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The new ISVA HomeSurveyor and RICS HSS

The new ISVA HomeSurvey Report

For the last year, the ISVA HomeSurvey working group has been busy updating the report template and supporting documents to meet the new RICS Home Survey Standard. It has been very challenging work, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic and with frequent changes to RICS deadlines.

My thanks go to everyone who participated in this work and, in particular, the principal contributors, Jason Williams, Martin Brown, Barry Butler and David Carver. In keeping with the underpinning ethos of the Association, they have given their time and expertise for the benefit of all ISVA members and their efforts are greatly appreciated.

RICS Home Survey Standard (HSS)

It is imperative that all surveyors carrying out residential surveys use documents and templates compliant with the RICS HSS.  As well as switching to the new ISVA product, members are strongly advised to read the RICS requirements for themselves.  These can be downloaded from: https://www.rics.org/uk/upholding-professional-standards/sector-standards/building-control/home-surveys/home-survey-standards/

Timetable

After a number of changes to the date HSS would be introduced, we were advised that the new Standard would become enforceable on 01 March 2021 and have been rushing to meet that deadline.  However, yesterday we received the following information:

RICS will be implementing a transition period for the new home survey reports, which will run until 31 August 2021. This means that between 1 March and 31 August, both the old and new formats of the reports will be acceptable. This is to give professionals additional time to implement the updated surveys in the current climate. From 1 September 2021 the new home survey reports must be used.

DAC Beachcroft LLP in Bristol have been appointed as legal advisors to assess, review and tweak our new template, documents and licence so that we can be confident in our use of the report and to ensure full compliance.

We expect to receive the approved draft documents back today and then we need to do some work in-house to tidy and tweak them over the next few days.  So, realistically, it will be at least another week before the new ISVA Home Survey is ready for members to download.  However, the newly-announced transition period gives us all a chance to catch our breath and to make sure that nothing is rushed-through without proper review.

Implementation

The new ISVA report has been made as flexible and as user-friendly as the constraints of the new Standard allows. Members will continue to be able to use their own frequently-used phrases and texts in the new template. A practice note will be published at a later date to sit alongside the documents and template.

The priority of the working group has been to produce documents and templates, outside of a commercial environment, that will allow ISVA surveyors to carry out their jobs in a compliant manner.  We have not pursued this with any software providers to date but would consider opportunities to do so if resources allow in the future.

It is intended that the report and its documents will be published in MS Word .docx format and that they will be password protected.  Different security methods might be introduced over the coming months.

User Licences and (no) Licence Fees

The new report will be available to use under Licence as at present.  We will be contacting all current Licence holders to give the required 14 days’ notice of termination of their old Licences and inviting them to apply for the new one.  All ISVA members will be invited to download the new Licence application from the ISVA website as soon as the legal process has been completed.

In line with current practice, we will not be licencing any Member Firms so each individual surveyor who intends to use the ISVA HomeSurvey Report will need their own Licence.  Unauthorised use of the report template will not be covered by the legal protection offered under the terms of the new Licence.

ISVA is a not-for-profit Association run entirely for the benefit of its members and, as such, is not looking to profit from the new HSS.  Council has decided to continue its practice of including the Licence Fee in the annual subscription so that no additional cost is incurred.

ISVA Council is aware of the range of commercial and RICS products available and is glad to be able to offer the ISVA HomeSurvey Licence as a valuable benefit of membership.

Ian Vicary MRICS FISVA
Chairman, ISVA Council

If you have any questions or comments about the new report, please send an email to office@surveyorsweb.co.uk and Linda will forward it on to a member of the working group. 

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