Chartered Building Surveyor

Surveys across France from East to West

>No blog posts for 6 months !

That’s because I was kept very busy through the autumn of 2010, travelling to all points of the compass to carry out pre-purchase surveys for property buyers across the southern half of France.
Trips over to the east, sometimes criss-crossing the Swiss border either side of Lake Geneva, were for surveys that included alpine chalets.


Trips to the west were to properties in the foothills of the Pyrenees – where the peaks were already becoming snow covered early in October.
And once again I found myself working in Ceret, a town known for its modern art, located in the prime cherry-growing region of France, and very popular with British buyers.

To the north I carried out surveys in Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne and Haute Vienne: I’ve lost count with the number of times I’ve driven up and down the A20, but the scenery always makes it a pleasant journey.
More about Haute-Vienne in my next post.

Make sure you get the right kind of surveyor in France

>Unlike the word Doctor, or solicitor, there is no restriction on the word Surveyor. Anyone can call themself a Surveyor !

However, Chartered Surveyors, i. e. members of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) are qualified by examination and experience and have to conform to a strict Code of professional conduct. At the present time there are about 95,500 qualified Chartered Surveyors worldwide, all with the letters MRICS or FRICS after their names. What isn’t always appreciated, however, is that Chartered Surveyors train and qualify in one of seven disciplines, and the sort of work undertaken by one kind of Chartered Surveyor can be quite different from that undertaken by another. This is rather like doctors with the same letters after their names; they may have quite different specialties – and you need to make sure you are dealing with the right one.

Those who have trained and qualified as Chartered Building Surveyors understand how building materials are best used, how buildings are constructed, how building problems occur – and how they are resolved, how buildings should be repaired and maintained, and so on. These are the surveyors who deal with the “nuts and bolts” of buildings – and building problems.

Anyone can call themself a building surveyor, and some chartered surveyors might belong to a building surveying faculty. But relatively few are qualified as Chartered Building Surveyors.

At the present time there are about 9,250 qualified Chartered Building Surveyors worldwide. Only 24 are registered in France.

Ian Morris is a Chartered Building Surveyor …. a building pathologist.

And he is registered in France.
For more details visit

Don’t just take my word for it …


I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard it said: “Oh, people don’t have surveys in France.”
Well they certainly do, and anyone telling you otherwise should probably know better. It is true the French themselves hardly ever commission a pre-purchase survey, partly for historic reasons and partly because there are still very few French building surveyors. But many English-speaking buyers wouldn’t dream of buying a house in France without first obtaining a proper survey.

For more information I think you’ll find this independent WikiHow article of interest:

Two new houses with problems.

> Its not just old houses that have problems. Next week I have appointments to inspect two newly built houses, one on the deparment of Aude and one in Gard, where problems in the construction are known to exist. In each case I have been asked by the English buyers to assist at the “handover” procedure: At the very least I anticipate I will be asked to produce “snagging lists”, in French, and I will probably have to go back again later to make sure the remedial works have been carried out properly. This is a service I am asked to provide on a fairly regular basis in France.

Najac – one of the most beautiful villages in France.

>This pretty village in the department of Aveyron is one of the stops on the pilgrim route of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle. The house I have been asked to survey here nestles within the shadow of the castle – built as a royal fortress in 1253 – and is itself said to date from the 13th century.

The portcullis was up in Nebian, Herault.

>My latest survey, last week, was of a quaint house directly overlooking the portcullis tower of this ancient fortified village – originally a stronghold of the Knights Templar. I learned that the present portculls, a full-size reproduction of the original, constructed of oak from the department of Tarn, was hand-made by Jim Buck, a retired Englishman who has been a Nebian conseiller municipal for the past eight years.

Surveyor in France – just launching my new blog !

>For posts about pre-purchase French property surveys, articles & more …. visit !