esurv (e.surv) home surveyors definitely NOT recommended

Stuart Wright

AVForums Founder
Staff member
When we got a mortgage from Barclays/Woolwich, we took their advice and took a house survey using their recommended surveyor. They suggested one of three surveys ranging from the cheapest, least comprihensive, to the most expensive (over a grand) and most comprehensive.
We stupidly chose the most comprehensive survey thinking that would be the best option for picking up on all potential problems.
Far from it.
The sewage report just stated the drains could not be checked because the inspection covers were screwed down. For over a grand I would expect them to be thoroughly inspected. Not only that but the sewage pumping station in our garden which sends the sewage from our house and four of the neighbours' was not even mentioned in the report.
After moving in, we and our neighbours had to spend over £3,000 replacing the faulty pumps.
So e.surv failed dysmally to spot a huge problem with the sewage and after we complained, failed to acknowledge any fault.
We DO NOT recommend anyone use e.surv for their surveys.


Distinguished Member
And the worst is most surveyors have get out clause saying they're not responsible for any cost should they miss anything in their report.


Distinguished Member
I forget who we used but we had a very similar experience - will be interesting to see if it's the same. I think we paid similar, and everything was 'x couldn't be checked because something was in the way' - the survey was about 20 pages long, which looked good initially, but it was all boilerplate text, with the odd personal bit thrown in (e.g. roofs are sometimes flat and that can be bad for various reasons - you would need a special flat roof check. We couldn't tell if your was or not as we didn't have a long enough ladder).

We know someone who had to replace all their roof-trusses not long after they moved in, as they were rotten. They argued the surveyor should have seen it, and won (in court) - so the surveyor had to cough up the £20K bill.


Well-known Member
We had our house surveyed aswell and everything was "Fine" 4 months in and we had to completely replace the flat roof on the extension. That was a £1500. Needless tto say I wasnt very happy.


Standard Member
In 2009, my mother helped my buy my first house. Esurv, the company recommended by tthe morgage provider ( Barclays/ woolwich) carried out the survey. We immediately started working through the issues flagged up as urgent in the Esurv report, treating various timbers (including in the loft space) having new firewalls erected in the loft, replacing guttering and fascia boards etc. We then turned out attention to the advice that 'the roof is in a servicable state of repair and free from visible distortion, but some strengthening may be required'

We called a builder to advise on how to go about strenghtening the existing roof structure anticipating at most £10,000. He stuck his head into the loft space, swore loudly and said "you need a structral engineer." He wouldn't even go up in to the loft, because he thought there was an actual possibility of his weight bringing the whole lot down! from that I surmise that the surveyor hadn't even looked into the loft space. A 750kg water tank was resting on two flimsy ceiling beams, the strain, poorly distributed had actually broken a purline. The roof was sagging badly, partly due the original slates having been replaced by heavier concrete tiles (which we were aware of), but more so because two dormers had been cut into the roof, and not properly reinforced.The dormers were collapsing back into the house and the ridge was sagging causing some of the beams to pull off the ridge timber- one was not attached at its top end at all, and several others were clinging on by their fingertips ( the builder took photos throughout the works, so we have pictorial evidence of the problems) As I'm sure you can undestand from the above, the roof was in a dangerous state, and it is possible the whole thing could have given way, in which case a 750kg tank would have been unleashed on the bedroom below.

I would add that the ridge, and the area around the front dormer is visibly sagging in photos taken at the time of purchase, something that should ( one might think) have raised alarm bells in any surveyors mind- I attributed this to the age of the house and nothing more- but I not a surveyor!

The whole roof structure had to be removed and completly replaced at an cost of approximately £25,000. Our total losses, including professional fees, removals, storage, redecorating etc, have been assessed professionally at over £40,000. (And before you ask, of course we explored less drastic options- but the roof was way beyond any sort of minor remedial works.) And to add insult to injury, the timbers we'd paid to have treated at the beginning and the new fire walls all had to be ripped out and replaced.

The cost of the necessary works was far higher than had been anticipated based on Esurv's report and the unexpected expenditure and disruption has put a severe strain on me and my mother. Were it not for her help, and some fortunate coincidences, I would have lost the house and with it any chance of getting on the property ladder for the forseeable future. As it is the last few months have been very difficult, even meeting day to day living expenses has been a challenge and the inevitable, seemingly minor expenses you'd expect as part of running a house have occasioned distress disproportionate to their size.

The work began in April of last year, and since that time my mother has been in contact with Esurv with the aim of recovering a realistic amount, to bring us back to the position we would have been in with proper advice at the time of purchase. I can only say esurv have been very unhelpful, presumably seeking to prolong the process until we give up. Currently the correspondence consists of wholly inadequate offers, (bordering on insulting) and preposterous objections and suggestions from the claims department and their appointed 'expert', suggesting (for instance) that we could have done the job for less if we had permanently abandoned the top floor accommodation! The professional diminution survey we were forced to get (esurv refused to consider our claim without one) has been completely ignored, although we used an individual who works regularly FOR esurv in this capacity.

We have come to the conclusion that regrettably the only way to make progress is to take them to court, to bring an end to the time consuming and fruitless communications with Esurv.

It is clear that Esurv's only interest in the matter was protecting the bank's investment and now minimising their costs, and not acting in the interests of their clients, or taking responsibility for the devastating consequences of their professional failings.


Distinguished Member
Surveyors, don't get me started..... We chose the 'medium' option for this house when we were looking to buy back in 2001. The floor on the outrigger was a bit wonky, as was one of the bedroom doors, but the surveyor passed it as ok. He spent all of about five minutes up in the loft.

When we moved in, as you do, we noticed that the other doors on the outrigger were also wonky and the ceiling looked slightly bowed down below. We'd used a professional outfit to check the roof in our previous house, and a structural engineer came out to check this one from the same firm. He was flabbergasted that the surveyor hadn't picked up the fact that key timbers had been removed by the previous owner and that the roof was now being supported by the door frame below! :eek:

He recommend immediate remedial work involving an RSJ being put in and new timbers supporting the roof be placed on it. He told us we shouldn't be paying for this, the surveyor should as they'd messed up.

Cue a row.........

The surveyor came out again, same guy, and claimed there was no issue, and the engineer was making a fuss about nothing. Thankfully he put that in writing. Once we received the 'we aren't interested the engineer is talking crap' letter we called the engineer, who came straight (and I mean virtually once the phone was on the hook) out. He was absolutely livid. He went back up in the loft, came down, and said, free of charge, he would ring the surveyor once he reached the office.

A few days later we received another letter. This time (without prejudice) the surveyors were prepared to meet the costs of the work, and, once the estimates were in, agreed the one we wanted, and paid up (without prejudice).

From this we learned a) surveyors are crap, b) Structural engineers don't like their professional opinion being questioned and c) when it is they move hell and high water to make sure they are not impugned again!
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Distinguished Member
We had our house surveyed aswell and everything was "Fine" 4 months in and we had to completely replace the flat roof on the extension. That was a £1500. Needless tto say I wasnt very happy.

This also happened to me and my wife.

Moved into house Oct 2011.

Mid Oct roof leaking like a teabag.

By Decemeber 2011 3 different roof companies told us we needed a whole new roof. £20K of savings meant for house improvements up the swany and now we are having to scrimp and save as best we can to do the work we knew needed done.

We had a "full" survey done and the amount of ACE that was in the survey was unbelievable to the point I could have done the survey if I had known the correct bull:censored: bingo words to use!!!

Roof had words to the affect - inspected loft space and no leaks were found, however it was a dry day and no water tests were carried out.
Same stuff you had for drain covers.

For the amount of money we spent on the survey I would expected him to climb on the roof, wee on it or use organic spring water to confirm it was leaking. Along with that rifle through the waste pipe and tell me what they had for tea the previous night!!!!

When we tried to go back to them we were advised there was no point because the caveats had them covered and even if it hadn't then the legal costs of going through the process of suing them would have been expensive and protracted.

If only I could remember the name of the company so I could condemn them publicly.

EDIT: just in case it did not come across in my post, I did not type this reply on my keyboard. I bashed every key with a raging torrent of anger!!!! G....rrrrr!

kip waistell

Novice Member
We bought a medieval house in 2010 with a Barclays mortgage and they put us with ESurv for the survey, which valued the house at what we were paying for it. A few months later, post purchase, we discovered the house was riddled with death watch beetle, was structurally unsound and basically in danger of collapse. We are in the course of suing E Surv for hundreds of thousands of pounds for repairs, which in total will cost more than the price of the house. We have had 5 years of supreme stress, upset and hell...nothing could compensate us for what we have suffered...and because of the way damages are calculated, thanks to UK precedent law, we do not even believe we will recover the majority of what we have had to spend.

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