Some Thoughts On Building Surveys

Owners want to know how to take care of their buildings. We are often asked to survey buildings and make recommendations regarding maintenance and repair. There are many different levels of studies available, depending on the needs of the building, the needs of the owners, and the funds available.


Site Consultation: Usually based on about one and a half hours at the site, this consultation can include any subject of interest to the owner. Brief oral or written recommendations are made. No construction costs are estimated. These consultations are often provided to owners who are concerned about maintaining and improving their buildings without damaging architectural integrity or physical fabric.

Report of Site Visit: After a brief walk-through a spreadsheet is prepared which identifies general work areas and priorities. Photographs and sketch floor plans are included in the report. No construction costs are estimated. This report is a very preliminary planning document, seldom used for funding applications.

Condition Report: This extensive report concentrates on the physical fabric. It is a detailed report which identifies deficiencies, recommends repairs, includes cost estimates, and prioritizes work items. Granting agencies often ask for a condition report to ensure that they are funding high-priority items.

Historic Structure Report: The highest level report currently recognized in the preservation field, often required when a museum-quality restoration is anticipated. It may be used when high-level funding is being sought for a nationally significant resource. Historical analysis as well as study of the physical condition of the building is included.


Professional fees vary depending on the size and complexity of the building or site, the location, general condition of the building, etc. So any simple summary of fees is approximate:

Site Consultation                                                     $ 400          to         $ 1000

Report of Site Visit                                                  1,000          to           5,000

Condition Report                                                     5,000          to         20,000

Historic Structures Report                                  20,000          to       120,000 +

Each building and owner is unique. No estimate of professional fees can be accurate without a brief site visit and consultation with the owner to determine the scope of the survey.


Archaeological Investigations                                                                                  *          *

Special studies (such as wheelchair accessibility,

future uses, renovations or additions)                                                                     *          *

* These services are options that are not always required.

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