In the UK, it is common practice to have a Chartered Building Survey completed before purchasing a property, whereas in the US you would most likely have a Full Home Inspection done by a licensed home inspector.
There are companies that provide both services in the Cayman Islands and it is highly recommended that you have one done when purchasing a home.
A Building Condition Survey will include an inspection by a civil or structural engineer who will examine the roof, insulation, flooring and the condition of the walls of your home, as well as other structural areas. They will also check whether your appliances are up to code and will recommend whether a MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) report needs to be done by professional technicians.
A Home Inspection conducted by a licensed home inspector will include a full examination which will consist of structural components such as foundations, floors, walls, ceilings, hurricane straps and roof. They will also check all interior components – doors, windows and all appliances, testing the safety and functionality of all items. A licensed home inspector is also qualified to inspect the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems of the home. An inspection report is then provided, noting all findings, and actions for any required remediation.
A similar approach should be taken when purchasing a plot of land; while it may look like the lot is filled properly, it can be overlying soft peat or have other ground conditions which would require you to pile your future property at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, a site investigation is a must. A simple trial pit or more complex borehole test and accompanying report will reveal the build-up of the underlying ground conditions. This technical data can then be utilised by your structural engineer when designing and calculating the foundation structure that is necessary to support your home. Most builders will require this report before commencing construction on any parcel of land, especially canal front.