Surveyors undertake a variety of tasks relating to a wide range of properties.
We have pursued numerous claims against surveyors arising from different types of surveys, on both domestic and commercial properties.
Perhaps the most common situation relates to building surveys or structural surveys before purchases of houses. Those are particularly prone to problems where the property involved is historic or rural, or has an unusual design or construction. The surveyor may simply not have enough relevant experience. However, unfortunately problems can arise from surveys upon more commonplace houses. Where the client’s home is affected, the distress caused by the error can be particularly great.
Claims often arise because of a failure to identify structural problems, whether arising from poor construction or from movement or sinking. Those are more difficult where there has only been a valuation survey, although such cases can be successful. Claims also arise from mortgage and purchaser valuations, of both business and residential premises, from dealing with property disputes including boundary and dilapidation cases, and from other advice. Importantly, the courts do accept that although a mortgage valuation is said to be for the benefit of the mortgage company, the purchaser will also rely on it and so can bring a claim for losses suffered where the valuation was inaccurate.
There will almost certainly need to be expert evidence from another surveyor to support the claim. The courts accept that different surveyors may quite properly value properties differently. The report will need to confirm what the surveyor should have done in preparing the particular type of survey undertaken and will need to confirm the areas of negligence.
The valuation of loss requires considerable care and knowledge of case law. Many of the leading cases relating to professional negligence involve surveyors’ negligence. Detailed schedules of necessary remedial work, specialist reports from structural engineers or other professionals, and evidence from lenders if the money needed for the work to be carried out by reputable contractors can all be required. The amount of loss is often the main battleground, and so careful preparation of the claim is vital.