JRB Surveyors

Building Surveys

Commercial Services A building survey carried out by a Chartered Building Surveyor will determine the condition of a building, analyse the full extent of any defects and can additionally, if requested, provide budget costs to rectify the defects. The findings of the survey will not only be a material factor in the decision whether or not to buy or take on the lease, but may also provide useful ammunition in negotiations.

Service installations will normally form a separate part of the report. This will deal with the statutory services to the property, the condition of equipment and its likely future life.

You need to tell your Chartered Surveyor the reason for the survey and its scope.

A Chartered Surveyor would not report in detail on the heating, electrics or the underground drains, for example. Generally services are expensive to install and to maintain. Their condition can form a substantial part of the investigation into the overall suitability of the property for a purchaser.

If you want these items covered tell your Chartered Surveyor, who can arrange to bring in the appropriate experts .

Other items normally excluded, but where sampling and testing may be included if needed, would be the presence of damaging (technically, deleterious) materials such as high-alumina cement. Specialist surveys are available to cover asbestos and the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act.

How is the survey done?

It starts with a visual inspection of the building. The usual pattern is to take it top to bottom externally, then top to bottom internally. The Chartered Surveyor will inspect floors, walls and ceilings and will be looking for signs of settlement, damp or timber decay. They note the state of roof coverings, gutters and downpipes and the condition of doors or windows that may be approaching the end of their useful life.

Your Chartered Surveyor is noting not only the present condition and any immediate repairs but also what needs attention in the foreseeable future, often with an indication of the probable cost.

What if I lease only part of a larger building?

The survey should not only cover the part you are planning to lease, but also take account of the condition of the building as a whole. The cost of repairs to common parts may be spread among the different tenants. If the occupier is to take a lease, the surveyor will need to see a copy of the existing or proposed lease so that he may report on the repairing covenants to determine the liability for any repairs recommended in the report.

What will the survey report tell me?

Your Chartered Surveyor's report will describe each element of the property: roofs, walls, floors etc. It will also note the items that have not been covered, such as deleterious materials (unless you have requested this). They will, however, note anything they spotted that gave cause for concern and will suggest that further investigation is needed. Your Chartered Surveyor will also note anything they were unable to survey.

May I use the survey report for any purposes?

No. The report is confidential to you, as the client, and to your professional advisers. It will exclude any liability to third parties who make use of the report without the Chartered Surveyor's express permission.

Is the commercial premises you are buying or renting value for money?

We offer a full building survey for commercial premises from our Chartered Surveyors and this is imperative if you are taking an FRI lease. You must know what costs and repairs you might face. It would also be important evidence later if your landlord tries to pursue dilapidations or other repairs.

Buying or renting, you need to know the condition and the repair or maintenance costs before you enter into a binding agreement.

An FRI lease will normally require you to maintain the property in good repair and put it in good repair if it is not at the beginning.

Perhaps the lease may say you do not have to return the premises to the landlord at the end of the lease in better condition than they were at the beginning. In all cases, you need clear evidence of the condition of the building when you took it on. A survey provides this. A schedule of condition attached to the lease if this can be negotiated with the lessor is a safeguard for later.


Durham Office

JRB Chartered Surveyors
Abbey Business Centre
Abbey Road

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Metropolitan House
Longrigg Road
NE16 3AS


(0191) 3849399