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Do You Need A Survey on a New Build?

Adele MacGregor

Written by Reviewed by Martyn Maxwell

27th Apr 2023 (Last updated on 23rd Feb 2024) 6 minute read

When buying a new build property, many buyers expect a flawless dream home. Unlike existing properties, they usually won’t need a traditional property survey. However, there is a survey designed specifically for new build homes. This is the new build snagging survey.

It is not a legal requirement to have a survey on a new build. It is, however, strongly recommended. New build homes are not exempt from having issues and human error can occur during construction. These mistakes and defects are referred to as “snags”. They can range from unfinished decor to more serious issues such as uneven brickwork.

A snagging survey can draw attention to potential issues, allowing the housebuilder to rectify them before you move in. Below we look at whether you need a survey for your new build and how it can benefit you.

  1. What Type of Survey Do I Need for a New Build?
  2. Do I Need a Survey If I’ve Got a NHBC Warranty?
  3. Is It Worth Having a Survey On a New Build?
  4. What Will a Snagging Survey Show?
  5. What Are the Other Survey Types?
  6. Where to Find a Snagging Surveyor?

What Type of Survey Do I Need for a New Build?

The type of survey required for a new build is a snagging survey. This is usually completed by a property surveyor and is specifically designed for newly built homes. It is a detailed inspection of the home, reviewing the condition, building materials and quality of building work.

Snagging is the process of identifying defects and unfinished elements in a new home. Once building work is complete, a snagging list is used to highlight issues which the buyer can then take to the home builder. They can then rectify these before the buyer moves into the home.

Do I Need a Survey If I’ve Got a NHBC Warranty?

A National House Building Council (NHBC) Warranty is a new-build home warranty. This provides protection against the loss of a buyer’s deposit and a builder warranty. It also includes a period of insurance against certain problems with your home.

Be aware that there will be a minimum cost value for defects before the policy can be used. Additionally, if you find a defect after moving in, you will need to go through the claims process. This could potentially be lengthy and time-consuming.

With this in mind, a snagging survey is recommended. It can highlight issues before you’ve even moved into the home, often issues you may not notice yourself. You can then have the property development company remedy any issues. This stops problems from developing and causing stress in the future. It also ensures you are not claiming on your warranty unnecessarily.

Even if you have the warranty in place, having a snagging survey could save you hassle once you move into the home. Surveyors have the experience and knowledge to highlight any snags in the property. You can then arrange with the homebuilder to have them repaired. If nothing else, a snagging survey can provide peace of mind to buyers of new build homes.

For more information see: NHBC Warranty and What It Covers

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Is It Worth Having a Survey On a New Build?

With snagging surveys costing on average £300-£600 versus the cost of a new home purchase, you are almost certain to see value for money. Though newly built homes won’t have the issues that can come with older properties, they are not flawless.

The survey can provide peace of mind for new buyers, but it can also save you money further down the line. If an issue is highlighted early on, it can be made right by the housebuilder. You can also use the snagging survey to negotiate money off the new build. However, if an issue went unnoticed and developed, it could cost a homeowner when the home is out of warranty.

For more information on the cost of a snagging survey see: How Much Does a Snagging Survey Cost?

What Will a Snagging Survey Show?

A snagging survey will show any defects, unfinished work or breaches in building regulations. The surveyor will work their way around the home systematically, looking for issues or red flags. They will then report on these snags, with suggestions on how they can be made right.

Examples of a “snag” include:

  • Poor brickwork and/or pointing
  • Faulty window sealant
  • Poor installation of kitchen and bathroom fittings
  • Issues with plumbing
  • Exposed electrical wiring
  • Unfinished decor
  • Uneven, loose or cracked roof tiles
  • Faulty pipes and drainage goods
  • Inadequate roof insulation

What Are the Other Survey Types?

A snagging survey has been specifically designed for new build homes. For existing properties, the other main property survey types available include:

RICS Home Survey Level 1 (Condition Survey)

This is the most basic independent property survey available. The Level 1 Condition Survey is suitable for modern houses and flats. It will provide an overview of a building’s condition. Only obvious defects and the condition of the services like gas and water supply. This would be an ideal survey for a home that is relatively newly built.

RICS Home Survey Level 2 (Homebuyers Report)

A Level 2 Homebuyer Survey is suited for properties built less than 50 years ago. This is suited for a conventional house, in good condition and without extensive improvement work. It will give an overview of the property’s physical condition, highlighting potentially costly issues. It will also list any required improvements and maintenance.

RICS Home Survey Level 3 (Building Survey)

This is the most detailed property survey of the three. The Level 3 Building Survey is suitable for an old or unusual property. It is also recommended for homes in poor or “reasonable” condition. This extensive survey will include photographic evidence of areas in the home. This highlights a range of issues found in the home and what should be done about them

The scope of the survey will include the garden and the land the property sits on. It will also highlight any issues found in nearby alleys or plots of land, such as Japanese Knotweed. This allows buyers to make a well-informed decision on the home.


Although not considered a property survey, surveyors also offer professional property valuations. Professional valuations are suitable for Shared Ownership, Help to Buy and a range of legal reasons.

There is also a range of surveys for specific property types and circumstances. These include listed building surveys, structural surveys and party wall surveys.

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Where to Find a Snagging Surveyor?

There are a few ways you can find a professional surveyor to complete a snagging inspection on your new build property. Finding the right expert is key to getting the most out of the survey.

Below we’ve listed the best places to start your research:

  • Searching companies on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website
  • Checking the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA) website
  • Ask family, friends or colleagues for recommendations
  • Reading reviews for local surveying firms and specialists
  • Using a trusted comparison website

One of the easiest ways to get a snagging survey is by comparing snagging surveyors with Compare My Move. We can connect you with up to 6 of the best local surveyors who can assist with inspecting your new build property.

Our sales team ensures only the top RICS and RPSA-accredited surveyors join our partner network. Once on board with us, our dedicated Partner Support Team monitors our partners to ensure they continue to meet our high standards.

Need a Removal Company?

Once your property transaction is complete, you may need to arrange a removal company. Our integrated surveying and removal comparison form allows you to compare quotes and save up to 70% on your total costs. We will match you with up to 6 surveyors and up to 6 removal companies.

Adele MacGregor

Having worked at Compare My Move for over five years, Adele specialises in covering a range of surveying topics.

Martyn Maxwell

Reviewed by Martyn Maxwell

Director & Senior Snagging Inspector, New Build Inspections

Martyn Maxwell (DipHE, BSc (Hons), MRPSA) is a Senior Snagging Inspector and Director of New Build Inspections.

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