What is an HCS (Home condition Survey)?
The Home Condition Survey (HCS) offer a number of key advantages over any other type of buyer's survey on the market be it a Home buyers survey, Building survey, Condition survey etc.
The HCS is carried out by a specialist residential surveyor. These are surveyors whose primary job is looking at houses. Hence they are "experienced" to the issues that matter to home buyers; this is the HI (Home Inspector). Only a surveyor qualified as an HI can carry out a HCS.
The survey covers the internal and external condition of the property, its services and also the structure.
All Home Condition Survey's have to be lodged with one of two special accreditation schemes (SAVA and BRE) before they can be finalised. The role of these schemes is to monitor quality, and conduct auditing of surveyors to ensure that standards are consistent and maintained. No other standard house buyers survey is treated in this way and hence cannot offer the same level of security for the consumer.
Every HCS is covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) at the point of lodgement. No other type of survey GUARANTEES that it is covered by PII (most surveyors are under no obligation to carry insurance!). So even if the surveyor runs away or dies, then the report will be covered by insurance. In addition most surveyors carry a separate "defects insurance" which is paid for before the survey can be released - a second line of comfort.
Many surveyors offering the HCS are members of the Residential Property Surveyors Association. The RPSA is a not for profit association committed to raising the standards and profile of surveyors in England and Wales, something that has been long overdue. All RPSA surveyors have to undergo "Master class" training before they can carry out surveys on behalf of the association. They are required to adhere to strict quality and service standards that ensure clients are provided with prompt attention and a post survey "talk through" to discuss any matters about which the client has concerns.
The RPSA works closely with SAVA and BRE and RICS (to a lesser extent) to ensure that the Home Condition Survey is a survey that consumers can rely on and can have confidence in. For too long the house buying public has been offered questionable quality and a lack of consistency in the surveying market.