The inside guide to the new RICS Home Survey Standard and what it means for you

As part of its commitment to promoting and enforcing high standards, RICS has launched its Home Survey Standard, which will become the mandatory best practice benchmark on 1st June 2020. Firms can introduce the new standard in advance of this date, but 1st June is the point at which they become enforceable.

RICS says that the new standard will enable adoptees to demonstrate consistency, deliver the highest quality of service, meet evolving consumer needs and contribute to delivering greater trust in the home survey market across the UK. Adding that the concise mandatory requirement will establish a single standard for condition-based home surveys and new benchmarks around which firms can design and deliver services that not only meet their clients' needs but that the public can recognise and trust.

But, what does this mean in practice?

I was first invited by RICS to join the consultation in September 2016 and as one of only two SMEs asked to take part in the process, I have been closely involved throughout its development. This has given me a unique insight as to why this new Home Survey Standard is so important, not just for surveyors, but for all businesses and individuals who are involved in the buying and selling of homes.

The fundamental difference with the new standard is that it facilitates and promotes improved communication between a homebuyer and their surveyor, with benchmarks that embrace new technologies and media which will make it so much easier for everyday homebuyers to understand the results of their survey. The standard puts more responsibility on a surveyor to be clearer about their observations and recommendations, which means that a survey will include fewer caveats and assumptions.

This is a really key change that will help develop increased trust between homebuyers and their surveyors which should naturally lead to increased confidence, and this is likely to result in fewer aborted transactions. A well-managed and well-communicated survey can actually help to hold a deal together, showing that there is nothing to hide when it comes to the condition of the property.

Increasingly lenders are turning to automated valuations based on statistical trends as a way of cutting costs and so often in these transactions no surveyor enters the building to inspect the actual condition of the property. In this situation, whose responsibility is it to ensure that the buyer has fully considered the undertaking that they are entering? 

The new RICS Home Survey Standard will improve the accessibility and quality of information that homebuyers receive when they commission a survey and so should encourage more buyers to have more confidence as to the value of the survey.

At Arnold & Baldwin, we will be introducing new home surveys that meet and exceed the standard, well in advance of the deadline, but we are doing so much more than that. We are investing in CPD seminars and free training for brokers, estate agents and conveyancers to help build a greater understanding of a survey and what the results mean to a buyer. It is this partnership approach across different industries that has led to the development of the fantastic new Home Survey Standard, and it’s this partnership approach that will help to advance the home buying process.

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About the author

Joe Arnold avatar

Joe Arnold

Joe is the guiding force behind Arnold & Baldwin and has overall responsibility for all commercial and residential surveys and valuations. Passionate about delivering the highest quality products at the fairest prices possible, he has been consistently searching for new and innovative client-focused services since founding the company with Jobie in 2007

Read more about Joe Arnold

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I have only just started working with Stephen and he has already demonstrated the high levels of customer attention and dedication that this company has. The first impression he has caused is such that made me write this review. I have no doubt that the continuous service will be of same level. Looking forward to working further with Stephen. Well done!

Steve Kenny

Lease extension - I found Daniel Grove very professional and had an excellent understanding of all aspects relating to this transaction. Advice was invaluable, and it was nice to come across someone who did exactly what they said they were going to do. Would not hesitate in recommending the firm and Daniel to anyone who has a lease to extend.

Petros Kyrkilis

Amazing job and fully professional treatment. The surveyor went above and beyond to check for everything, when he could have easily claim lack of access. In addition he was more than happy to answer questions over the phone and be there to explain the steps.

Lynn Wilson

Within 48 hours I received my detailed report from Joe Arnold which enabled me to see the property as it was and not through rose-tinted glasses! The report highlighted areas where money might need to be spent and provided guidance on questions for my solicitor - just what I needed. Overall, the survey enabled me to re-assess my offer and in this respect was invaluable. Thank you for a friendly and professional service.

Mark Roberts

100% choose this company. As first time buyers we had a mortgage valuation which said the house was fine. The Arnold & Baldwin survey found over £30,000 of problems. Holes in the roof with daylight visible, damp, woodworm, broken sash windows and poor electrics. This company helped us renegotiate and save a fortune.


Arnold & Baldwin came recommended and I’ve got to say they were brilliant - not just in identifying issues with the property I was looking at but in the way they kept me informed and up to date (ie picking up the phone instead of just posting / emailing communications with you). After dealing with estate agents for so long, it’s nice to have someone who is genuinely on your side.

Kamal Rahman

From my initial interaction with the firm I found them to be prompt, courteous and helpful. I received a detailed Homebuyers report within a week of instructing and was given the opportunity to talk it through with the attending surveyour. Overall excellent service all round, would certainly recommend this firm.

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