If you are considering buying a home, one of the first things you should consider is building inspections. From such an inspection you will get a building condition report.
What building inspections involve
When you have a building condition report done, it starts with a visit of the property by a professional who does building inspections. This person should be someone who is experienced in the building trade and is very familiar with how things should be and how they often come short. The building inspection should include:
- Inspecting the exterior of the home – condition of the cladding, evidence of subsidence or failure of foundations, excessive dampness & rotting of materials
- Examining cavities underneath the home – workmanship and condition of the structure, moisture, wiring & plumbing issues
- Climbing into the roof, examining the roof structure, ventilation, insulation and sarking
- Inspecting the roof exterior for rusting, cracked tiles, pointing
- Examining the interior of the home for cracks, sagging, excessive spring in the floor, uneven or sloping floors, water hammer, poor water supply flow, poor drainage flow, slope of bathroom and laundry floors and general workmanship.
- General consideration as to whether there are works which are unauthorised or non-compliant – something obvious such as construction too close to the boundary, a poorly built extension, etc.
What a building report does not cover
While building inspections should alert you if there are structural members which have deteriorated as a result of pests, they are not a pest inspection. Some firms will do both, but they are two separate things. There’s probably a good argument for having the pest inspection done by someone who spends his days getting rid of pests and a building inspection done by someone with building and structural experience.
A building condition report is not a survey. If you need to know precisely where the property boundaries are, it’s a good idea to have that done by a building surveyor. Often fences have not been built precisely on property lines, so if buildings are obviously close to boundaries, you may want that checked.
Building inspections cannot tell you about things that cannot be seen through a visual inspection. Some things are hidden, and an inspection will not reveal them. If the house is built on stumps but there isn’t enough room under the house to crawl through for an inspection, that’s a problem. Generally you would expect the inspector to highlight any issues such as that.
Who should you have do the building condition report?
The inspector needs to have a Building Consultants Licence and it’s probably good for them to be a member of the Master Builders Association. The inspector should also carry appropriate insurances, including indemnity insurance.
There is a question as to the best place to find such people. Your real estate agent will be able to refer you to one, but given that they are in the business of selling the property, they are not likely to refer you to someone who is detailed and critical. Yet that may be the best sort of inspector to get! Certainly you can check in the yellow pages or search the internet, but that doesn’t tell you a lot. You can ask for referrals from your friends, but their local experience is probably very limited.
More information on buying and selling a home
You may have noticed the eBook that we are offering in the right hand panel, Buying or Selling a Home. It contains a wealth of information that will answer many of your questions, and you can get your copy for free! Click here to go to the download page.
Having said that, one of the best ways to get your questions answered is to ask someone who knows. The credit managers at State Custodians Mortgage Company are such people. Give them a call today on 13 72 62.