make a decision on either proceeding with the purchase, doing further investigation, pulling out of the sale or renegotiating based on any costly defects noted.
Here is a sample survey from a residential 3-bed semi we conducted in January 2023. You'll be able to see the level of detail which the report goes into, how different issues are rated and much more.
At Get House Survey, we offer the most detailed surveys in Ireland. To book your survey with us, just go to GetHouseSurvey.ie and click on "Get Survey Now".