What Do Historic Building Condition Surveys Consist Of?

Are you thinking about requesting a Condition Survey? Oxfordshire buildings notoriously require Historic Building Condition Surveys and they are useful for many reasons: evaluating the condition of a building before purchasing, learning more about a historic building in order to make the appropriate alterations during a restorative project, or to determine the risk of leaving the historic building in its present condition. In this blog post, we will reveal everything about a Condition Survey Oxfordshire residents need to know, providing you a step-by-step guide.

1. Initial Assessment

Provided your building meets the requirements for listed buildings, the first stage of the condition survey Oxfordshire building owners need to know about is the initial assessment. The building’s occupation will be noted – from occupied, to vacant, or unknown. The surveyor will also take a few photographs of the building, usually of the building’s exterior to visually confirm the condition of the historic building. Note that this should not exceed four photographs.

Based on a structural assessment of the building, the initial assessment categorises buildings as good, fair, poor, very bad or not visible. This takes into account the major integral features of the building – for instance the roof, wall structure, doors and windows, exterior gates, walls and railings – as well as interior features. If these are all deemed good or fair, the initial assessment is all that is required for that particular building and will be later considered by a moderator (see step 3).

2. Full-Assessment (in certain cases only)

If the simple condition survey classifies the building as poor or very bad, then a full assessment will be required. This will need a more in-depth description of the building’s status and more detailed notes from the surveyor regarding the building’s condition – is it in a stable condition, declining or even improving? This is known as the ‘trend’ of the building. Once these additional details have been added, the survey is ready to be evaluated by a moderator before completion.

3. Moderation

This is the next stage of the building condition survey process. The moderators consider both the initial surveys and full surveys to determine the hazard risk for the building in question. In order to complete the condition survey, Oxfordshire buildings need to meet the criteria for either low/no risk or vulnerable.

However, buildings determined to be ‘at risk’ will be evaluated further and given a priority category ranging from A to F. A summary document, which details all of the surveyor and moderator’s comments and building classification in 600 words, will be produced and, if the building is in a notable risk category, it will either be automatically added to the ‘Buildings at Risk Register’, or you will receive the option to place it on the register. This means that the historic building condition survey is now complete.

For those of you considering or waiting for condition surveys in Oxfordshire and the surrounding area, you really have nothing to fear! Depending on the condition of your listed building, many surveys simply consist of an initial survey, as opposed to a full condition survey. To make the process as straightforward as possible, be prepared with information about the building’s ownership and any other details you think might be important.

Find out more information about our condition surveys here.