How much does a building survey cost?

Why they cost what they do, and what to consider when you are comparing quotes

What is the cost of a Building Survey?

The answer is not quite ‘how long is a piece of string’, but quotes from different surveyors can differ significantly. This can make it tricky when you are deciding which surveyor to use, so here is some advice to help you understand what you are getting for your money, and what you should bear in mind. As is often the case, it is not always about the money and there are other things to consider, too, as you weigh up your options.

Why quotes for a building survey vary

Every building is different, which is why a surveyor’s quote will differ too, from one property to the next.

As a general rule of thumb, a Level 2 Homebuyer Report can cost anything from £450 plus VAT, to around £1,000 plus VAT.

Level 3 Building Survey reports take significantly longer to prepare than Level 2 Homebuyer Reports, as they are generally used for larger, more complex and often older properties. This is why they are more expensive. You can expect to pay anything from £700 plus VAT to more than £2,000 plus VAT for a Level 3 Report.

Closeup of a architecture blueprint

Tip: At Harrison Clarke, we always quote prices inclusive of VAT to residential survey clients. Not all surveyors do the same so, before you choose a surveyor and commission your building survey, make sure that you are comparing ‘like for like’ when you are going through the quotes, by adding VAT to their quote if they have not done so.

Factors that will affect the price of your survey

When you are looking at the quote presented to you by the surveyor, you will understandably be focusing on the bottom line. Your first thought, front of mind, is obviously going to be, “What is it going to cost me?”

Because of all the variables, it is interesting to look at a quote like this from the surveyor’s perspective; to try and get into their heads and see where they are coming from when they present their final figure.

They will be considering a variety of factors when they come up with your quote and price up your survey, for example:

  • The level of detail they will be going into in their report
  • Whether the surveyor has allowed for a follow-up consultation, and what their hourly charge-out rate for this would be if it is not included, and so on
  • Their surveyor’s qualifications and experience
  • Their firm’s proximity to the property they are surveying (if they are not local then travel time will potentially be incorporated into their quote as it is all time spent that cannot be used to work on another instruction)
  • Whether the surveyor’s firm pays VAT
  • The size of their firm, as larger surveyor firms can potentially have higher overheads that they need to absorb into the fees they pass on to their clients in order to make ends meet.

Other things to think about before you commission a building survey

Reputation and testimonials

It is worth taking the time to look online and see what feedback you can find, from unbiased sources, to see what experiences other customers have had with the surveyors you are considering using.

At Harrison Clarke, we are very proud of the positive feedback that our clients have spontaneously chosen to leave on the Trustpilot website. At the beginning of March 2022, we had 42 reviews listed, 100% of which have an ‘excellent’ rating.

Any hidden costs

We mentioned earlier that, although Harrison Clarke includes VAT in their residential survey quotes, some surveyors do not. This can make quite a substantial difference to the overall total cost quoted.

Other potential extra costs that you need to look out for, that Harrison Clarke includes in our standard fee but other surveyors often do not, are: 

  1. Cost estimates for remedial work when you commission a Level 3 survey
  1. Follow-up consultations – whether you commission a Level 2 or a Level 3 report, at Harrison Clarke we will give you all the time you need, answering whatever queries you may have, until you have the peace of mind that you have all relevant information to hand. As buying a property is the biggest purchase decision any of us ever make, it is crucial that you are comfortable about knowing everything you need to know.

Turnaround times

It would be an absolute false economy to go with what seems to be a satisfyingly low quote, only to be frustrated down the line by poor, slow service.

When you are purchasing a property, you need each part of the process to be completed quickly, smoothly and efficiently.

We have recently heard shocking examples of clients being quoted six weeks, or longer, wait times before the survey can be carried out, and a further two weeks before the report will be produced.

At Harrison Clarke, we understand the urgency of completing your survey. It would be extremely unusual for our clients to have to wait more than a week after commissioning us to carry out your survey, before we inspect your property. 

After that, you can expect to receive your report within two or three days of the inspection. 

Additional costs

Our surveys are always quoted and completed on a fixed fee basis. We will never give you any hidden surprises, however, it is worth noting that some buildings might. 

It is prudent to be cautious, when so much is at stake for you. Therefore, we might recommend further specialist investigations if we notice any warning signs that something is wrong. For example, we might recommend a drainage survey if we notice evidence like cracking, which could indicate drainage defects. These further specialist investigations will incur an extra cost to you.

On other, very rare, occasions, we might recommend a structural engineer’s report, if something is seriously wrong. This situation would also incur additional costs to you. Please rest assured, though, that our surveyors are highly trained in building pathology, so this only happens in exceptional circumstances.

Next steps

If you need to arrange a building survey, please contact our friendly team of experienced and diligent surveyors, who will be delighted to help you. They will talk through every detail so you know exactly what you are going to get, provide you with a clear quote that is easy to understand, and carry out your survey as soon as you are ready. Finally, they will submit their report quickly, appreciating the importance of keeping your process moving.

Call 023 8155 0051 


Discover something you would like to know more about?

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.