Building and Pest Inspection

A building and pest inspection can protect a buyer from investing in a property with many structural faults and unknown issues to the untrained eye.

Many of the problems that are flagged are due to the age of a property, and the usual wear and tear.  In most cases, you're not purchasing a new home, so unless some major renovations have been made, you're going to expect a few blemishes for instance, chipped tiles, paint chipping, slight movement in cornices, and cracked concrete pathways are not uncommon.  

It is the bigger problems that you want to be protected against when buying a property, for instance rotten out floor boards under bathrooms, termite infestation, termite damage that hasn't been fixed, structurally unsound walls.  Things that may cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

There are things in older houses that are things to be made aware of, but are not major issues.  For instance, a house that was built in the 1960s was built to a different construction code to a house that was built in 2009.  A common one we see is where balustrades and hand rails were legally lower in 1960.

Many inspections will flag things but tell you to get your own contractor to review.  Older homes with renovations or restructures in the 1970s will often have recommendations for structural engineers to check things out.  On the other side of that, I've had rusty chain wire fences flagged, “please consult fencing contractor”.  These rusty fences would probably keep just about any rabbit out of the yard, but if the inspector was to say they are fine, and the fence post was to snap off for whatever reason, then the inspector might be liable.  So there's a bit of legal coverage there.

Why do the inspectors need the legal coverage?

Inspectors will not be able to see everything.  They can not see inside concrete, or inside walls.  They will look for telltale signs of things to look for, but they can't predict something 12 or more months down the road.

Ultimately there is always a risk in any purchase – boats, cars, holidays, new shoes, sunglasses, televisions, etc.  We continue make these purchases with the acceptance of some form of risk.

What should you do if the inspector finds a major fault?

Discuss the options for rectifying the major issue, will the seller rectify the issue to a standard that you will be satisfied with, or alternatively is there a monetary agreement that you could come to and fix the major issue yourself.

When should you abort?

When should you be worried by a report.  Most houses will have minor faults.  It's a matter of determining the difference between these faults and a property that is riddled with problems.  

The building inspector is not there to give advice on whether to proceed with the purchase or not, they are there to make you aware of what the problem is. 

Final word

What I like to see from an inspector is when they provide you with a possible solution to the problem, not always a price, but an idea as to how easy or hard it could be to rectify.


What's your property worth?