Building and pest inspections: What are they, and why you shouldn’t skip them
Fri Oct 07 13:00:00 AEDT 2016
When it comes to buying a property, a professional building inspection and pest inspection report should be some of the most important items on your checklist.
The importance of a professional building inspection
A building or property inspection provides you with a building expert’s assessment of the structural and general condition of a property. It flags potential hazards and safety issues which may include structural defects, visible pest damage, poor electrical wiring, mould problems or rising damp.
A building inspection can help to give you a better understanding of a property’s true value and condition, as well as any potential costs you may need to consider to rectify any identified issues. Purchasing a property that you later find out has rotting stumps, for example, can result in thousands of dollars of unforeseen expenses.
When an inspection report comes up crystal clear, you can proceed with peace of mind, knowing the property you’re buying isn’t going to crumble and fall.
How a building inspection works
A comprehensive building inspection should include an examination of all parts of the property, including the interior and exterior. Key areas to inspect include the roof exterior, the roof space and underfloor space, as well as electrics and plumbing.
The actual inspection itself can take around an hour to complete, however it may take a number of working days to book an inspection and a few more days to receive a final report.
Be aware that there are varying levels of quality and scope for building inspections – and varying prices. For example, you can organise a basic inspection for just a couple of hundred dollars, or a more extensive report for around the $500 mark. You should also consider a pest inspection, which is typically additional to the standard inspection. A pest inspection will be able to identify if there is internal structural damage from termites or other pests.
Where possible, remember to have a building inspection carried out well ahead of settling on a deal. If you’re buying at auction, you’ll want to see the report before making your bid. Depending on the state or territory where you’re buying, there may be a brief opportunity to conduct a building inspection within a cooling-off period if you have made an acceptable inspection a condition of the purchase, but this can be a risky strategy as there’s the chance you may run out of time.
What to look for when hiring a building inspector
It’s important to select a suitably qualified inspector, such as a licensed builder, surveyor or architect. Be sure to check your state or territory government websites to check building inspector qualification requirements as it can vary state to state. Ensure that the person you choose has adequate insurance cover, particularly for professional indemnity. Professional indemnity insurance will cover the costs of any claim for damages you make should there be any issues your building inspector should have picked found during the inspection.
Not all professional building inspectors carry out pest inspections. Be sure to choose an inspector who can do both, or organise them separately. Both are of equal importance.
A building inspection report must comply with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1), but quality and scope can vary. Some inspectors use a checklist or adopt a standard format, while others are tailored to the property.
Before you select an inspector, ask for a template report so you can see what you can expect to receive. Don’t be afraid to shop around; compare different inspectors’ experience and what different inspectors will give you to ensure you’re getting the best value for money.
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