This introduction presents an overview of the concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book discusses the professional service of assessing the condition of buildings and provides some of the documents published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It discusses the preliminary steps that the surveyor needs to take before attempting to carry out the inspection. The book considers the inspection of the essential matters that data from professional indemnity insurers suggest are the areas where most negligence claims arise. It examines the services that other consultants can provide to the surveyor and the client and outlines the equipment required to inspect buildings. In the event of a claim, it is these documents to which the courts are likely to refer – just as a court would refer to RIBA advice on building design work were this to be carried out by, for example, a chartered building surveyor.