Can I Be There When A Surveyor Inspects My New Home?

We’re asked this from time to time, when clients want to be on site to take a look around with the surveyor while they inspect the property. And we get the appeal. It gives you another chance to look around the house you’re excited about buying, and means you can be around to make sure the surveyors don’t miss anything. But whenever we’re asked, the answer is universally no, and we’re going to explain why.

It Distracts the Surveyor

Have you ever tried to do something while someone is watching you? It always seems to go wrong, doesn’t it?

The main reason that we don’t let clients on site during an inspection is that it’s very distracting for the surveyor. It’s much more than just looking at stuff – survey reports take skill and concentration to produce. So if the surveyor has to break their routine to explain something to the client, there’s a higher chance they will miss a defect in the survey. It’s a big risk! With an RICS chartered surveyor like Harrison Clarke, all of our advice is insurancebacked, so we need to ensure that we offer the very best advice every time.

It Adds Time

The company doing the survey for you will have worked out the amount of time an average survey takes, and will have priced the job accordingly. But if the surveyor is answering questions throughout the survey this will add a lot more time to the job, which will need to be paid for. Since you’re already spending a lot of money buying a property, your money is better spent elsewhere!

Very Little Benefit

Honestly, there’s not a lot of point to you being there! While you might feel like it’s helpful for you to be taken through what the surveyor finds as soon as they find it, try to bear in mind just how much of this information you’re going to retain after the inspection. It’s a lot to remember!

Once the surveyor is finished, they will provide you with a detailed written report that goes into detail on everything, and that you can refer back to again and again. If you read the report and still want some clarification, then you can always call your surveyor and they will be happy to talk it through with you. At Harrison Clarke, we’re always happy to continue discussions until you feel like you have enough information to move forward with the purchase.  

The Vendor Might Not Give Permission

A home is a personal and private space. The house you’re buying is still someone’s home, and the people who own it will probably want to limit the number of people traipsing through their house. While they have to let a surveyor have access to do their job, we cannot extend that permission to include you. On top of that, there are insurance issues. For example, if you accidentally break something, who would be liable? Our public liability insurance certainly won’t cover accidental damage caused by a client in attendance, which is why we don’t allow it.

What’s The Alternative?

If you really want to be on site at the same time as the surveyor, then there might be a compromise. You still won’t be able to come to the actual survey (for all of the above reasons), but we can arrange a post-inspection meeting. This would be agreed for a time after the surveyor is finished or in the final stages of the inspection when you arrive, so the knowledge would be fresh in their mind. This is a chargeable service and for a fixed time, but it can be arranged if you mention it during the quote stage.

It’s worth noting that there is a lot to remember in a survey, so there might be things that turn up in your report that weren’t discussed on site, but were in the surveyors’ notes.

At Harrison Clarke we are a firm of Chartered Surveyors dedicated to providing the best service possible to our clients. We can help you decide which survey type is best for you, and discuss any requirements that you might have for a postinspection consultation. We would love to help you make your house buying dreams a reality, so please get in touch with us on 023 8155 0051.

We also have a range of videos talking through various aspects of building surveying. You can access them via our website or our YouTube channel

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Tim Clarke, Director at Harrison Clarke chartered surveyors.

About the author

Tim Clarke,


Tim set up Harrison Clarke Chartered Surveyors in July 2017 following a series of public and private sector surveying roles, having previously worked for the University of Cambridge, Rund Partnership, Goadsby, and CBRE. 

Tim has degrees in building surveying, construction project management, and business administration.