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 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?”
Ideally, we would like to have some sort of consistency in this respect but! in reality, there will be a number of reasons why we would not charge. The question; “Do you charge for surveys?” is often the first question asked by people who call to arrange a survey.
The answer is generally going to be;
Yes! We do make a very reasonable, nominal charge for surveys on some occasions but on others, we don’t charge. The reality is, we charge for our inspections on far fewer occasions, to those undertaken without charge.
Some of the reasons we would not charge are:
- 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 / measured bill of quantities, from which we are to provide a quotation on a tender basis.
Some of the reasons we may wish to agree a reasonable charge are:
- 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 built in the 1960’s or later.
- 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 a different Company, who may not still be trading.
- 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. 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. Where there is a charge for the initial survey, the figure agreed will be deducted from the final invoice where remedial work specified and quoted for in the report, is subsequently agreed.
The reasonable charges we may make for our inspections go some way to cover initial costs. Those are for our Surveyor’s attendance, his time at the property and putting the report together, along with compiling the finished report and enclosures which will be sent to you. It also helps cover the cost of parking and congestion / ULEZ costs. 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.