Inspection – not a cursory glance, a thorough survey.

The first time many of us come across surveys is when we buy a home.  A ‘bad’ survey, revealing a catalogue of hidden problems can be a deal breaker!  Within a commercial environment inspections and surveys serve a wide range of purposes.  For both private and commercial clients a building survey is an invaluable service, reducing the risk of unknowns and building certainty in an investment or project.

In a nutshell, a building survey, can provide:

  • an understanding of the condition and design of the property;
  • establish the suitability of a property for its intended use;
  • an understanding of the need for, and the amount of, future costs and other liabilities;
  • a level of protection for institutional investors or funders; and
  • a basis for negotiation with the vendor or landlord.

A successful survey requires a clear purpose.  It is not just about collecting the right kind of evidence, but also being able to focus it to meet the requirements of the instruction.

A given for any surveyor is a good understanding of the history of buildings, building technology and local environment, as is knowledge of the causes of and remedial actions for building defects.  Of almost equal importance is an ability to deal with people, handle client expectations and maintain budgets.

We’ve put together a short guide on the main types of surveys/inspections and how they differ:

Residential Surveys come in at different levels from the most basic, a Condition Report, (level one) to a Building Survey (level three).

A Condition Report (level one) is designed to complement a mortgage valuation, providing a traffic light style indication of the condition of parts of the property, a summary of a property’s defects and possible risks affecting the house but doesn’t include any advice or a valuation.

A Home Buyers Report (level two) is a more detailed inspection and is, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the most popular option for house purchasers.  A Home Buyers Report offers two options – Survey Only or Survey with Valuation.  The survey on either will detail any obvious major problems, rot, subsidence, etc with a property but is not intrusive so the surveyor will not look behind furniture, lift-up floorboards or drill any holes.  As the name would suggest on the Survey with Valuation you can opt to add a valuation and an insurance reinstatement value (the sum you would receive should the building burn down).

A Building Survey (level three) by a RICS Surveyor is a comprehensive investigation and assessment of the construction and condition of a building with the extent of the survey agreed between the surveyor and the client.  The detailed report will include advice on any necessary repairs to the property, estimated timings and costs, and an indication of what will happened if the repairs are not carried out.  Unless specified, it will not normally include a valuation or insurance reinstatement value estimate.

Commercial Inspections and Surveys are instructed by clients, including investors, landlords, tenants for a variety of purposes, these include:

Commercial Due Diligence – When investing in a commercial property, you want to be sure your investment is sound and that it will meet your business needs.  With a Commercial Due Diligence Survey, a surveyor will assess those needs and carry out an impartial and professional appraisal of the commercial property, its condition and suitability as agreed within the remit of the inspection.

Stock Condition Survey – Some clients deal with defects and maintenance issues as and when they arise – which can lead to some unforeseen and expensive surprises. A planned maintenance programme helps avoid this.  It starts with a Stock Condition Survey which assesses the state of repair or condition of an organisation’s building stock generally to help with the preparation of a maintenance programme which can span 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. We have recently completed a set of stock condition surveys for an Academy Trust on their building portfolio of 16 schools and we are now working with them on annual maintenance programmes.

Schedule of Condition – Sometimes a client just needs a snapshot of a building’s condition, perhaps at the start of a lease, or as adjacent construction work commences in connection with Party Wall matters.  A Schedule of Condition inspection and report details the condition of a building at a specific point in time and we will often add photographs, sketches and drawings to support our reports

Schedule of Dilapidations – Many commercial premises are leased.  Included in the terms of an individual lease will be the repairing obligations.  A Schedule of Dilapidations inspection identifies necessary repairs of tenanted premises under the lease.  It may be prepared for service on either the landlord or tenant, depending on their respective lease obligations.

Measured Survey – Our surveyors will take measurements of a building and/or its site to prepare precise drawings.  A measured survey provides the baseline information on which planning drawings, detail design and development of a project are based and accurate measurement as a consequence is vital.

Elemental or Specialist Investigation – From time to time a building may suffer defects – cracks, leaks, damp patches – causes for concern.  This is where an Elemental or Specialist Investigation comes in.  An expert surveyor will undertake a focused investigation/inspection to ascertain what is causing the defect. The scope of the investigation is specific to each job and this has recently included an investigation onto exceptionally severe cracking at a property in Fakenham, Norfolk.

Reinstatement Cost Assessment – A Reinstatement Cost Assessment provides information on the anticipated cost of re-constructing a building in the event of damage by an insured risk (it has no direct relationship to the market value of the property).  This cost is generally established using figures published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors/Building Cost Information Service (RICS/BCIS.  When an assessment is undertaken of a Listed or non-standard building, our surveyors will use adjusted rates to ensure the reinstatement cost is accurate to the specific structure.

Inspection of Buildings Under Construction – Generally undertaken as part of a Contract Administrator’s duties an Inspection of Buildings Under Construction is required for a variety of purposes, including statutory requirements, which dictate the frequency and scope of the inspections and reporting format.

Can we help?

At DCP we’re masters of inspection – we’ve been doing it since we were established in 1946.  If we can help you with an inspection or for further information on all our services please visit our website or contact me at





“ I enjoy the buzz of helping clients unlock asset value in property through innovative design and refurbishment solutions”

I joined the Daniel Connal Partnership in 1994, became a Partner in 1997 and Joint Senior Partner in 2011.  My time is split between fee earning work, the management of the business and business development.

I am a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Project Management Surveyor and an Incorporated Member of the Association of Project Safety.

My areas of expertise are Project Management, Dilapidations, Party Wall Advice and Defect Diagnosis.  I also act as an Expert Witness and am a member of the Academy of Experts.

Outside of work I am a keen sailor and have recently given in to the middle aged man’s craze of cycling around in tight lycra.  I am also a frustrated Ipswich Town Supporter.

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“I love the teamwork in delivering a project, but relish the knowledge that our singular input is making a real difference.”

I have been joint Senior Partner of Daniel Connal Partnership since 2011, having joined the practice in 1995 and been made Partner in 1999.

As a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Chartered Building Surveyor, Incorporated Member of the Association of Project Safety and experienced project manager, I enjoy helping our clients deliver their ideas for their property through successful building projects.  It is my aim that our staff enjoy their work and that we always provide the best service we can.

When I am not working I enjoy being active and spending time with my family and friends.

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Jonathan Dennis MA, MRICS

“As an experienced Quantity Surveyor I strive to ensure that all of our clients achieve the best possible value for money when undertaking construction works.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership in 2011 as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, was made an associate at the start of 2015 and Partner in January 2016.

I have wide ranging experience in sectors across the industry, including Urban Regeneration, Social Housing, Industrial and Manufacture, Education, Defence, Local Authority and Health and have recently enjoyed developing my knowledge of the conservation of buildings with Listed and Ancient Monument status.

When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a keen cyclist and also enjoy a leisurely walk around the golf course.

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Andrew Long, MEng, MSc, MRICS

“As a surveyor I delight in the opportunity and knowledge that we have a direct impact on shaping the future, bringing buildings back into service and the prospect of leaving a lasting but sustainable impression on the earth.”

I became an Associate in 2011 having joined the practice in 2010.

As a Chartered Building Surveyor, with areas of expertise in Design, Contract Administration, Project Management, Defects Diagnosis, Building Surveys and Dilapidations, I endeavour to provide our clients with the best service to enhance, preserve and obtain the maximum returns on their diverse property portfolios and building projects.

Outside of work I am in demand from my young family and friends in various active pursuits.

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Jonathan Rensink, Tech.IOSH, AIIRSM, IMaPS

“By working hard and supporting others, you won’t be far off the quote that I take great inspiration from. “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

I joined DCP in 1999 and was made an Associate in 2013.

A NEBOSH qualified Health and Safety Consultant; my areas of expertise are Health & Safety, CDM 2015 and the provision of Fire Safety and Risk Management advice.

Outside of work I enjoy walking, badminton and football, taking a keen interest in my local football club, Wivenhoe Town.

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Jason Froude BSc (Hons) MRICS

“As an experienced Chartered Surveyor, my number one aim is to deliver success in terms of my Client’s expectations”

Having joined the Daniel Connal Partnership in 2002, I was made an Associate in 2013 and became a Partner in the London office in 2018. I am a Chartered Building Surveyor, with over 15 years experience and a wide ranging skill base over many industry sectors specialising in Project Management, Party Wall, Building Surveys and CDM Advice.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Association of Project Safety.

Lucky enough to have the Surrey Hills on my door step, I am a keen rambler, cycling enthusiast and lawn bowler for my local Lawn Bowls team. For my sins I am also a Crystal Palace Supporter.

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John Read




“It gives me great pride to take projects from inception to completion whilst working closely with the clients to meet their design and cost expectations through construction knowledge, design acumen and property expertise”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership in 2003 as a trainee Building Surveyor with a BSc in Geography and then undertook a post graduate conversion course at Anglia Ruskin University. I became a Chartered Building Surveyor in 2010, was made an Associate of the Practice at the start of 2015 and became a Partner in 2019.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Association of Project Safety and the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.

I have a wide ranging skill base over many industry sectors specialising in Design, Contract Administration, Party Wall and CDM Co-ordination.

When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a keen cricketer and partake in weekly five a side football. I am fortunate to live in the Norfolk countryside and enjoy the benefits of long country walks and sunny days at the beach.

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“I look to use my varied career experience to the benefit of each client and to produce the best outcome on every project”

I was appointed Associate at the Colchester Office in January 2016 having joined the Practice in January 2015.

I am both a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and Chartered Construction Manager and have over 30 years’ experience working in both private practice and for contractors. I also have familiarity with the client’s perspective having overseen redevelopment of the buildings at my Church.

My varied experience & knowledge enables me to provide a balanced view on projects for the benefit of all parties involved in the construction process.

I am a Deacon & Trustee of my Baptist Church in Ipswich; enjoy theatre, visiting National Trust Properties and a game or two of tennis in the summer months.

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Chris Talford BSC (HONS) MRICS

“I enjoy assisting our varied client base in developing projects right from the initial idea through to a fully finished building, I take great satisfaction in helping clients understand and develop their knowledge of construction along the way.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership as a Senior Quantity Surveyor in 2013 and was made an Associate in 2019.

I have experience across a wide range of sectors including Education, Industrial, Healthcare, Residential and Commercial and have gained valuable knowledge from a very varied workload.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Outside of work I enjoy playing golf and attempting to persuade my two young sons to support Sheffield United.

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Daniel Moles BSc (Hons) MRICS

“As an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor my key aim is always to act with my client’s best interests in mind, delivering high quality building surveying services to them at all times.”

I initially joined Daniel Connal Partnership as a graduate building surveyor in 2006. Promotion to Senior Building Surveyor followed and in 2015 I was made an Associate of the practice.

I am a Chartered Building Surveyor and have extensive experience in building surveying, party wall matters, feasibility studies and listed buildings across a wide range of industry sectors.

I am a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

When not out surveying buildings I am kept very busy chasing after two energetic young sons.

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Alastair Clark BSc (Hons) MRICS

“It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be involved with projects, especially seeing a completed building knowing that I have added value by taking a proactive approach to cost and risk management through all the stages of design and construction.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership as a Senior Quantity Surveyor in 2005.

Progressing to Associate in 2007, I was made Partner in charge of the Colchester office in 2011, with additional responsibility for Ball Hall (Project Management) Ltd (BHPM) from April 2012, when DCP took over their long time sports hall project management partner.

In January 2017 I became the Managing Director of Ball Hall (Project Management) Ltd.

When not flying the BHPM flag, I enjoy the occasional hack around a golf course or game of football. I am also, for my sins, a life-long supporter of West Ham.

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“I see surveying in its various forms as the means of providing one’s own expertise for the benefit of clients….. and satisfied clients make satisfied surveyors”

I joined what was then Daniel B Connal & Partners in 1964 straight from School and retired as Senior Partner of the Daniel Connal Partnership in 2010. I remain actively supporting DCP with its services, particularly those for Ball Hall Projects, whilst acting regularly as a Mediator, Adjudicator, Arbitrator and Expert Witness in my own right.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

My areas of expertise are Quantity Surveying, Project Management, Contract Administration and Dispute Resolution.

When not in the office, family life happily occupies a lot of my time, and I escape to the golf course or fish for trout when time permits. I am also a Trustee of Headway Essex.

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