Anyone from the UK thinking of buying a property in the South of France will likely be familiar with the process of having a building survey conducted prior to purchase. As such, many overseas buyers are surprised to learn that building surveys in France are simply not the done thing. Indeed, there is no such profession as a building surveyor in France.


Instead, when buying a property, most French buyers use a local builder or architect to inspect the property. However, these people are not necessarily impartial – after all, they may well be looking to secure work after a sale is completed.


It is therefore crucial to have a structural survey conducted by a completely independent professional who will give you an honest appraisal.


This post will provide an overview of building surveys in France, when you should think about getting one, how much you can expect to spend on a building survey, and how to find a trusted building surveyor in France.

Diagnostic Surveys in France

Whilst a full structural survey of property in France is not obligatory, diagnostic surveys are. These must be commissioned by the seller, and contain a number of diagnostic reports about the state of the property being sold.


These include energy performance, lead, asbestos, termites, gas and electrical safety, and a natural and technological risks survey.


Read more: Obligatory Diagnostic Surveys in France


It must be emphasised that these surveys are only diagnostic – they by no means uncover the structural integrity of a building. It is for this reason that investing in a full building survey is the best decision a buyer can make. Surveys exist to protect buyers by giving them a full and unbiased picture of any repairs that may be needed upon purchase, and any problems to be aware of in the future.   

Types of Building Survey in France

Thankfully, RICS chartered surveyors like Charles Mackintosh have set up shop in the South of France to help overseas buyers gain full knowledge about the state of property they’re seeking to purchase.


There are three main types of structural survey reports you can commission in France. These vary in scope – so let’s consider them one at a time.


Condition Report


This type of building survey provides the buyer with a brief assessment of the property’s overall condition and is mainly used to identify any urgent defects – best suited for new-build homes in good condition.  


Homebuyer Report


A Homebuyer Report provides a deeper inspection than a Condition Report. It will uncover whether there are any underlying structural problems with the building, such as damp or subsistence, and will include a valuation of the property. This report is most suitable for properties in a reasonable condition, and cost approximately £350-£400.


Read more: What to Expect in a Homebuyer Report from Your South of France Surveyor 


Full Structural Survey


Finally, a Full Structural Survey provides the buyer with a comprehensive appraisal of the building. Buyers can expect an in-depth analysis of the property’s structural condition, as well as full advice on defects, remedial works, and maintenance options. This type of report is recommended for older properties or those in visible need of repair. You can expect to pay approximately £750 for a Full Structural Survey.

Charles Mackintosh – RICS Chartered South of France Building Surveyor

A professional building survey is always in the buyer’s interest. If you’re considering a property purchase in the South of France, get in touch with RICS chartered surveyor Charles Mackintosh. With over 30 years’ experience living and working in the region, Charles specialises in giving English language building surveys and property advice to overseas buyers.