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New build surveys v standard surveys

New Build Guru is a leading provider of expert surveying services to new build homebuyers seeking to get major defects put right. This is what’s involved. 

Surveying of defects in new build homes is not standard surveying.

Standard surveying generally involves the surveyor advising the owner about damage, wants of repair and such like in their property. Their focus is on describing basic building performance issues that the owner might want or need to deal with themselves.

Surveying of new builds is very different. It invariably involves advising the owner about design and construction defects and related damage in their home in the context of then looking to a third party - the developer usually, and/or warranty provider, and occasionally other contractors involved in the original build - to put those things right at their expense.

The new build surveyor is therefore not only concerned with the question “is there damage or want of repair” but also “on what legal basis is the third party liable to put it right, and how”. There may also be questions over design issues where there is no damage per se. 

New build surveyors must therefore understand the legal basis of liability of third parties in order for them to do their job. The questions they need to answer may include:

  • What contractual standards apply to the build?
  • What planning obligations apply?
  • What legal duties are owed to the homeowner by a non-contracting party?
  • In what way have relevant technical  standards and design requirements been breached?
  • What are the consequences of the breach?
  • What is the correct scope of works/measure of damages for that breach?
  • What is the cost of repair for the purposes of a claim for damages?

It is not enough to know that there is something wrong with your new build home. You must know what is the legal basis of liability of the third party whom you intend to pursue for a remedy.

Our trusted panel surveyors are appointed on the basis of their leading expertise in all relevant disciplines needed to properly advise new build owners, from understanding and identifying design and construction defects to accurately referencing identified defects against relevant construction standards and requirements; from advising on remedial options and scopes of works to assessing the value of works for the purposes of pursuing damages claims; and from interpreting complex guidance on design requirements to acting for you as an expert witness if it proves necessary to pursue legal action to enforce your rights against a relevant third party.

Just asking your local building surveyor to log defects in a new build home is unlikely to result in you getting a report that will serve your needs in the context of seeking often high-value and complex remedial works from the developer, warranty provider or other third party opponent. Your opponent to whom you present your standard surveying report with the expectation of them putting things right is likely to know that your report is of little use or value to you in the context of enforcing your rights against them. Their response is likely to be inadequate in respect of the (usually more trivial) issues they do agree to deal with (e.g. imposing an inadequate scope of works on you that merely conceals a defect rather than fixing it) and dismissive in respect of anything (usually the more significant/costly to repair things that you actually need to get sorted) that they don’t feel inclined to sort out voluntarily, as they will understand that you are in no position to move forward and enforce your rights based on the report you have and/or the surveyor you have retained. To get anywhere would mean wasting the time and money already spent and then re-doing things in the more rigorous and planned way that our surveyors deal with them right from the start.

The approach taken by our surveyors will typically involve invasive investigations on site, followed by time consuming drafting of your report to include vital referencing of applicable standards and requirements. Where necessary our surveyors can provide engineering calculations, offer court-standard expert witness interpretations of complex building regulation design requirements, take proper account of relevant legal principles when assessing the scope of duty owed by your opponent, and offer ongoing advice on appropriate remedial options and costs.

Compared to standard surveying, the cost of obtaining credible and useful expert surveying evidence in support of your claim against an opponent for remedial works for defects in your new build home is likely to be significantly higher. However, spending less on something that fails to get you the desired outcome on major defects is liable to be a waste of money. Our carefully-developed approach based on proven best-practice ensures you get the surveying services you need, when you need them, from surveyors who can stand by you all the way through to court proceedings if necessary, based on your specific personal circumstances, and delivered in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

We also help you unlock even better value through ensuring that you can enjoy process efficiencies and cost-savings by instructing surveyors on a group basis with other owners on your development. Most of our members save money against the cost of comparable individual surveying investigations and reports by working cooperatively with other owners on their development. Many owners approach us having already agreed to work together in this manner. Alternatively, if we are approached independently by owners on the same development, we will ensure you enjoy equivalent process efficiencies and cost savings by how we make appointments and coordinate matters in the background.

Quality. Efficiency. Effectiveness. Affordability. This is our way. Because this is what works.

Join today and do your New Member Review which will give us the information necessary to enable us to appoint and instruct the right surveyors on the right terms for your specific needs.