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How much does a building survey cost?

We all want to make sure we are spending our money wisely, and we also want to know that we are getting good value for our hard earned money.

A building survey is a sound and prudent investment in your house buying process.

But, do you go for a Level 2 or a Level 3 building survey? Quotes for both, from various surveyors, can be quite different. This can make it hard to choose the right one.

It’s not just about the cost either. There are other factors to consider too.

In this article, Richmond Futures, a leading and experienced firm of building surveyors based in London and Surrey, outlines what you should consider when choosing the right survey, and the right surveyor, for you.


  • Different surveyors have varying quoting methods.
  • Overheads, team qualifications, and travel distance affect quotes.
  • Property value and location also impact the quote.
  • Two types of building surveys: Level 2 Homebuyer Report and Level 3 Building Survey.
  • Level 3 reports are more expensive due to larger, complex properties.
  • Level 2 costs: £595 plus VAT to £1,000 plus VAT.
  • Level 3 costs: £1,195 plus VAT to over £2,000 plus VAT.
  • Level 3 surveys may include cost estimates for remedial works.
  • Turnaround times matter; delays could affect the house purchase process.

Why quotes for a building survey vary

Different surveyors will have different ways of quoting jobs. Also, one may have higher overheads than another, or a more highly qualified and therefore higher paid team of surveyors. If they are having to travel further to carry out your survey this will be reflected in their quote too. 

Each surveyor’s quote will differ from one property to the next, as each property is different. The property’s value and the property’s location will also affect their quote.

There are two types of building survey and one is higher priced than the other.

To give you a rough idea, a Level 2 Homebuyer Report is likely to cost between £595 plus VAT, to £1,000 plus VAT. This is suitable for most properties.

Level 3 Building Survey Reports are usually used for larger, often older, and more complicated properties. This means their inspection takes longer to carry out and their report takes much longer to prepare, which makes these reports more expensive. A Level 3 report can vary from around £1195 plus VAT to more than £2,000 plus VAT.

Tip: When you are comparing surveyors’ quotes, check whether or not they have included VAT, so that you are comparing the costs ‘like for like’.

Factors that will affect the price of your survey

It is natural, when you are looking at a quote, to focus on the total. Of course, your main concern is likely to be how much you are going to have to pay.

The cost may seem high, at a glance, so it’s quite interesting to look at how the surveyor will have come to that amount.

When your building surveyor is quoting for your survey, they will be mindful of a variety of factors, including:

  • How long the property inspection is likely to take.


  • How much detail the report will go into.


  • Whether they have allowed for a follow-up consultation, and their associated charge out rate for this.


  • Their surveyor’s qualifications and experience.


  • Prospective travel time from their base to the property. It’s fair to expect them to charge for non-local travel time as it’s time their surveyor isn’t working on other instructions.


  • If the surveyor’s firm is VAT registered.
  • What overheads they have to absorb into their fees to keep their business viable; larger surveyor firms sometimes have higher overheads than smaller firms.

Other things to think about before you commission a building survey

Making your decision about which surveyor to use for your building survey based on cost alone can be a false economy. 

Based on our years of experience at Richmond Futures, there are other factors that we would recommend you consider as well as the figures:

Reputation and testimonials

It is worth taking a little time to look for reviews online, to hopefully find unbiased comments about the experiences that genuine previous customers have had with any surveyors you are considering.

Potential extra costs

As mentioned, you need to check if your survey has been quoted with or without VAT. You also need to check if their quote is fixed fee or may have additional costs added, and whether a follow-up consultation to discuss your report is included in the original report price or will be charged extra. If you are commissioning a Level 3 survey, you need to know if cost estimates will be included for suggested remedial works.

Your surveyor may recommend further specialist investigations if they feel it is prudent to do so, for example if they notice evidence of cracking they may recommend a drainage report. Such further investigations would be charged extra. If, on the very rare occasion that a structural engineer’s report was recommended, that would also be charged extra. 

Turnaround times

There will be no satisfaction in getting a really low quote for your building survey if your surveyor takes ages to complete your survey and provide your report. This could jeopardise your whole house purchase process. We have heard of some surveyors estimating a six to eight week turnaround time. There is usually a need for urgency in a house purchase process which is why, in most cases, we inspect a property within a week of being commissioned, and have your completed report with you two or three days after that.

How Richmond Futures can help

If you need a building survey carried out quickly, cost-effectively and comprehensively, you have come to the right place. 

We will process your survey efficiently and make sure your report is clear and well presented. We appreciate what a significant investment your property purchase is and that the content of your survey may impact your buying decision and your price negotiations.

That is why, once you have received your report, we are here to give you as much time as you need for follow-up conversations, at no extra charge, to make sure you have all the information and peace of mind you need.


Contact Richmond Futures today

You can call us on 0208 412 7967, or email us at

We look forward to hearing from you!