Survey level one: RICS Home Condition Report (HCR)
General description of level one service
This service is designed for people (who may be buyers, sellers and owners) who want an objective report on the condition of the property at an economic price. As a result, it is less comprehensive than a level two or three service.
The focus is on making an objective assessment of the general condition of the main elements of a property. The inspection is not exhaustive, and no tests are undertaken.
There is, therefore, a risk that certain defects may not be found that would otherwise have been uncovered if testing and/or a more substantial inspection had been undertaken. You must accept this risk. Consequently, this service best suits conventional houses, bungalows and flats in a better condition.
A level one inspection of an unusual property or one in a poor condition is likely to result in a high number of recommendations for further inspections that many people would find disappointing. However, where I am concerned about a hidden problem or defect, I will identify these and what action you should take. This may often be further investigations.
The level one inspection
The extent of an inspection will depend on a range of specific circumstances (including health and safety considerations). The following points may help you distinguish this from inspections at other levels of service.
I will attempt to open only a limited sample of the windows. This might typically include one on each elevation.
I will carry out an inspection of roof space that is not more than three metres above floor level using a ladder
if it is safe and reasonable to do so.
I will not remove secured access panels and/or lift insulation material, stored goods or other contents. I will visually inspect the parts of the roof structure and other features I can see from the access hatch. In recent years, the lofts of many homes have been insulated with thick layers of thermal insulation. This may restrict what I can look at in the roof space.
I will closely inspect the surfaces of exposed floors but I will not lift carpets, floor coverings or floorboards. I
will not lift hatches or look below the floor.
Furniture and occupiers’ possessions
I will not move furniture or possessions.
Services (for example, heating and hot and cold water)
I will not test the service installations or appliances in any way and I will not lift inspection chamber covers over the drains.
I will advise you when further tests and inspections are required if the owner does not provide me with evidence the services have been installed and/or maintained properly.
I will visually inspect the garden/grounds during a general walk around and, where necessary and appropriate, from adjoining public property.
I will include such external features as retaining walls, gardens, drives, paths, terraces, patios, steps, hard-standings, dropped kerbs, gates, trees, boundary walls, fences, non-permanent outbuildings, rights of way, and so on.
I will inspect the inside and outside of all permanent outbuildings not attached to the main dwelling. This includes garages, summer houses, substantial greenhouses, follies and leisure buildings, but not the leisure facilities inside, for example swimming pools, saunas, fitness gyms, and so on.
I will use a ladder to inspect a roof that is not visible from a window or another part of the building that is not more than three metres above ground level using a ladder if it is safe and reasonable to do so.
The level one report
For each part of the building, my report will:
· describe it in sufficient detail so it can be properly identified
· describe its condition and explain my judgment
· provide a clear and concise expression of my professional assessment of each part.
This assessment should help you get an objective view of the condition of the property, make a purchase decision and, once in ownership, establish appropriate repair/improvement priorities. To achieve this, I will use a condition rating system (or explain the alternative methodology). This will be explained in the report.
I will also make it clear that you should obtain any further advice and quotations I recommend before you enter into a legal commitment to buy the property.