Get An Instant Quote Menu

Structural survey or structural inspection?

New Build CH

Structural inspections are invaluable if you are thinking of buying an old property or a renovation project. But do you need a structural survey, a structural inspection or a specific structural inspection? To the layperson, the terminology is surely confusing, so let’s see if we can shed some light on these important distinctions.

What is a Structural Inspection?

If you are looking at investing into a rundown property, commissioning a structural inspection could be invaluable in helping you gain insights into the structural integrity of the building. You will receive a detailed report of around 20-30 pages on the condition and method of the structural integrity of the property, along with any serious defects and recommendations for remedial action. Structural inspections are typically recommended for older buildings that are in obvious need of repair. They are also useful if you are planning to carry out substantial renovations or extensions to an existing property.

General or Specific Structural Inspection?

There are two types of structural inspections: general and specific. A General Structural Inspection is conducted by a Chartered Engineer who may be a member of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) or the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). The inspection will be focused on the building’s foundations, walls, roofs and other structural elements. If you are a prospective property purchaser looking for a full renovation project, this is your best choice.

A Specific Structural Inspection deals with a particular issue of potential structural concern and makes recommendations centred on this problem. It could be suspected subsidence or timber decay, or advice about removing a loadbearing wall. At Cosey Homes, we have a team of highly skilled building surveyors, structural engineers and building engineers, so you’re in good hands.

When is a Structural Inspection required?

If you have plans for major home improvements or refurbishments that involve a change to the structure of the property, from getting a new roof to removing an old chimney or demolishing internal walls, a Structural Inspection is highly recommended. In fact, it may be needed to comply with Building Regulations.

If there is a specific issue you’re concerned about – say a large crack in the wall or areas of dampness – it’s worth booking a Specific Structural Inspection to examine the issue and get clarity. What’s more, if the property has recently suffered flood or fire damage, your insurer is likely to appoint a structural engineer to report on any issues.

Structural Inspection or Structural Survey?

Care must be taken not to confuse a Structural Inspection with a Structural Survey. What was once known as a ‘full structural survey’ is now called a RICS Building Survey. This involves a surveyor carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the building on behalf of a property purchaser and producing a survey report that details any identified issues of concern that may have a bearing on the purchase decision or price.

A Structural Inspection, on the other hand, looks only at the structure of the property, not the quality of what is inside the building. As a general rule, if a property is in a damaged or dilapidated state and you need an expert opinion to ascertain whether the structure of the building is sound, a Structural Inspection is the right choice.

Contact us

At Cosey Homes, our team of Chartered Surveyors, Structural Engineers and Building Engineers offer a wide range of property-related consultancy and reporting services. We are fully accredited by some of the industry’s highest standing professional bodies including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

Get in contact to discuss your requirements for a structural inspection or building survey of a property you own or are about to purchase, and our expert team will talk you through all the options and provide a no-obligation quote. Over the last 20 years, we have served thousands of happy clients with our expert advice, quality reporting and outstanding customer service.


Our friendly and helpful team are happy to talk you through your options. Contact us by phone at 01744 412 700 and e-mail at

Find Out Which Survey

UK Wide Chartered Surveyors
UK Wide Chartered Surveyors
Cosey Homes offer the full range RICS home surveys from Level 1 - 3 with national coverage provided by our experienced local property surveying team.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information only and not intended as advice. Each property has its own set of unique circumstances, all potential issues should be investigated by a surveyor on a case by case basis before making any decision.