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TERMS & CONDITIONS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR LEVEL TWO SURVEYS OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY


Specific details of the contract

The terms on which I will undertake this service are set out below.

Based on the inspection as defined below, I am a Chartered Surveyor and I will provide you with a written report that describes my opinion of the visible condition and state of repair of the identified property. I will carry out my duties with the skill and care that can be reasonably expected from an experienced Chartered Surveyor.

Assumptions

Unless otherwise expressly agreed with me, while preparing the report I will assume that:

    the property (if for sale) is offered with vacant possession

    the property is connected to mains services with appropriate rights on a basis that is both known and acceptable to you; and

    access to the property is as of right based on terms both known and acceptable to you.

Dangerous materials, contamination and environmental issues

I make no enquiries about contamination or other environmental dangers. If I suspect a problem, I will recommend further investigations.

I will assume that no harmful or dangerous materials have been used in the construction, and I do not have a duty to justify making this assumption. However, if the inspection shows that these materials have been used, I must report this and ask you for further instructions.

I do not carry out an asbestos inspection or act as an asbestos inspector when inspecting properties that may fall within the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. With flats, I assume there is a 'dutyholder' (as defined in the regulations), an asbestos register and an effective management plan all in place and none of these presents a significant risk to health or need any immediate payment. I do not consult the dutyholder.

I will note the presence of lead water supply pipes and give general advice if these materials can be seen. However, you must appreciate that materials are often concealed within the construction of the building. If I am concerned about lead pipes I can see, I may recommend a specialist inspection and report.

I will advise if the property is in an area where, based on information published by the Health Protection Agency, there is a risk of radon. In such cases, I will advise further tests to establish the precise radon level.

I will advise if there are transformer stations or overhead power lines that I can see during the normal course of the inspection. If present, I cannot assess any possible effect on health. For obvious reasons, I cannot report on any underground cables.

I will advise on any other hazards to health and safety which are identified during the course of the inspection of the property.

Consents, approvals and searches

I will assume that the property is not subject to any unusual or especially onerous restrictions or covenants, which apply to the structure or affect the reasonable enjoyment of the property.

I will assume that all building regulations, planning permissions and other consents required have been obtained. In the case of new buildings, alterations and extensions which require statutory consents or approvals, I will not verify whether these have been obtained but I will identify where these consents may have been required. You should ask your legal adviser to follow up on these matters. I will not inspect drawings and specifications unless you specifically ask.

I will assume that the property is unaffected by any matters which would be revealed by a local search and replies to the usual enquiries, or by a statutory notice, and that neither the property, nor its condition, its use or its intended use, is or will be unlawful.

Restriction on disclosure

The report is for your private and confidential use. You must not reproduce it completely or in part. Third parties (with the exception of your professional advisers) cannot use it without my express written authority. Any other persons rely on the report at their own risk.

As a RICS member I may be required to disclose the report to RICS Regulation as part of its work to ensure that RICS professional standards are being maintained.

Complaints

I shall do my very best to provide you with an excellent service. However, if you believe that you have cause for complaint, my company has a complaints procedure, a copy of which can be given to you on request.


Specific terms and conditions

General description of the level two service

This level of service is designed for people (who may be buyers, sellers and owners) who want a professional opinion of the property at an economic price. The focus is on assessing the general condition of the main parts of a property. The inspection is not exhaustive, and no tests are undertaken. There is, therefore, a risk that certain defects may not be found that would have been uncovered if testing and/or a more substantial inspection had been undertaken. You must accept this risk.

This level of service suits a broad range of conventionally built properties although it is unlikely to suit:

    complex buildings, for example, those that have been extensively extended and altered

    some unique and older historic properties

    those in a poor condition; or

    properties where you plan to carry out extensive repair and refurbishment work.

Where I am concerned about a hidden problem or defect, I will identify these and what action you should take. This may often be further investigations.

A survey report is an expression of opinion as to the state of a building and the probability of defects being present, concealed, or to develop, following a non-invasive inspection that involves no opening up. There is much of the construction of a building that is concealed - hidden items cannot be established as being present or in a sound condition unless there is evidence of the consequence of failure visible at the time of the inspection.

The level two inspection

The extent of an inspection will depend on a range of specific circumstances (including health and safety considerations). The following critical aspects may help distinguish this from inspections at other levels of service.

Windows

I will open a sample of the windows. For example, this might include one on each side of the dwelling and one of each different type of window where there is a variety.

Roofs

I will have a ladder of sufficient height to gain access to a roof hatch or to a single storey roof, not more than 3.0m above the floor or adjacent ground. It might therefore not be possible to inspect roofs above this level; in such cases, pitched roofs will be inspected by binoculars. The Surveyor will follow the guidance given in Surveying Safely issued by the RICS in April 1991, which incorporates the guidance given in Guidance Note GS31 on the safe use of ladders and stepladders issued by the Health and Safety Executive.

I will carry out an inspection of roof spaces that are not more than three metres above floor level using a ladder if it is safe and reasonable to do so. I will enter the roof space and visually inspect the roof structure if it is safe and reasonable to do so, with particular attention paid to those parts vulnerable to deterioration and damage. In these places, I will use a moisture meter.

I may remove lightly secured access panels to roof spaces as long as the owner agrees, it does not take too much time, and it does not cause damage to the property and its finishes. I will enter the roof space and visually inspect the roof structure with particular attention paid to those parts vulnerable to deterioration and damage.

Although I will not move thermal insulation, I will lift small corners if I consider it safe so its thickness, type and the nature of the underlying ceiling can be identified and assessed. In recent years, the lofts of many homes have been insulated with thick layers of thermal insulation. Usually, it is not safe to move across this material and this may restrict what I can look at in the roof space.

Where I have the permission of the owner, I will move a small number of lightweight possessions so a more thorough inspection can take place.

Floors

I will closely inspect the surfaces of exposed floors but I will not lift carpets, floor coverings or floorboards, or move furniture. Where floors have unfixed access hatches or floorboards, I will look in any spaces below the floor by an inverted 'head and shoulder' inspection only. I will not enter the sub-floor area.

Furniture and occupiers' possessions

I will not move furniture or possessions.

Services (for example, heating and hot and cold water)

I will not test the service installations or appliances in any way but I will lift the inspection chamber covers over the drains where it is safe and possible to do so.

I will advise you when further tests and inspections are required if the owner/occupier does not provide me with evidence the services have been installed and/or maintained properly.

The grounds

I will visually inspect the garden/grounds during a general walk around, and, where necessary and appropriate, from adjoining public property. I will include such external features as retaining walls, gardens, drives, paths, terraces, patios, steps, hard-standings, dropped kerbs, gates, trees, boundary walls, fences, non-permanent outbuildings, rights of way, and so on. Where I think the condition of these features may affect your purchase decision, I will describe these problems thoroughly. Examples include retaining walls in danger of collapsing, deeply sunken paths or driveways, dilapidated boundary walls or fences, and so on.

I will inspect the inside and outside of all permanent outbuildings not attached to the main dwelling. This includes garages, summer houses, substantial greenhouses, follies and leisure buildings, but not the leisure facilities inside, for example swimming pools, saunas, fitness gyms, and so on.

Other issues will typically include listed building/conservation areas matters and unauthorised development (including sustainable drainage, safety issues, invasive species, automatic gates, and so on).


The level two survey report

For each part of the building, my report will:

    describe it in sufficient detail so it can be properly identified

    describe its condition and explain my judgment

    provide a clear and concise expression of my professional assessment of each part. To achieve this, I will use a condition rating system (or explain the alternative methodology). This will be explained in the report

    include comments where I think the building will need more frequent and/or more costly maintenance and repairs than would normally be expected

    broadly outline the scope of the likely remedial work and what needs to be done by whom and by when

    concisely explain the implications of not addressing the identified problems.

The report will also make it clear that you should obtain any further advice and quotations I recommend before you enter into a legal commitment to buy the property.

I will not provide estimates of costs in respect of the recommended repair or renovation works.

I will not provide a market valuation of the property nor an assessment of the reinstatement cost of the property for insurance purposes.

Generally

I will inspect as much of the surface area of the structure as is practicable but will not inspect those areas which are covered, unexposed or not reasonably accessible.

I will identify any areas which would normally be inspected but which I was unable to inspect and indicate where I consider that access should be obtained or formed and, furthermore, I will advise on possible or probable defects based on evidence from what I have been able to see.

Flats

Unless otherwise agreed, I will inspect only the subject flat and garage (if any), the related internal and external common parts and the structure of the building in which the subject flat is situated. Other flats or properties will not be inspected. I will state in my report any restrictions on accessibility to the common parts or visibility of the structure. I will state whether I have seen a copy of the lease and, if not, the assumptions as to repairing obligations on which I am working. The Client is reminded that, particularly in the case of large blocks, the object of the inspection is to give guidance on the general standard of construction and maintenance, pointing out those items which will require attention within, say, the next decade and not to list those minor points which would normally be taken care of in the course of routine maintenance. (Many flats form part of large developments consisting of several blocks. In such cases the I will be inspecting only the one block in which the flat is situated.)

NOTE

A survey report is not a guarantee - it is an opinion as to the state of the building following a non-invasive inspection.

This service is delivered in accordance with the Home Survey Standard (1st edition) RICS professional statement and is equivalent to level two. Details of the service, including a comparison with the level three service for inspection of residential property, can be viewed on my website at www.tjwallace.co.uk.

I do not pay a referral fee or equivalent to any party who may have recommended my services.

T.J. WALLACE FRICS is regulated by RICS for the provision of surveying services. This means we agree to uphold the RICS Rules of Conduct for Firms and all other applicable mandatory professional practice requirements of RICS, which can be found at www.rics.org. As an RICS regulated firm we have committed to cooperating with RICS in ensuring compliance with its standards. The firm’s nominated RICS Responsible Principal is T.J. Wallace, 01235 832740


This service is broadly equivalent to RICS Level Two which is described on their website at www.rics.org/conditionsurveys.