October 28 2019

The Role of the Building Surveyor.

Making a House Call : All in a days work for a Building Surveyor.

With the recently completed planned maintenance of a Regency terrace, Kevin Bashford is taking the opportunity to reflect on his job as a Chartered Surveyor. Kevin sees himself as a doctor for buildings, analysing, diagnosing and working to treat the ailments.

Making a Diagnosis

This project required a knowledge of defects analysis, or ‘building pathology’, as it is also sometimes known. Defects analysis is the glue which binds together all building surveyors. While some choose to branch off into the dark arts of dilapidations, party walls and rights to light, for most surveyors the draw of understanding buildings and what goes wrong with them, remains a constant thread and an evolving challenge throughout their careers.

At MacConvilles Surveying, we inspect and examine, we look to identify the symptoms and diagnose what is wrong. We look at the overall health of the building to put the problem into context, and we seek to prescribe remedial action and cure the ailment. 


A bit like a GP meeting a patient for the first time, we are not always able to immediately identify the problem. Sometimes, further exploratory works are necessary to confirm our suspicions. Throughout the process of defects diagnosis there remains a need to be as analytical and systematic in our approach to buildings as a doctor would be to their patient. Action should be targeted and follow the chain of likely causation.

Treating the Ailment.

The challenge for building surveyors is the sheer range of defects that can affect buildings, as methods of construction and materials have changed over the decades. In central Brighton and Hove we are blessed with some classical Regency architecture dating back almost 200 years. Elsewhere in the city, the architecture is diverse with Victorian and Edwardian influences, as well as emerging methods of modern construction.

Each era comes with its own challenges, requiring surveyors to have a broad knowledge base. Old buildings can be draughty, yet they flex and breathe in a way that modern buildings can’t. Newer buildings are better in terms of energy performance, but they can be brittle, requiring careful management to avoid condensation.

Defects can arise through ineffective design, poor workmanship or poor maintenance. Sometimes the very act of ‘improvement’ can inadvertently lead to defects as modern materials sit uncomfortably in older surroundings. 

With modern buildings come modern defects and the challenge for building surveyors in the future will be to evolve with the new, whilst keeping an eye on the old. The struggle is real but inspiring. 

If you have a property in poor health, Contact Us and talk to one of our Surveyors today.



Posted in Building Surveying, Housing, MacConvilles News, News

sarah-harrison