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Diy Snagging Surveys | Tools, Tips And When To Call A Pro

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Are you planning to move into a new property or have recently completed a construction project?

Conducting a snagging survey is essential to identify any issues or defects that need to be addressed.

This article covers everything you need to know about DIY snagging surveys, from understanding the importance of a snagging survey to knowing when to perform one.

Discover the tools you need, step-by-step instructions, and when it’s best to call a professional for a comprehensive report.

Let’s dive in!

What is a Snagging Survey?

A snagging survey is a comprehensive inspection carried out on newly built homes to identify any defects, cosmetic issues, or structural problems that do not meet building standards.

Conducting a snagging survey plays a crucial role in ensuring that a newly constructed property meets the required quality and safety standards set by building regulations.

By meticulously examining every aspect of the property, from paintwork and fittings to structural integrity, potential issues can be flagged early on.

This process not only benefits the homebuyer by giving them peace of mind about the property’s integrity but also helps builders rectify any problems and maintain their reputation for delivering high-quality homes.

Why is a Snagging Survey Important?

A snagging survey is essential as it helps identify and rectify any issues in newly built homes before they affect homeowners, ensuring that builders deliver properties that meet the required standards of the construction industry and the expectations of homebuyers.

By conducting a snagging survey, builders can demonstrate their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, thereby safeguarding their reputation in the industry.

These surveys not only benefit homeowners by ensuring they receive a defect-free property but also protect their interests by addressing any potential problems early on.

Failure to carry out a snagging survey can lead to a plethora of issues down the line, ranging from minor nuisances to major structural defects. Identifying and addressing defects at an early stage can prevent these issues from escalating, saving both builders and homeowners significant costs and headaches in the long run.

When should you carry out a snagging survey?

Performing a snagging survey should ideally be done as soon as possible after the completion of a newly built home, allowing homeowners to address any identified issues promptly and make use of the warranty provided by the NHBC or the housebuilder.

Early detection of defects through a timely snagging survey can save homeowners from potential headaches down the line.

By promptly addressing these issues, individuals can ensure that their new home meets the expected standards of quality and safety. This not only provides peace of mind but also safeguards the investment made in the property.

The snagging list plays a crucial role in this process, serving as a detailed record of all identified defects. By documenting and prioritising these issues, homeowners can effectively communicate with the builders and contractors to remedy the faults efficiently.

What Tools Do You Need for a DIY Snagging Survey?

For a DIY snagging survey, you will require essential tools such as a tape measure, spirit level, torch, binoculars, and a camera to thoroughly inspect the newly built home for any defects or issues.

Along with these crucial tools, a magnifying glass can be handy for examining smaller details like paintwork or finishes closely.

This tool helps in identifying imperfections that might be missed by the naked eye. A damp meter is also vital to detect any moisture-related issues such as dampness or leaks, which can lead to significant problems if left untreated.

A set of screwdrivers and a small hammer can be useful for checking the stability of fittings, fixtures, and walls. They allow you to test for loose screws, hinges, or any weak spots that need attention.

Tape Measure

A tape measure is crucial for assessing dimensions, distances, and alignments during a DIY snagging survey, allowing homeowners to identify irregularities or discrepancies that may indicate construction issues.

When conducting a snagging survey, typical measurements may include room dimensions to ensure they meet specifications outlined in building plans, wall alignments to check for any deviations from perpendicularity or levelness and fixture placements such as distance from walls or alignment with other elements.

For instance, measuring the width and height of door frames can help detect if they are not installed correctly or if the walls are not straight. By using a tape measure consistently and accurately, homeowners can pinpoint potential defects or areas of concern and take necessary actions to address them.

Spirit Level

A spirit level is essential for checking the alignment and levelness of surfaces such as floors, walls, and ceilings in a newly built home, ensuring proper construction and adherence to building standards.

When a spirit level is used during the construction process, it helps detect any deviations from the desired horizontal or vertical planes.

For instance, if a floor is sloping, a spirit level placed on it will clearly show the unevenness, prompting the construction team to make adjustments.

Similarly, when installing kitchen cabinets, using a spirit level ensures that they are perfectly aligned and flush against the walls.

This tool is critical for professionals in various trades, including carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, enabling them to achieve precision and accuracy in their work.

Torch or Flashlight

A torch or torch is a useful tool for illuminating dark or poorly lit areas during a DIY snagging survey, allowing homeowners to detect defects, damages, or imperfections that might be hidden from plain sight.

Proper lighting is crucial during a snagging survey as it can reveal issues that are not visible under normal lighting conditions. When using a torch, focus on angles and shadows to spot potential problems in corners and crevices.

Effective lighting enhances accuracy by ensuring every detail is thoroughly inspected. Be sure to adjust the angle of the torch to illuminate different surfaces properly.

Using a powerful torch can make a significant difference when examining hard-to-reach areas that require meticulous scrutiny.


Binoculars can be useful for examining distant or elevated areas of the property during a DIY snagging survey, enabling homeowners to spot potential defects or construction issues that are not easily visible from close range.

By using binoculars, individuals can achieve a detailed view of roofs, ceilings, or external features without the need to physically access these areas, reducing the risk of accidents or injuries.

This enhanced visibility allows for a more comprehensive assessment of the property, ensuring that no potential concerns are overlooked during the inspection process.

Binoculars help magnify the view, bringing faraway objects closer, and unveiling intricate details that might be missed by the naked eye alone.


A camera is essential for capturing visual evidence of faults, damages, or issues identified during a DIY snagging survey, enabling homeowners to record the findings for further evaluation or communication with builders.

Properly photographed details with a camera can effectively convey the seriousness and extent of any problems to contractors, ensuring a clear understanding of the issues at hand.

When organising photos, consider creating folders for different areas of the property, such as interior, exterior, systems, and structural elements.

Remember, comprehensive documentation can act as a valuable tool in resolving disputes and facilitating efficient repairs.

What Are the Steps to Perform a DIY Snagging Survey?

Conducting a DIY snagging survey involves several key steps, including starting with the exterior inspection, moving to the interior areas, checking for structural issues, examining finishing touches, and documenting findings through detailed notes and photos.

Begin the survey by thoroughly inspecting the outside of the property. Look for any cracks in the walls, missing roof tiles, or signs of dampness.

Common issues to watch out for include faulty guttering, inadequate insulation, or damaged external rendering.

Start with the Exterior

Begin the DIY snagging survey by inspecting the exterior of the property, focusing on areas such as the walls, windows, doors, roof, and property boundaries to identify any visible defects or damages that require attention.

When assessing the walls, pay close attention to cracks, uneven surfaces, or discolouration, as these can indicate poor construction quality or underlying structural issues.

Inspect the windows for proper sealing, intact panes, and smooth operation to ensure efficient weatherproofing and noise insulation.

For doors, check for proper alignment, secure hinges, and functioning locks for both security and durability purposes.

Be sure to examine the roof for missing or damaged tiles, signs of water leakage, and proper drainage systems to prevent potential water damage.

Evaluate the property boundaries for clear demarcation, sturdy fencing, and vegetation encroachments that could impact the property’s aesthetics and security.

Move to the Interior

Transition to the interior inspection phase of the DIY snagging survey, focusing on evaluating the walls, floors, ceilings, fixtures, and fittings inside the property to identify any defects, damages, or imperfections that require rectification.

During the interior examination, pay close attention to the walls for paint quality, cracks, or uneven surfaces that might hint at shoddy workmanship. Check the floors meticulously, looking for uneven tiles, creaking floorboards, or gaps between floor coverings.

Inspect the ceilings for water stains, cracks, or improperly installed lighting fixtures. Assess the fixtures such as doorknobs, handles, and taps to ensure they are securely attached and functioning correctly.

Examine the fittings like window latches, cabinet hinges, and built-in appliances for proper operation and alignment with the surrounding structures.

Check for Structural Issues

Focus on checking for structural issues during the DIY snagging survey, paying attention to the foundation, load-bearing walls, structural supports, and other critical elements that contribute to the stability and safety of the property.

Identifying these structural issues early on is crucial in maintaining the integrity of the property and ensuring the safety of its inhabitants.

Signs such as cracks in the walls, sloping floors, doors that don’t close properly, or visible water damage can indicate underlying problems that need immediate attention.

It’s essential to involve structural engineers or building inspectors when dealing with complex issues like foundation settlement, roof sagging, or compromised beams.

These professionals have the expertise and tools to assess the severity of the problem and recommend appropriate solutions to prevent further damage.

Look for Finishing Touches

Examine the finishing touches of the property as part of the DIY snagging survey, focusing on paintwork, fixtures, fittings, and decorative elements to ensure that they meet the expected quality standards and aesthetic requirements.

Scrutinising these finishing details is crucial in identifying any potential flaws or defects that may have been overlooked during the construction or renovation process.

For instance, common issues could include paint drips, uneven finishes, loose cabinet handles, or poorly installed light fixtures.

Attention to detail at this stage can prevent future headaches by addressing these problems early on, ensuring that the property not only looks visually appealing but also functions efficiently for its intended purpose.

Take Detailed Notes and Photos

Document the findings of the DIY snagging survey by taking detailed notes and photos of identified defects, damages, or issues, ensuring a comprehensive record that can be used for further evaluation, communication, or resolution with builders.

In the process of documenting the survey results, it is crucial to organise your notes in a systematic manner, categorising them based on the type of issue and severity. Creating a checklist of observed defects can also streamline the communication process with relevant parties.

By maintaining detailed documentation, you not only enhance the clarity of your findings but also expedite the resolution process by providing clear evidence to support your claims.

When should you contact a professional for a snagging survey?

Consider engaging a professional for a snagging survey if you are uncomfortable with DIY inspections, have a large or complex property, suspect major issues, or desire a comprehensive report prepared by experienced contractors or surveyors.

Professional snagging surveys offer numerous advantages that can outweigh the benefits of a DIY approach.

Experienced professionals possess a trained eye that can spot even the most subtle defects that an untrained homeowner might miss. Their industry knowledge allows them to assess potential issues comprehensively, ensuring nothing goes unnoticed.

Professional snagging reports are typically detailed and thorough, providing a comprehensive overview of the property’s condition. These reports can be invaluable when dealing with builders or developers, as they document all identified defects in a structured manner.

When choosing a professional, look for reputable firms or individuals with a track record of delivering high-quality snagging surveys.

Experienced professionals bring a wealth of expertise to the table, offering insights and solutions to complex issues that may arise during the inspection process.

If You Are Not Comfortable with DIY

Engage professional services for a snagging survey if you lack the expertise or comfort in conducting DIY inspections, ensuring that the property receives a thorough evaluation by qualified professionals.

Acknowledging one’s own limitations and seeking professional assistance can make a significant difference in the overall quality of the inspection process.

Professionals bring a wealth of experience and specialised knowledge to the table, enabling them to identify even the most subtle defects that might be overlooked by an untrained eye.

By entrusting the evaluation to experts, property owners can have peace of mind knowing that all aspects of the property have been meticulously scrutinised, leading to a comprehensive assessment of its condition.

This thorough evaluation not only helps in identifying existing issues but also plays a crucial role in predicting potential problems that may arise in the future, thereby allowing for proactive maintenance measures to be implemented.

If the Property is Large or Complex

Opt for a professional snagging survey if your property is large or architecturally complex, as experienced surveyors can navigate intricate structures and systems to identify hidden issues that may be overlooked in DIY inspections.

Inspecting extensive or intricate properties independently poses various challenges, especially when dealing with multifaceted designs or large-scale buildings.

Without the specialised knowledge and tools that professional surveyors possess, you may miss critical defects or underlying problems that could lead to costly repairs in the future.

Engaging experts in the field ensures a meticulous examination of every aspect of the property, including areas that are hard to reach or require specific expertise.

If You Suspect Major Issues

Seek professional assistance for a snagging survey if they suspect major issues such as structural defects, safety hazards, or significant construction flaws that require expert assessment and remediation.

It is crucial to act promptly on any suspicions to avoid potential risks or damages to the property. By engaging experts for a snagging survey, individuals can benefit from a thorough evaluation of the property’s condition.

Professionals possess the knowledge and tools to diagnose complex problems accurately and provide recommendations based on industry standards and best practices.

Timely intervention can help in identifying hidden issues that may have long-term consequences if left unchecked. The expertise of professionals can streamline the process of pinpointing and addressing concerns, ultimately ensuring the safety and longevity of the property.

Relying on professional assistance can instil confidence in the integrity of the property and offer peace of mind to homeowners or buyers. Investing in expert guidance can yield long-term benefits by addressing issues effectively and maintaining the value of the property over time.

If You Want a Comprehensive Report

Consider a professional snagging survey if you desire a detailed and comprehensive report that outlines all identified issues, provides expert insights, and offers recommendations for remedial actions to be undertaken by contractors or builders.

Professional snagging surveys are highly valuable as they delve deep into the property’s condition, capturing even the minutest of defects that might go unnoticed otherwise.

The thorough analysis performed in these surveys ensures that no issue is left unaddressed, thus paving the way for a thorough and effective resolution plan.

The detailed documentation provided acts as a crucial tool for communication between property owners, builders, and contractors, enabling clear understanding and swift action on rectifying any identified issues.

Timely resolution is key in ensuring the property is brought up to standard efficiently, minimising delays and additional costs.

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