Condition survey


A condition survey is the examination and photographic recording of an object, surface, or building prior to treatment or repair.

a steeplejack on a church spire

It may be recommended by your quinquennial inspection, perhaps to a particular part of the building which needs more detailed study, or by a funder when you are applying for a grant to repair or conserve a particular feature.

A condition survey should be carried out by a specialist with expert knowledge of the object, surface or building type to be surveyed.

A condition survey will:

  • help you better understand the nature, history, technology and significance of the object
  • record the current condition of the object, highlighting areas of failure or concern
  • investigate previous interventions.
  • identify causes of historic and ongoing deterioration.
  • present conservation recommendations based on the results of the survey.
  • provide an estimate for works, if required

The techniques used may include:

  • visual examination
  • technical examination of the object using ultraviolet light or raking light
  • digital photography, perhaps enhanced to show detail or areas of concern

After a condition survey you should receive a detailed illustrated report, which should include recommendations for any work required to stabilise or repair the object or area.

Historic England: Surveying and Recording Heritage

National Churches Trust: Finding specialists and tradespeople