Looking for a Survey in East London  



I'm in the process of purchasing a BISF house in Loughton.  We felt that we'd done all of our homework, had a structural survey done a month ago which came back clean, adn are moving forward well with the purchase.

This was all fine, until today when our prospective mortgage provider, Santandar, are now digging in their heels because they need a particular set of qualifications attached to the Structural report, as we didn't have it signed off by the correctly qualified structural engineer.

The first one i've spoken to wants to charge us a small fortune + builder fees and take the external render off in 4-5 places which is a bit nervewracking and depressing for us.

Is anyone able to point me in the direction of a surveyor who can do a structural engineers report without seemingly dismantling a large portion of the house first ?


Hello MC, I'm quite astonished to hear what happened with your purchase as I have never heard of Santander suddenly taking this stance before.

Can you provide further detail please as to what Santander are specifically requesting?

You can reply direct to [email protected] if you wish to keep certain elements private.

My thoughts would lie with the originating surveyor who you have already paid. If he/she was not suitably qualified, then why did they undertake the survey in the first place?

Even so, if part of a broader company of surveyors, I would fully expect them to supply a suitably qualified surveyor to re-survey the property again at no extra cost.

As for the request of an invasive survey including the removal of external surfaces, these can be very expensive indeed, mainly due to the cost of putting right whatever is removed. A borescope survey would be far less invasive and can be conducted through very small holes in the interior plasterboard without requiring vast expense.

I would first speak directly to your mortgage underwriting team. You are allowed to speak to them directly although most switchboard operators don't like putting clients through directly and discuss the situation further.

I also sincerely hope that you surveyor has identified the property correctly as a BISF house, because all too often they don't. This leads to all sorts of issues further down the line as a direct result of the surveyor providing the wrong information.

I would be interested in reading the original survey report if possible but obviously I would not expect you to post the contents here.

As for a Surveyor, I have spoken with Steve Downes at Hinton & Downes Estate Agents, based in Harrow. Steve has a huge amount of experience with BISF house sales and he has informed me that Santander have made a number of changes in relation to their surveying department. In the past, Santander used their own in house surveyors who were very experienced with a wide range of Non-Traditional build types. This ensured that the vast majority of surveys went through without any major glitches. However, this work has now been farmed out to other companies, who sadly, do not always provide the correct surveyor for the job.

For example, a valuer should never conduct a structural survey, simply because he does not have the required qualifications.

Steve suggested that you could contact Mr Barry Smith who is a qualified surveyor who has a great deal of experience with BISF surveys. He can be contacted on 0208 446 4650

Please let me know how you progress.






I'm inclined to agree that the changes in their survey team have lead to these problems.  The valuation report states a number of incorrect assumptions about the house, including an assertion that "it is impossible to accurately value the house as there are no others like it in the area".  I can see 10 from the front window.   


The section of particular interest, which is particularly vexing states:

"Obtain a specialist report and carry out any recommendations in respect of the trees noted in section 10 above (2 small trees near the house).  
Obtain a report from a qualified structural engineer advising on the structural stability of the property as a whole.  Any recommendations must be carried out under professional supervision.  The inspection should include an examination of the structure including opening up of concealed elements."


I've pushed back to the mortgage company but they are refusing to clarify the statements only saying "we need what the valuation report says" which is swear-inducingly frustrating.  The valuation in question was done by a company in Kettering (i've withheld the name so's not to cast aspersions), and I feel the odds they have done a proper survey, rather than look it up on google maps, are vanishingly small.  It is correctly identified as a BISF house however.


I'll speak to the next surveyor i've lined up and ask if he could boroscope the frame, thanks for that tip.


I'm also in contact with Nationwide, and doing a more thorough investigation of what they consider evidence of the house's structure., and trying not to scream.

Just a further note, I have just spoken to Santander, via their intermediaries department.

I have not made reference to your specific case or location but I suggested a hypothetical scenario similar to what you have experienced.

Santander stated that they are happy and willing to help any customer in any way they can to achieve a positive outcome and experience depending upon survey results. They stated that when a valuation survey is carried out, they may require an additional structural survey to delve deeper into the property and to establish suitability for lending purposes. They encourage any customer to contact them directly in order to discuss their individual case and to provide further clarity to any requests made. The Santander Mortgage Centre contact number is 0800 0851690.

In your case though, you stated that you ordered a structural survey in the first place, which leaves me a little beleaguered as to the request for a further survey as one would have expected the surveyor to have been appropriately qualified in the first instance.

I as also informed that Legal and General now undertake the majority of surveys for Santander.


I think I would be spitting feathers too to be honest.

You may well be better off going with Halifax as no two lenders think totally alike. It's a bit like having an MOT test on a car. One garage might fail the car but the second garage round the corner will give it a pass. Except here, we are dealing with your hard earned cash.

Apologies for my cross post above, I must have written it just after your reply.

The tree issue I can understand but if they were small and sufficient distance from the house, your surveyor should have stated so. 

I hope your next move goes a little smoother. 

Let us know if it goes through and best of luck.


Hi again.

I return with good news.   After getting sick of Santander's position, i asked my mortgage broker to go back out there and see what he could find, and he found us 0.05% cheaper rate with Nationwide.

They send a real flesh and blood surveyor around, who knows the local area & BISF houses and the mortgage was summarily approved a day later.

So hopefully all's well that ends well, and a Pox on Google Maps surveyors!

Brilliant result!
What a stark contrast between two different mortgage providers and the surveyors that they employ.
Santander are one of the country’s leading providers of Non-Trad mortgages along with Nationwide.
Santander have vast experience in this field, yet time and time again, we hear of situations such as yours, where a below par surveyor produces a report which the client has paid for and which inevitably causes the entire purchase to grind to a halt.

Worse still, the client appears to have little or no redress.
This must be one of the few services where we the public, pay for a professional service that is sometimes not fit for purpose and which should, in my opinion be investigated and refunded where appropriate.

It is easy to see how negativity can arise in relation to the purchase of any form of Non-traditional property, let alone a BISF house.

I'm pretty sure that most people would not have had the grit and determination that you have shown, with most choosing to walk away, viewing the property as unmortgageable when nothing could b further from the truth.
As we have stated so many times before, the greatest obstacle to a successful BISF House purchase falls squarely on the shoulders of the surveyor and all too frequently, they fail to do their job properly.

Thank you for sharing your experience with us MC.

I am sure your case will offer a valuable insight into what can go wrong and how best to remedy the situation.


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