This is the most thorough and detailed report that you can commission on the condition of a property. The survey must be carried out by a Chartered Surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in which case they will have the letters MRICS or FRICS after their name. The objective of a Building Survey is to identify any particular problems that may exist with a property before you finalize an agreement to purchase. An experienced Building Surveyor is able to cast an expert's eye over the building with the possibility that they may pick up things that you have missed. Please note that a Building Survey does not normally include a valuation.
Building Surveys are sometimes (confusingly) referred to as Full Structural Surveys as they provide a detailed report on the property's construction and condition. In general terms a Building Survey is recommended for older houses or houses that may have problems, however they can be applied to any age of property and are particularly helpful for dilapidated properties and those that have been extensively altered. Building Surveys are also useful if you plan to renovate or convert the property.