LivingstonClark Surveyors

It has been bubbling along in the background but together with Andy Pang at Penman Clark I have set up a property consultancy to better service commercial clients.

The business is ‘Livingston Clark’. It is VAT registered, is regulated by the RICS and is registered with the Property Redress Scheme. It’s currently split between the offices of PFM Ltd (Wetherby) and Penman Clark (Wakefield) but we’re hoping to move it into new premises in Wetherby in the coming months.

The website is and for now the phone numbers remain the same. You can reach me at and Andy at .

Hardening Buildings to Physical Threats

Trebuchets, catapults and battering rams have long gone out of fashion for overcoming a building as too are the days of relying on a moat, a heavy timber door and a five-lever mortice lock.

Most modern threats to businesses often come in electronic form but unfortunately there is a rise in physical threats to businesses and people. Whether it be a telehandler being used to remove a cash machine or a car being used to do harm against members of the public. Physical security and hardening of structures is an area we all need to consider.

Design physical security poorly and it can feel like you’re entering a prison. Do it well and your building users won’t even notice they’ve entered an area hardened against vehicles.

I’ve been designing approaches to public and private buildings for over ten years. Whether you’re a property management firm, architects or landscape architects I would be more than happy to review either your current arrangements or proposed development.


Do I really need a survey?

No you don’t. A survey is for your benefit alone and if you feel you don’t need one then you do not have get one.

Some people rely on the ‘Mortgage Valuation’ which is often incorrectly referred to as a survey. A valuation is just that, a valuation. It is carried out by a Registered Valuer and is for the benefit of the mortgage company so they know they can sell the house and get back their investment in the property.

Various studies have suggested that people save money by renegotiating the purchase price of the property following the findings of the report but that is very dependent on the market at the time. More typically you should consider them as a heads-up on what parts of the property require attention.

Types of Survey

There are three levels of Residential Survey, from level 1 being the most basic to level 3 being the most in-depth.

Level 1 Survey:

RICS Condition Report – Often the cheapest way to get a Chartered Surveyor into the property and provides you with an easy to follow ‘traffic light’ report highlighting any significant issues. The report doesn’t involve much investigation into the structure of the property and details are assumed where not readily accessible.

Level 2 Survey:

RICS Homebuyer Report (Survey) – A new product under development by the RICS. It is essentially a new version of the RICS Homebuyer Report (Survey and Valuation) as below but without the valuation. This is a report offered by Pete Flint Murray Ltd.

RICS Homebuyer Report (Survey and Valuation) – By far the most commonly asked for survey. This is a more in depth version of the Level 1 survey. The surveyor will typically spend an 1 ½  to 2 Hours on site. The ‘traffic light’ report goes into detail about the various elements of the building and any issues found. This level of survey does not require the surveyor to move items in cupboards, move furniture or investigate the detail of the structure. This survey comes with a valuation and insurance reinstatement valuation.

SAVA Home Condition Survey – Offered by SAVA registered Surveyors this product is similar to the RICS Homebuyer Report (Survey) but in a slightly different format.

Level 3 Survey:

RICS Building Survey – Sometimes referred to as a structural survey, this is the most involved of the residential surveys and the one advised for any non-standard or any older properties. The RICS Building Survey gives you a detailed report on the different elements of the building along with the ‘traffic light’ guide to issues found. This survey requires the surveyor to look in cupboards, move items and move furniture. It also requires that the surveyor investigates the structure thoroughly and enter any hard to reach places, within reason. Where you have specific concerns you can ask the surveyor to investigate these further and report them via this survey type. A Surveyor will be on site for 2 to 3 ½ Hours.

Bespoke Surveys – If you would like to commission a surveyor outside of the usual suite of surveys then you can discuss with them putting together a bespoke survey. This could take the form of a detailed condition survey or  a short form report on an issue raised by your mortgage valuation.

Choosing a Surveyor

It is important that you choose a surveyor who understands your building thoroughly. There is little point in having someone identify a crack in a property if they do not understand the likely cause. What could be some localised plaster repairs could be a substantial claim for mining damage or vice versa.

Do some research, does the surveyor have experience with that type of property? Are they qualified to issue that type of Survey? Use a site such as the RICS ‘find a surveyor’ website. If you’re using a big firm, ask for the details of the specific surveyor and look up their details. Every Chartered Surveyor is listed on the RICS website giving the date they qualified and their specialism.

Most importantly you must feel free to ask questions. This is a report produced for your benefit on what could be the largest purchase any of us is ever likely to make.

About the author

Pete Flint-Murray is a Chartered Building Surveyor and Chartered Building Engineer. He has over ten years’ experience in the industry and currently runs a practice undertaking residential surveys, specialist property reports and offering consultancy services to larger property companies. He specialises in stone built Victorian properties but has experience with a wide array of structures.
01937 520059

HomeBuyer Report (Survey Only) – Update


I set this business up to take a step back from the rat race of commercial consultancy and the primary vehicle to do this was the HomeBuyer Report. This is a survey product offered by the RICS and is the survey product everyone has heard of and asks for.

Last year the RICS did some work and identified that the valuation element could be dropped and this would allow those of us who do not want to get involved with valuation. The ‘survey only’ version of the report has been expected since then. In July this year the Practice Note was issued and a date for the launch was mooted. In August this year I received confirmation that the ‘New’ RICS HomeBuyer Report Survey (without the valuation) would be launched on the 12th of September.

This morning I was advised that the report has not been launched and they no longer have a fixed date for launch.

Those who I have already got booked on will be offered an upgrade to the RICS Building Survey. Going forward if we don’t get a firm date on the RICS HomeBuyer Report Survey I will look to switch to the SAVA Home Condition Report.

If you’re looking to purchase a property (residential or commercial) in Leeds, York or South Yorkshire please feel to drop me a line for  some advice. I have experienced Chartered Building Surveyors covering these areas ready to help.

September Update

How is it September already?!

But this is fantastic news for us as we’re able to start offer the new RICS HomeBuyer Report (Survey) from THIS MONTH. We have already taken our first booking for one and will be completing straight after the new survey goes live on the 12th of this month!

So from £350 (VAT not applicable) you’ll get an RICS Chartered Building Surveyor to inspect your potential purchase and get a detailed report with traffic light indicators of its condition.

If you’re buying somewhere older or somewhere that’s been extended or is a bit more complicated we offer the RICS Building Survey (sometimes referred to as a Structural Survey). These start from £550 (again VAT not applicable) are more involved.

For more information on either of these surveys, to book or to just for a chat drop Pete an email at pete@peteflintmurray.comor fill out the contact form.



August HomeBuyer News

A rare day in the office today. Catching up with sending out quotes and writing up a Schedule of Condition for a retained commercial client.

We had confirmation this week from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that the new ‘survey only’ version of the RICS HomeBuyer Report will go live on the 12th September.

This will widen our product offering to the residential market and compliment the bespoke surveys, defect reports and RICS Building Survey (sometimes referred to as a structural survey) we have been providing to the public already.

If you or your business have any requirements please do not hesitate to get in contact




I have been getting a little nervous lately that the launch date for the RICS Homebuyer (Survey only) Report hadn’t been announced. Today the RICS let me know that the release date is looking like the 19th of May!

There are three levels of home survey and the one most people want is the RICS Homebuyer Report. Up until now this has had a valuation element which has meant that they were typically carried out by valuation surveyors.

Once the new report is launched I will be able to offer the new RICS Homebuyer Report as well as the RICS Building Survey.

If you would like to discuss this or any other Surveying requirements please feel free to get in contact.