A Day in the Life of a Chartered Surveyor!

We are often asked by clients how long we will spend at the house.

It is a useful exercise to calculate not only how long we spend in the house or flat but the total time it takes to prepare a really good Survey Report from start to finish:

Travelling Time: typically 2 x 30 minutes or 60 minutes in total. Potentially an additional 30 to 60 minutes if we collect keys from the selling agent and return them.

Inspection: Typically between 2 hours and 6 hours depending on the size and age of the property.

Verbal Feedback or Client Meeting: almost always between 30 minutes and 60 minutes.

Dictation: Between 1 hour and 3 hours again depending on the size of the property and the type of Survey.

Research, Reflection and Report Checking: normally between 2 hours and 3 hours.

Calculating the Reinstatement Cost and (any) Valuation: 1 hour.

In addition each Survey involves an initial client discussion to ensure the client is buying the correct Survey, confirming the instructions in writing, arranging the appointment, typing the report and finally proof-reading. Over the course of the year and on average each Survey accounts for around 5 hours of administrative and secretarial time.

So for each RICS HomeBuyer Report, the time involved is probably around 7-8 hours for the Surveyor and 4 hours admin and secretarial or 11-12 hours in total.

For each Building Survey, the time involved is probably around 10 – 13 hours for the Surveyor and 6 hours admin and secretarial or 16 – 19 hours in total.

A simple Valuation involves much less time commitment. The inspections and the reports are relatively brief as a Valuation does not focus on the condition of all the many elements of a house or flat.

There are certain ways in which the Survey process above could be expedited. Often this would involve the use of modern technology to prepare reports based on a standard template. This could cut down on dictation and typing time significantly but it is not always the case that standard phrases are well suited to an individual property. It is sometimes the case that time can be saved in the reflection and checking stages but it is important to carefully consider the advice we are providing to get the balance right and to assess the risks and repair options. It would also be possible to omit the client meetings and verbal feedback but our clients tell us that this is a really useful part of our service.

The fees we charge are competitive; they will not be the cheapest but for each Survey, whether it is a small modern terrace, a flat, or a large old vicarage, we will allocate ample time to get the admin right, to complete the Survey in a thorough and professional manner and we will do our very best to give you a really useful and informative report on what is likely to be one of the biggest life-time purchases you will make.