Well, this is a debate which continues to have no specific conclusion and has been considered many, many times over the years. It is true to say that most Companies affiliated to the PCA (Property Care Association) have, at some point, considered this question. Some Companies now charge for all surveys / inspections, while others do not.
Essentially, the PCA would prefer that all Companies do actually charge for surveys; especially those which generate a report and quotation. In many respects it seems so right to do so, and if every PCA Company adopted this policy there would at least be some sort of uniformity. The question which may be on your lips at this stage, then, is “so why don’t you always charge?”.
In an ideal sense we would like to have some sort of consistency in this respect, but in reality there could be a number of reasons why we would not charge when asked the question “Do you charge for surveys?”, which is sometimes the first question asked when people enquire.
The answer is always going to be:
Yes! We do make a very reasonable, nominal charge for surveys on some occasions but on others, we don’t charge. In reality, we charge for our inspections on far fewer occasions, to those undertaken without charge.
Some of the reasons we would not charge:
- You are an existing client who has used us previously for undertaking remedial work.
- You have been recommended to use our services by an existing client.
- You are prepared to meet with our Surveyor at the time of the inspection, so that you can be made fully aware of the extent of the inspection, the findings and scope of recommendations.
- You are part of a larger organisation which looks after numerous properties, such as a Managing Agent, Housing Association, Local Government etc.
- You have been recommended to us by an independent Surveyor, who has identified the extent of treatment necessary.
- You are able to provide a specification of work / bill of quantities from which we are to provide a quotation.
Some of the reasons we may agree a reasonable charge:
- The reason for the survey is due the presence of condensation within the property.
- The reason for the survey is due to radon gases in the property.
- The property which is to be inspected is relatively new i.e. a property which is less than 40-50 years old.
- You are not able to meet with our surveyor and expect us to collect keys from an Estate Agent, which may be some distance from the property.
- The reason for the survey is due to a suspected failure of previously undertaken, guaranteed remedial work by Preservation Treatments, or, indeed, other Companies.
- The type and size of the property and the extent of survey which is to be carried out.
Both these two lists are not exhaustive, and the important thing is you discuss the reasons for the survey enquiry with our Surveyors Secretary when you call in, who can advise, at that stage, whether there would or would not be a charge.
If it is confirmed to you that a charge will be applicable, the amount of that charge would also be clarified. Importantly, where a charge is being paid for the initial inspection, that figure agreed will be deducted from the final invoice, where the remedial work specified is subsequently agreed.
The reasonable charges we may make for our inspections simply go some way to cover some initial costs. Those are for our Surveyors attendance, his time at the property and putting the report together, and the time taken in compiling the report and enclosures which is then sent to you. The charges made certainly don’t cover all those costs.
As you will probably have gathered, there is no hard and fast rule where charging for surveys is concerned and we feel that is how it should remain. So please make sure you provide all relevant information when you call to arrange a survey, so that we know whether or not the survey should be carried out with, or without, charge. Remember, if a charge is applicable, the amount paid will be deducted from the final invoice for work subsequently undertaken.