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What is a Chartered Surveyor?

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Mike Ashton

5th Mar 2019 (Last updated on 30th May 2022) 5 minute read

A chartered surveyor is a highly-trained property professional who can provide you with specialist advice on property-related issues. They value and assess properties to highlight any defects or structural problems that could cause future issues.

All UK chartered surveyors must be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to ensure they’re fully qualified, experienced and covered with indemnity insurance.

Your chosen surveyor will provide you with a report of the property so you can determine if it would be a worthy investment. Using a chartered surveyor can be crucial during the buying process as you can use the results to renegotiate the asking price.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What Does a Chartered Surveyor do?
  2. What's the Difference Between a Chartered Surveyor and a Surveyor?
  3. When Do I Need a Chartered Surveyor?
  4. What Does a Chartered Surveyor Look for?
  5. How Do You Know a Surveyor is Chartered?
  6. What is RICS?
  7. Why Should You Choose a Chartered Surveyor?
  8. How to Choose a Chartered Surveyor
  9. Learn More About Surveying

What Does a Chartered Surveyor do?

To establish findings and produce a report, the chartered surveyor will visit the property and assess different areas.

The depth of the investigation depends on the type of survey asked for by the client. Any problems identified will be noted and produced to you in a report. You can then work out any potential costs and decide whether or not to continue with the purchase.

Don't be afraid to ask your surveyor questions as they will have in-depth knowledge of common property survey issues.

To learn more, read what does a surveyor do?

What's the Difference Between a Chartered Surveyor and a Surveyor?

A chartered surveyor can provide you with detailed, specialist advice on property-related issues whilst also having the ability to complete a RICS chartered survey. There are a variety of subjects a chartered surveyor may specialise in, from advising on construction projects to domestic or commercial properties.

A surveyor may have the knowledge to complete the inspection but it does not mean they are regulated by an authoritative body as chartered surveyors are.

A chartered surveyor regulated by RICS has been through rigorous training to ensure they’re professional and trustworthy. There are a number of qualifications that must be passed for you to become a member and you must sign up to the RICS Code of Professional Ethics to guarantee that all work is completed with integrity and to the highest of standards.

When Do I Need a Chartered Surveyor?

Contact a chartered surveyor when you’ve found a property you wish to purchase. You can then request a survey when you’ve made an offer.

Once contracts are signed and exchanged you’re the legal owner of the property and cannot back out of the process. You’ll want to conduct a survey before this step, making it possible for you to renegotiate your house price or even back out completely.

The 2 most common property surveys are the RICS Home Surveys Level 2 and 3 (previously known as a homebuyers survey and building survey). The most basic survey is a condition report which is best suited for modern flats and bungalows.

What are the benefits of a home survey?

The report can provide you with information that you’re unlikely to obtain yourself. This report will depict any concerns or future issues allowing you to make a well-informed decision concerning the property.

If you believe the property is a good investment, you can continue with ease. However, if certain faults are concerning you, you can make the decision to pull out of the purchase or ask to renegotiate prices. This will save you from any future costs that you wouldn’t have expected before the survey.

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What Does a Chartered Surveyor Look for?

Some common concerns chartered surveyors look for include:

  • Roof issues
  • Signs of asbestos
  • Evidence of damp
  • Any visible structural movement
  • Evidence of woodworm
  • Dangerous plants such as Japanese Knotweed

The depth of the assessment is determined by the type of survey requested by the customer. All these issues are not always easily detected and so hiring a surveyor could save you from some frightening future costs that you would never have expected.

For more information, read what are common house survey problems?

How Do You Know a Surveyor is Chartered?

A chartered surveyor will use the letters MRICS or FRICS at the end of their name. This means that they’re a member or fellow of RICS.

Chartered surveyor firms must declare that they’re regulated by RICS on their marketing materials and platforms.

What is RICS?

RICS is the abbreviation of the official governing body for property professionals, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. They provide professional training, support and guidance as well as monitoring standards globally.

Using a RICS member guarantees a high-quality survey conducted by a trustworthy and educated surveyor with years of vital experience. All members must also follow the ‘RICS Rules of Conduct’ meaning you’re fully covered with indemnity insurance.

For more information, read what is RICS?

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Why Should You Choose a Chartered Surveyor?

RICS chartered surveyors are guaranteed to have gone through diligent training and have the necessary qualifications to ensure their advice is well educated and trustworthy.

Using a RICS regulated chartered surveyor or firm can give you peace of mind and expert advice. They regularly update their skills and knowledge to provide you with the highest quality of services.

There is security in the fact that you will be protected by a complaints-handling procedure that surveyors who aren’t RICS members won’t have. If for any reason you’re unhappy with the service provided, you can contact the RICS Professional Conduct Team who will look into the member further and ensure that they’re upholding the rules of conduct.

How to Choose a Chartered Surveyor

First, ensure they’re a RICS member. This means they must follow the organisation’s guidelines and have the necessary experience and qualifications. It’s an immediate testimony to their knowledge of the industry.

You should also look into their experience and the reviews from previous customers. Location, efficiency and price are all important factors when searching for the right surveyor.

Compare My Move can help by matching you with up to 5 trusted chartered surveyors, all of which are RICS certified. We only work with the best and most experienced surveyors who are all highly qualified. This means your survey will be conducted efficiently and accurately.

Learn More About Surveying

This article is part of our guide to surveying. In the next part of the series, we take a look at what exactly a surveyor does and looks for during the survey. To learn more, read what does a surveyor do and look for.

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Speak to a RICS Surveyor Today

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Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

Mike Ashton

Reviewed by Mike Ashton

Director, Cambridge Building Surveyors

With over 20 years of experience in the property surveying industry, Mike Ashton is now the director at Cambridge Building Surveyors.