Should I get a Building Survey or Structural Survey for a House Renovation in Marbella?

How do I decide whether or not to buy a house to renovate in Marbella and the Costa del Sol?

The short answer to the question is don’t get a building survey or a structural survey. Ask an architect to look at it with you. And the reason for that is that an architect can answer all your questions such as:

• How much will it cost?
• Is it permissible legally?
• What kind of building licence do I need?
• How long will the building licence take?
• What design and layout ideas would add value to the property?
• What design and layout ideas would really improve my enjoyment of the property?
• What are the danger points?
• How long will the works take?

A good architect may also address some of the questions you may not have thought about such as:

• Are those load bearing walls and can I demolish them?
• Does the house have any foundations? (quite a few in Spain don’t)
• Which way do the beams go under the ceiling and how does this affect what can be done?
• How can I improve the energy efficiency of the house?
• What kind of window system would be advisable?

What about an RICS Building survey or a Structural survey wouldn’t that be best?

A British qualified Chartered Surveyor has many positive qualities (and…. ahem…I am one). They have high professional standards and they are ethically regulated by the RICS of London so they can be trusted. But they cannot answer any of the questions in the list above. In fact you may find that precisely these questions are excluded from their standard reports. So, to be clear, you do not need an RICS building survey. Even if you get one you still need an architects opinion and advice.

A structural survey would be done by an engineer, or in Spain maybe an architect, and this will require breaking into the structure and looking at it to check its condition. We do this fairly routinely when we are evaluating a refurbishment to understand the make-up of a building. You would need the owner’s permission and it would require a second visit with some workmen. If we cant break into the structure because it is not your property yet then we make an evaluation from what we can see based on our experience and professional judgement.

Eco Vida Homes runs a team of architects. For qualified clients (a qualified client is someone we like and who has persuaded us they are serious about getting started) we offer a free site appraisal. We will visit the property with you before you buy it, discuss your plans, get your questions answered, and help you decide what is feasible within your budget and where the problems lie. There is no charge.

Why would we do this for no charge? – Because we may be talking to a potential client. We know we have to build trust by investing in relationships. We know you must get these questions answered before you buy. We’re confident that when you meet us you’ll like us. We are very straight. Our advice will be oral but it will be real and useful. We will charge you later if, and when, you choose us as your architects and project managers to get the job done.

By the way Eco Vida Homes is a company of Chartered Surveyors by virtue of the fact that John Wolfendale is one. So you benefit from all the comfort of their behaviour being regulated by the RICS of London and yes we are fiercely independent. In fact being independent is one of the things that marks us out from the competition as do the file full of letters from grateful clients we can show you.

Why not give us call? John Wolfendale 606380244