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Types of RICS Property Surveys

There are three different levels of residential survey as supported by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). As stated within the RICS documentation, it is important that the public & their advisers understand the level of service offered by a surveyor. To this end we explain on this page the primary differences between the three types of RICS residential property surveys that we can provide for our clients.

As a general note about the content within this web site, content related to survey's are placed within a 'pink' theme, content relating to valuations are placed within a 'blue theme', all other services & ancillary information will be placed within a 'lemon theme'

  Unlike property valuation where the valuers 'local knowledge' would be a primary consideration, when it comes to property / building surveys it is the surveyors knowledge, experience & qualifications that are of primary importance.  


This survey type often referred to as a The RICS Condition Report LEVEL 1 is by nature less extensive than both level 2 & level 3 surveys.

It is important to know that NO tests of the materials used in the construction of the property, nor its services are undertaken. The objective being to report on the 'condition of the property', its services & any attached grounds.

A RICS LEVEL 1 condition report will highlight any relevant legal issues & any obvious risks to the property, to people & its grounds.

The report will also provide an assessment of defects & problems along with their importance. If a RICS surveyor is unable to reach a conclusion with reasonable confidence then a recommendation for further investigation may be given.

A RICS survey LEVEL 1 will not include advice on such as repairs & ongoing maintenance. Given this point a RICS LEVEL 1 condition survey is best suited to modern homes that are in good condition. It will not be suitable for older properties, those of a complex construction or in poor condition.


  Also referred to as a Home Buyers Report (survey)  

This survey type includes a more 'extensive' visual inspection of the property / building, its services & grounds, but still does not include any testing.

Concealed areas that are normally opened by the occupiers are inspected only if it is safe to do so. Examples of such areas are : roof spaces, under floor areas etc.

A LEVEL 2 survey report will objectively describe the different elements of the property / building along with an assessment of the importance of any defects or problems with the property / building.

At this LEVEL 2 the report will include advice about repairs & ongoing maintenance issues. Similar to a LEVEL 1 report, where a surveyor is unable to reach a conclusion of reasonable confidence, then a recommendation for further investigation will be made.

A LEVEL 2 RICS survey is suitable for a broader range of conventional properties / buildings although the extent of this range & type will be dependant on the experience & knowledge of the surveyor.

A RICS LEVEL 2 survey / report is unlikely to be suitable for :

  • Complex buildings such as those that have been extensively extended or modified.
  • Unique or older properties, including listed buildings.
  • Properties / buildings that are considered to be in poor condition.
  • Properties where the client is intending on carrying out extensive repair / refurbishment work.
  • Non-standard construction properties

  With the addition of a 'Property Valuation' this report is more commonly known as a 'Homebuyers Report (Survey & Valuation)  


A RICS LEVEL 3 survey includes a visual inspection of the property/ building, its services & grounds. The inspection is more detailed than that carried out in a LEVEL 2 survey.

As with the LEVEL 2 survey any concealed areas that are normally accessible by residents are inspected if it is safe to do so.

Although the services are not tested, they are observed in normal operation, switched on / off or operated to check functionality.

A LEVEL 3 RICS survey will also describe the form of construction & the materials used for each part of the property / building. It will also include an assessment of the condition of such areas & highlight the importance of any defects / problems.

In addition to the above a LEVEL 3 RICS survey should:

  • Describe any identifiable risks of potential or hidden defects in areas that have not been inspected.
  • Propose the most probably causes of any defects based on inspection.
  • Provide an outline of any remedial work & its extent as well as explain the likely consequences of not having the work carried out.
  • Make recommendations in respect of the priority of any remedial work required along with an assessment of timescales for the work.
  • The report will describe the legal implications of ownership in detail.
  • Unless excluded via the terms & conditions for the provision of the LEVEL 3 survey, give an indication of likely costs.

Choose the Right Survey RICS recommends that you read    before deciding on what type of survey you require

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