Thatch and a Level Three Building Survey

Following on from our previous article about choosing the right survey and surveyor we, along with help from our Associates Keir Hamilton Ltd, are pleased to follow on with some information on the Level Three Survey.  This is what we would recommend for most thatched properties, especially if they are listed.

Thatch and Level Three Survey

RICS Home Survey Standard

On 1st March 2021 the RICS Home Survey Standard came into effect.  Its aim being to increase consistency, transparency and competency across the residential surveying sector.  This is important and RICS members must clearly benchmark their service against the levels defined in the Home Survey Standard.

A Level Three Survey is the most comprehensive level.

RICS Level Three Building Survey

Extensive Cracking to Cob Cottage

Extensive Cracking to Cob Cottage

The scope of the Level Three Building Survey has been set out by the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors).

It says that “A Level Three Survey is more thorough and detailed than the others and will address matters such as the materials used for each part of the building, defects and remedial options as well as issues related to the future maintenance of the property.  Concealed areas normally opened or used by the occupiers are inspected if it is safe to do so.”

There is more information on the RICS website with examples of what is inspected for a level three survey such as inspection of:

  • Windows opening,
  • The roof space that is not more than 3 metres above floor level (if safe to do so)
  • Floors,
  • Inspection chambers and underground drainage and other services
  • The grounds from within the boundaries of the subject property.

A Home Survey Level Three Report will also “make general recommendations in respect of the priority and likely timescales for necessary work and gives an indication of likely costs”.

Inspecting and early 1600s timber frame for rot

Thatch Survey - Inpecting timber frame for rot

Helping with a Level Three Survey

The Thatch Advice Centre (and Associates) regularly assist surveyors and potential purchasers etc. in providing information on anticipated thatching works required, timescales and indicative costings.

The Surveyor

It is therefore vital that any surveyor meets the standards set for the consumer but also has the experience and understanding of traditional and listed properties which are thatched.

We are talking about areas such as:-

  • West Country cob
  • Timber Frames
  • Typical defects e.g. arising from use of:-
    • Cement
    • Destructive damp proofing
    • Other non-breathable materials

Along with a variety of others.

Getting the right Survey and Surveyor

When purchasing or applying for listed building consent for changes etc. it is important to get a proper and relevant survey done from a qualified and experienced professional because you don’t want any surprises down the line!

Our friends at Keir Hamilton Ltd specialise in Level Three Surveys, are Associates on our Thatch Directory and also cover listed building consent applications, condition surveys, guidance and more.  We thank them for their assistance and great pictures for this article.

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