Pre purchase building inspection is essential
As it will unearth potentially expensive or dangerous building defects
Evaluate the building’s ability to cope with local environmental issues
Provide peace of mind that the property purchase is a sound investment
Determine whether there is a guarantee of title or any financial or legal encumbrance hanging over the property; for example, where a property has been mortgaged by the owner or used as security against finance or debt.
To help home buyers get the most out of their pre-purchase building inspections, we spoke to Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia to find out which inspections are required, who can conduct them and how much they cost
What’s involved in a standard pre-purchase building inspection?
home buyers and investors should obtain an independent condition report even when buying a newly built property. The minimum a buyer should request when buying a newly built property is a certificate of occupancy from the builder. It is also a good idea to engage an independent builder certifier to provide a detailed report on the condition of the property.
“This is important because such a report would detect any issues, including building defects,”“In some states and territories, there are time limits on when a buyer can report faults after a purchase, and using a building inspector would assist in meeting such deadlines and in accessing subsequent legal recourse should it be required.”
Engaging a building inspector is also a very good idea when buying established properties, particularly older buildings.
“The biggest mistake buyers make is to do nothing. A short-term saving achieved by forgoing such an inspection can turn into a longer-term nightmare if there are building defects, unapproved structures or legal or financial issues hanging over the property,”. “Most building inspections are pre-purchase building inspections. Buyers who invest in them go into a property purchase with their eyes fully open and are able to budget for subsequent costs. Buyers should also act promptly on inspection findings, as delay can potentially affect their subsequent insurance premiums.”
Inspections can detect structural defects and potential risks from future water damage. They also confirm that the building conforms to registered plans – where they don’t conform, parties such as the local council or neighbours can potentially ask for rectification.
Are there circumstances when a buyer should obtain additional building inspections?
“It sounds like a cliché but home buyers and property investors should exercise some common sense to protect themselves. In addition to any standard building certification, local environmental factors should be taken into account, such as checking for water damage in areas prone to flooding.
“Homes that were built up to 1985 should also be checked for asbestos, particularly where renovations are planned,” And don’t forget pest inspections!
Who should perform a pre-purchase building inspection?
“There are qualified building inspectors and qualified building consultants – and a range of other appropriately qualified people who can perform different types of inspections – but these two are probably the most practical,” “People qualified to handle more specialised issues can be engaged once those issues have been detected. It’s also important to remember that you are looking for a very practical report.”
many building inspectors and consultants are either builders or have an in-depth knowledge of the industry, and so have the practical experience to know what to look out for. It is a good idea to use an inspector or consultant who is a member of a building association, such as Master Builders Australia. All members must adhere to the association’s code of conduct, and you can contact the association for support if you are not happy with the results.
An inspector who is familiar with the area in which you are buying will likely have the relevant knowledge about floods or other environmental issues common to the area pre-purchase building inspection is essential
How much do building inspections cost?
Many factors affect the cost of a building inspection, including the level of inspection detail requested by the buyer, the property’s location and the complexity of the structure. For example, a building of over 155 squares on a steeply sloping block would require inspection. The cost of the inspection will also be affected by whether the property is located in a regional or metropolitan area, the size of the property and whether a pest inspection is incorporated in the service.
the cost of a pre-purchase building inspection on a standard four-bedroom home would be $400–$500 in a regional area and $800–$1000 in a metropolitan location. There may be additional charges for a building certificate and pest inspection. Ring now for a pre-purchase building inspection
WHAT WILL MY PRE PURCHASE BUILDING INSPECTION INSPECTOR LOOK FOR
ROOF DEFECTS-Your PRE PURCHASE Building Inspection will inspect for any Roof Defects which should include-Rusted roof sheeting-Cracked Tiles-Moss buildup on tiles-hip and ridge capping and check the mortar for any cracks.
He will also check your roof line -is it even??-any tree overhang -box gutter conditions etc rust, ponding or any debris. He will also check any parapet walls if required and all valley gutters
GUTTERS AND DOWNPIPES-Checking of your gutters is a must as he will look for rust and any debris that could cause problems with surface water going back into your home-are the downpipes connected to storm water-are the downpipes rusted or blocked-are they aligned correctly
FASCIA AND EAVES-Is there any evidence of any rot present is the timber sound, are the eaves even or have they become detached-is there evidence of Asbestos present
WEATHERBOARDS-Are the weatherboards even,any sign of timber fungal decay-are the plinth boards intact-any evidence of termite infestation -inadequate subfloor ventilation is very important to check as is cross flow ventilation-Gaps around window and door frames
BRICKWORK-Are there any signs of any structural defects or settlement cracks to brickwork and do they pose a safety issue-any rising damp present-is the damp proof course visible-is the mortar holding its strength-weep holes present and are they clear of debris or vegetation-any evidence of cracking over windows and doors -are all lintels in good order
WINDOWS AND DOORS-Any evidence of timber decay to doors and timber windows-any cracking to glass panes-sash cords broken/damaged-are the windows opening or are they binding-are any doors binding-are all locks and handles ok-any door rattle-door seals
SUB FLOOR-probably the most important part of the building inspection -any evidence of dampness or any surface water present-all plumbing intact-no leaking from bathrooms or the Laundry
Any decay rot to timber flooring, joists and bearers-any decay to timber stumps, are the concrete stumps cracked have they been installed correctly-inadequate footings-all electrical wiring installed correctly, no loose unconnected wiring-any timber or debris present and has the ductwork been installed correctly or is it damaged
DECKS-BALCONIES-GARAGES-PERGOLAS-are all the balustrades installed correctly or any evidence of rot, minimum gaps required of no more than 125mm between railings as this is a safety issue for children
Is the decking and framing adequate and been installed according to the building code-all pergolas installed correctly with no evidence of timber decay, post rot and all decking is installed correctly-are all the gutters and downpipes installed as required
GARAGE AND CARPORTS-is the condition of the roof gutters and downpipes reasonable or do they require rectification-any evidence of water damage to doors-are the garage doors opening and closing-any cracks to concrete slab or oil stains
ROOF FRAME-whats the condition of the roof cladding-any leaks present or evidence of broken tiles-are all framing timbers secure and installed to the building code is the insulation adequate does the insulation touch any downlights-are there downlight covers installed-is the condition of ductwork satisfactory or is it detached
ALL INTERNAL AREAS-are all the ceilings intact with any evidence of cracking, sagging or mould present in bathrooms or laundries-are the moisture readings within the range, is all flooring intact with no defects, no evidence of sagging or “bouncing” floors
Are the floors level-are all doors and windows closing or is there evidence of “binding”-no evidence of any structural defects and are all floor coverings satisfactory
BATHROOMS-KITCHENS-LAUNDRY-check water pressure and evidence of water hammer present-all tapware and pipes are they operating adequately-shower tiles and grout are they showing signs of deterioration and any water damage to skirtings
Are shower screens intact with the door opening and closing and are they sealed not allowing any water to escape-are toilets operating as intended are there any blockages noted -is the vanity condition satisfactory or are there defects present
Are exhaust fans present and are they operating as intended and are all tap flanges sealed correctly or is there water leaking into the sub floor-Check bathtub installation and how quick the excess water is leaving or are there blockages which will require rectification
SITE AND LAND-We check the drainage, any blocked drains present, is the surface water flowing away from the house or going back to the foundations
Are all fences intact with no fungus decay evident to any timber members-are the retaining walls sound with no leaning or rot evident-is the driveway in reasonable condition with no cracking or settlement to concrete noted
Are any trees causing cracking to brick walls -are the pool gates self-closing with no defects noted to any pool fencing
TERMITE INSPECTIONS-A full pest inspection should always be performed as per A.S. 188.8.131.52.3-2010 Inspection of Buildings Part 3-Timber Pest Inspections
Are there any live termite or termite nests visible and any evidence of termite activity to all timbers internally and externally-are moisture readings satisfactory as already mentioned-and sign of borer damage-report on all timber fungal decay and rot present and any conductive conditions currently present that will attract termite
As you can see there are so many defects that the building inspector will look for which makes a Building inspection a good investment, you will receive a detailed inspection report with photos and approx costs to rectify any defects,you should also receive a phone call from your inspector if your not present to give you all details -good and bad from your Building Inspections Melbourne inspector
Always make sure you hire a competent VBA Registered Practitioner as he will give you advice that could save you thousands in the end,the industry in Victoria is not regulated so anyone can do inspections,i now of people who used to be car salesmen and motor mechanics and now call themselves Building Inspectors,what a lot of rubbish so please always ask the right questions and get advice from The VBA or Consumer Affairs and if an inspector says hes registered check out his registration with the VBA before employing him-House Inspection Melbourne inspectors are all registered
PRE PURCHASE BUILDING INSPECTION-TIP
This tip alone has the potential to save you thousands:
Prior to signing of any contracts ensure that you always delete the agents condition “MAJOR STRUCTURAL ” and initial the deletion and also get the agent to initial-then under the special conditions of the contract write the following:”SUBJECT TO A SATISFACTORY BUILDING AND PEST INSPECTION’if there is finance to be approved include the word”FINANCE” and be the last bidder and increase your offer in lots of $1000
One of the most trusted House Inspections Melbourne firms is House -Inspections that have provided honest and reliable inspections for many years and they pride themselves on their attention to detail and the quality of there reports
For all advice and recommendations ring George on 0450 632 867