The word “survey” is applied loosely to all types of surveyors’ reports. Other words used to describe the same type of report are appraisals, assessments, or investigations.
The expression “structural survey” is normally used to refer to the report on a building made by a structural engineer.
The expression “condition survey” usually refers to a survey carried out on a building at the behest of a developer who is going to carry on major building works on a building or site adjoining.
A condition survey is usually carried out by a structural engineer and is backed up with photographs of any cracking or flaws found. The intention is that, if the building that’s the subject of the report is damaged by the adjoining building operations, there is evidence available to show which defects were caused by the building work and which already existed.
The expression “condition survey” is also used to describe a survey carried out on an existing property which is being leased where the landlord and tenant wish to agree and have a written record of its present condition. This is usually where a building is being leased and the prospective tenant refuses to take full responsibility for more than keeping it in at least a similar state of repair.