Blog Post

Are snagging surveys worth the time and cost?

28.05.2021 | 6 min read | Written by Alexandra Hasek

There are plenty of companies that offer snagging surveys. They bring expertise from the construction industry and offer advice on what homeowners can ask contractors to fix. If you’re a small construction company, it can also be helpful to have a snagging survey completed by an independent expert before handover. That way, you ensure you hand over high-quality work, building your reputation and saving money on repairs during the warranty period.

Snagging survey in progress in an office building

But are snagging surveys worth the extra time and cost? This article considers the pros and cons.

Snagging surveys for homeowners

Snagging surveyors don’t need particular accreditation to carry out the inspection. However, many are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA). With that in mind, there are several things you should be aware of when choosing a professional snagging service.

Firstly, you should ensure that the survey is independent and unbiased. This means checking for any conflict of interest, like whether the snagging surveyor has connections to the housebuilder. If you are a construction company, does this surveyor work with other companies like yours?

Secondly, make sure that the snagging service is actually professional. Look at the background and experience of surveyors. How many snagging inspections have they completed? Can you find testimonials from their previous clients?

Finally, customers should request a written contract of everything included and not included in the service before the inspection begins. This ranges from the types of systems tested to the format of the final report. Evidence is crucial in snagging, so when choosing a professional snagging service, make sure the surveyors provide photos and documentation for every issue they find. 

Some snagging professionals are also Clerks of Works, who typically complete snagging surveys on behalf of the developer, rather than the homeowner. Commissioning these surveys means that housebuilders can be confident their work is of a high standard before passing it over to buyers. Builders can also employ Clerks of Works to inspect projects throughout the building process for the most thorough quality assurance.

Case study: Site inspections & surveys using PlanRadar

When should you commission a snagging survey?

Property investments UK recommends getting a snagging survey done before the sale of the house is completed. Doing so gives homeowners more leverage with housebuilders and developers, who may be more likely to fix issues while the final payment is still outstanding. However, housebuilders have a legal obligation to repair construction issues, so they should respond to snagging surveys at any point within the warranty period. 

If the homeowners have already moved into their property and have discovered issues, a professional snagging survey can give them evidence of the faults. In some cases, builders ask new occupants to complete their own snag list within two weeks of moving in. This gives housebuilders and developers an idea of whether the property is fit for purpose, as well as the kind of issues they can expect to find. 

There is an ongoing debate about whether a homeowner should have a snagging survey done both before and after purchasing the property. This is called “resnagging”. There is no one size fits all approach to snagging. The timing of the first survey, and whether you need a second survey or resnagging, depends on your circumstances.

Is there an opportunity to order a snagging survey before the purchase of the house? Is resnagging every issue necessary, or are you happy with the initial improvements? Do you need a second opinion, or has the snagging company given you enough evidence of repairs?

The most important consideration when snagging is whether the surveyor has the relevant expertise to provide a thorough report. Recording snags accurately is in the interest of both housebuilders and homeowners, so it is worth exploring the options.

Related reading: Find out more about what PlanRadar can do for snagging

What should you expect from snagging surveys?

The cost of a snagging survey varies depending on the size of the property. However, homeowners can typically expect to spend between £300 and £500. Additionally, the survey can take up to five hours to complete. It is important to check every detail for faults to avoid issues later on. Snagging means finding anything that is not working properly, and reporting the issues to be fixed by the housebuilder. This takes time to complete to a high standard.

A professional snagging survey will split the house into sections, either by room or systems used. Make sure to use a company that includes the exterior of the house and the driveway if applicable. You can also divide snags into major and minor issues. Major snags are things that prevent functioning, from a lack of hot water to missing door handles. Minor snags are generally cosmetic issues, like uneven paintwork or scratched surfaces. 

Learn more: The most common snags

Every snagging report should include thorough records of all faults. It should preferably include photographs. You need evidence to prove the snags are the housebuilder’s responsibility, so a good snagging company will provide a comprehensive report. Snagging is well worth the investment, but remember that homeowners should always request a signed report from the surveyor. You should also request the snagging report in a digital format. Construction software like PlanRadar makes it simple to produce snagging reports, enabling surveyors to include photographs, plan annotations and their own notes. Digitising snagging reports also ensures that surveyors can record and transfer evidence securely. That saves time but also ensures that you are safely storing data in the event of any claims.

Related reading: Discover how PlanRadar can help you create, find & resolve snag lists seamlessly

How can PlanRadar help?

Surveyors who use a software solution like PlanRadar can get their paperwork done faster and more accurately, as they don’t need to copy over physical notes. All photo evidence is also automatically pinned to the right issue or location on a plan.

With PlanRadar, users can digitise the snagging process, submit construction defect data and track the status of repairs in real-time. Instead of completing snagging lists manually with a checklist, tape measure and camera, inspectors log everything using one device. They can also record data while on-site, using the app to create work tickets with annotations and images attached. Each ticket also has a chat function that enables communication between different stakeholders. The app ensures that all the relevant people stay informed about a project’s progress. PlanRadar’s software collates the collected data and turns it into a snag list. This saves time and reduces the risk of overlooking any details.

Find out how PlanRadar can improve your snagging process by booking a free consultation, or try a 30-day free trial today to test it for yourself.

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