Why You Should Use the New Novello+ Building Survey

By James Brook FRICS on and updated on

For over two decades, the RICS Building Survey, which includes photographs of defects and cost-estimates for repairs, has been the most popular type of Level 3 building survey. Typically, the RICS Building Survey has been recommended for older and larger homes and any property that has major works in the pipeline.

But the property market and our daily lives have changed a lot in 20 years, which begs the question – does the traditional RICS Building Survey address the issues facing today’s property hunter?

The RICS surveys can help you shave thousands off a home’s asking price, and they can cost as little as a few hundred pounds, depending on your home’s value. The RICS Building Survey can undoubtedly help you make informed decisions if you plan to spend a lot on a home or investment property.

But in this day and age, we believe the RICS surveys could go a little further. That’s why we’ve created our own Novello+ Building Survey, an updated alternative to the surveys that have previously been the only options for investors and home buyers. It’s no more expensive than the traditional options, and it’s fully compliant with the latest RICS regulations.

At Novello Chartered Surveyors, we aim to modernise the building surveying industry to help today’s buyers make truly informed decisions. Despite costing about the same as the conventional  RICS home surveys, our surveys come with far more benefits and faster turnaround times.

So, why should you use our new Novello+ Building Survey? Here’s how it stacks up against the alternatives.

The survey process

In order to compile a report that you can use for legal and negotiating purposes, a surveyor must comply with strict survey process regulations set out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). These guidelines primarily provide surveyors with minimum requirements, but that doesn’t mean surveyors can’t go a step further.

For example, many surveyors will only examine the visible and easy-to-reach areas of a property, which means crucial things like roofs can be somewhat overlooked. But a problematic roof is a common defect that affects properties of all ages. It’s also one of the most expensive aspects of a property to repair.

When compiling a Novello+ Building Survey report, we examine all areas of your home using specialist equipment, leaving no stone unturned – and that includes your roof. We use a pole cam to assess the condition of your roof and hard-to-reach areas, allowing us to provide you with photographs of hidden defects.

Our advanced equipment also allows us to check those hard-to-reach areas for seemingly minor issues like condensation that can actually have major knock-on effects. On top of that, we’ll identify problems that could cause some serious harm to your finances, such as timber rot and potentially harmful damp.

What’s included in the report?

The Novello+ Building Survey contains all the information you’d expect to find in a RICS Building Survey, but with more information on:

Energy efficiency

When buying a home, you need to think about more than just its purchase price when calculating your expenses. Ideally, you could do with knowing the property’s EPC rating and how much it might cost to run. That’s why we check things such as the insulation and glazing to provide expert energy advice. Using this information, you can get an idea of your potential running costs. You can also find out how much it might cost to improve the property’s EPC rating.

We’ll let you know if we think it’s worth hiring a qualified electrician or plumber to inspect a specific problem with any of the property’s utilities.

Flood maps

Many parts of the country are prone to flooding, an issue that estate agents and landlords might not readily discuss without a bit of prodding. We include flood maps in all our reports so that you can make an informed decision on whether the property is a smart investment. Understanding a property’s vulnerability to turbulent weather conditions is vital – ignoring potential disaster risks could prove costly and even dangerous.

Broadband speeds

Nowadays, many people work from home, especially since the pandemic has made remote working a must for many employees, and most of us surf the internet daily in our free time. What happens if you purchase a home in an area where the internet is so slow you can’t browse the web or get on with your job? It’ll be an inconvenience at best, but at worst, it could impact your ability to get on with work.

We include average broadband speeds in all our new surveys, perfect for the modern property hunter who wants to be prepared for the future.

Information on dampness, condensation and timber defects

Dampness and condensation can be costly problems to fix, and they can be hazardous to your health. Dampness can lead to a plethora of issues, from mould growth to structural problems in the form of timber rot and foundation defects Dampness is also one of the most common issues in homes, and it can be disruptive and costly to repair.

Despite the prevalence of these issues, it’s not rare for them to be overlooked. Our Novello+ Building Survey contains information on dampness, condensation and timber defects as standard. We undertake a thorough dampness inspection using electronic moisture meters to highlight any issues, which may not be visible to the naked eye. We then provide advice on the likely causes. If necessary, we’ll recommend further investigations from a damp specialist. We als check for wood boring insect infestations such as woodworm. If left untreated, such infestations can cause significant structural damage.

Photographs of defects

The Novello+ Building Survey includes photos of all identified defects, making it much easier to understand problems and identify their location. It also gives you all the ammo you need to prove problems to the seller and reduce the asking price. If the defects are severe, you might want to avoid purchasing the property altogether.

All in all, our surveys cover a minimum of 20 internal and external elements of a property, from the ceilings and walls to the roof and insulation.

The defect rating system

Like the RICS HomeBuyer Report and the RICS Building Survey, our Novello+ Building Survey uses a traffic light system to rate defects based on severity. Urgent problems that can’t be ignored are highlighted with a red traffic light. Defects that will likely require attention down the line might be rated with a green traffic light while moderate problems receive the orange light.

However, the RICS HomeBuyer Report places a variety of defects into a certain category, and only the overall category receives a traffic light rating. Our Novello+ Building Survey Report breaks defects down into subcategories and provides a rating for each one, giving you a detailed insight into the condition of a home and its individual problems, both big and small.

Consequently, the Novello+ Building Survey is more in-depth than the traditional RICS alternatives while being much easier to understand. You don’t need to be a solicitor or property expert to make sense of our new and innovative survey reports.

How the report is delivered

Many old-school surveyors choose to stick to the pen and paper format when compiling reports. They can simply survey your home with a checklist, take notes and photos, and then complete the report following the survey. However, this method is now a little dated, and it often means you have to wait at least a few days to receive your report.

At Novello, we use the latest technology to compile reports digitally. We use a bespoke tablet application to carry out our extensive checks while taking notes, photos and ratings on the spot. This not only makes it faster to complete the final report but also virtually eliminates the risk of errors. As a result, we can have your accurate, in-depth and straightforward digital report delivered to your inbox within the space of just a few days.

Get your free Novello+ Building Survey quote

With a Novello+ Building Survey, you can get detailed insight into the condition and safety of a home, enabling you to invest your money wisely while protecting the future of your comfort and finances. You could use our reports to shave a significant chunk off a property’s asking price and determine whether it will prove to be a practical place for you and your family to live.

Compared to the more outdated surveys, our Novello+ Building Survey is more comprehensive, relevant in today’s market and easier to understand. We can also deliver it extremely efficiently, meaning we won’t slow down the process of your property transaction.

Get your free quote for a Novello+ Building Survey today. All we need from you is the property’s location, asking price and estimated floor area. Alternatively, if you want to learn more about the new Novello+ Building Survey, get in touch with our team of forward-thinking property specialists.

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