Costa del Sol's Property Specialists

Practical Limitations

Practical Limitations It is important for clients to understand what the limitations are of a Survey Report. Surveyors can not control the natural elements or see what was constructed 20 years ago behind walls and other such inaccessible places of the property. Below are a few important limitations of the Survey:

Plot Boundaries | Land Boundaries

In the time available for a Survey to be carried out, it is impossible for a Surveyor to measure the land boundaries and calculate the areas. Also it is important to know that measuring boundaries evolves significant effort due to most properties being of an irregular shape, having mature plants or steep slopes, thus the need for the appropriate equipment in order for the Surveyor to be accurate. A separate Survey would need to be carried out and this should be compared to the Catastral Plan, however the Catastral Register, which should record all the boundaries on a master plan area is incomplete in not having all the subdivisions of the large estates and may not have these plots recorded in detail. Sellers, their agents or lawyer rarely provide these plans.


The Surveyor sometimes takes damp readings with an electronic meter, but after doing many Surveys they use their experiences to know and detect the signs for likely problems. It is important to understand that during the long dry periods it is impossible to identify defects that become problems when the rain period starts again.

Neighbouring Area

A large part of the value of a property is due to its neighbourhood and outlook.

The access road to a property can also significantly affect the value. If the responsibility is not of the local Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) then the neighbours will probably have to agree to and share the costs of maintenance and/or improvement. If there is no immediate parking, then the carrying of shopping to and from will again affect the property value.

Electrical System

Practical Limitations Surveyors check most lighting and socket circuits and will record and defects found. The Surveyor does not provide a detailed report of the electrical system; you would need a certified electrician to carry this out.

Plumbing System

Again the Surveyor will check most taps and note heat (if the electricity is on) and drainage. The basins, showers, baths, sinks, toilets and bidet will also be checked to ensure they are all in working order. The Surveyor does not carry out any purity or pressure testing.

Water Supply

Surveyors will make note if there is a public water supply and also if there are any water storage tanks, which would be very essential if there was any water restrictions, pipe failures or droughts. If there is any irrigation system present for the garden, this again will be noted in the Survey.

Sewerage System

It will be identified in the Survey in the property is connected to a public sewerage system or whether it has a community or private septic tank. If the property is connected to a septic tank it is important to remember that certain chemical cleaners can not be used and the inorganic debris should be removed every 5-10 years, which will involve a cost.

Machinery | Equipment

With modern houses these days, they contain many items such as heating and air conditioning systems to digital security alarms and kitchen equipment. Even though the Surveyor will make every effort to check these items functionality, they cannot check all items nor guarantee that any work effectively. If you choose for these items to be checked you would need the appropriate technicians to do that, not a Surveyor.


Practical Limitations A Surveyor is unable to confirm whether there is an efficient ‘draw’ or that the fireplaces are functioning correctly.


A majority of the properties built on the Costa del Sol have concrete pitched roofs, covered by fired clay roof tiles. These tiles protect the lower impermeable surfaces from contact, sun and water damage. The gullies that have been created between the tiles must remain debris free, to stop the water backing. The older these tiles get, the more care is needed so any more damage is prevented such as dampness to the lower walls. If down pipes are installed, it is best that they are connected to the underground drainage system rather then being left to spill the water collected onto the pathways, which might cause additional water damage.

What are the liabilities for the builder and after the sale? Read more on Builders Liabilities.

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