Understanding RICS Level 2 and Level 3 Surveys: What’s the Difference?

Understanding RICS Level 2 and Level 3 Surveys: What’s the Difference?

When you’re in the process of buying a property, understanding its condition and potential issues is crucial for making informed decisions. This is where RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) surveys come into play. Among the various types of RICS surveys, Level 2 and Level 3 surveys are commonly chosen to assess the condition of residential properties. Let’s delve into the differences between these two survey levels to help you determine which one may be more suitable for your needs.

RICS Level 2 Survey (HomeBuyer Report)

  1. Overview
  • Purpose: The RICS Level 2 Survey, also known as a HomeBuyer Report, is designed to provide a concise assessment of the property’s condition.
  • Suitability: It is typically recommended for conventional properties that are in reasonable condition.
  1. Scope of Inspection
  • Visual Inspection: The surveyor conducts a visual inspection of the accessible parts of the property.
  • Areas Covered: Focuses on significant issues that may affect the value of the property or require attention.
  • Standard Format: Follows a standard format set by RICS, covering essentials such as defects, potential risks, and advice for necessary repairs and maintenance.
  1. Key Features
  • Standardized Report: Provides a structured report with a traffic light system (red, amber, green) to highlight the urgency and importance of identified issues.
  1. Limitations
  • Non-Invasive: Does not include intrusive inspections or detailed investigations into concealed areas.
  • Surface Level: Identifies visible defects but may not uncover underlying structural issues or hidden defects.

RICS Level 3 Survey (Building Survey)

  1. Overview
  • Purpose: The RICS Level 3 Survey, also known as a Building Survey, offers a more comprehensive and detailed assessment of the property’s condition.
  • Suitability: Suitable for all types of residential properties, especially older or unconventional properties, or properties in poor condition.
  1. Scope of Inspection
  • Thorough Examination: Includes a detailed inspection of both visible and concealed parts of the property.
  • Detailed Analysis: Provides in-depth analysis of the property’s construction, materials, and potential defects.
  • Tailored Recommendations: Offers specific advice on repairs, maintenance, and potential future issues.
  1. Key Features
  • Customized Reporting: The report is tailored to the property’s specific characteristics and condition, providing a bespoke analysis.
  • Detailed Findings: Covers structural integrity, building materials, dampness, and other critical aspects in detail.
  • Inclusive of Recommendations: Includes recommendations for remedial actions and further investigations, if necessary.
  1. Limitations
  • Cost and Time: Typically more expensive and time-consuming than a Level 2 Survey due to its comprehensive nature.
  • Expertise Required: Requires specialized knowledge and experience from the surveyor to provide accurate assessments and recommendations.

Choosing the Right Survey

  1. Property Type and Condition:
  • Level 2: Suitable for standard properties in reasonable condition.
  • Level 3: Ideal for older, larger, or more complex properties, or properties with significant issues.
  1. Budget and Requirements:
  • Level 2: Provides a cost-effective overview for straightforward purchases.
  • Level 3: Offers peace of mind for comprehensive understanding and informed decision-making.
  1. Future Planning:
  • Level 2: Helps in identifying immediate issues and planning short-term maintenance.
  • Level 3: Provides insights into long-term maintenance, potential refurbishments, and structural concerns.


Choosing between a RICS Level 2 Survey (HomeBuyer Report) and a RICS Level 3 Survey (Building Survey) depends on your specific needs, the type of property you’re purchasing, and your budget. While a Level 2 Survey offers a concise overview suitable for many properties, a Level 3 Survey provides a detailed and comprehensive inspection, making it ideal for older or more complex properties. Consulting with a qualified RICS surveyor can help you determine the most appropriate survey level to ensure you make a well-informed decision in your property purchase journey.

Our RICS Home Survey Services

At Aspect Surveying we provide Level 2 Home Surveys (previously referred to as Homebuyer’s Reports), as well as Level 3 Building Surveys (previously referred to as structural surveys).

Both types of surveys are a valuable tool for homebuyers, as they provide an in-depth assessment of the property’s condition and help to identify any areas of concern that may need to be addressed before the purchase is completed. By understanding the condition of the property, homebuyers can make an informed decision and ensure that they are fully aware of any potential problems before they complete the purchase.

Contact us for more information if you’re looking for a Home Buyer Survey or a Building Survey for your new home.

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