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Building Inspections Before Purchase

In the ACT, when a property is being sold, the onus is on the vendor to provide any prospective purchaser with pre-purchase property inspection reports. In every other State it is the responsibility of the purchaser.

There are two types of property inspection reports available for you to make informed decisions: (A) building inspection report and (B) timber pest inspection report.

Why do I need a building inspection report?

1. Prior to signing the final contract you want to know in advance if there are any structural problems.

2. Even if your building inspector does find issues, You may still wish to go ahead with the purchase, but you can use any information as leverage to renegotiate a more favorable purchase price.

3. This gives you time to get specialist advice about any major problems, which could affect the property in the future.

Why do I need a timber pest inspection report?

1. Termites cause the greatest economic loss of timber in service in Australia.

2.Termites mainly live in subterranean nests. They tunnel underground to enter the building, and can even infest brick homes built on concrete slabs.

3.Termites can be eradicated from a building, however this can be expensive. You then have to repair the damage, and create termite barriers to prevent reinfestation.

How do I choose the right inspector?

Always check that the inspector is suitably qualified : Ask to see his license, check that he carries out inspections to the Australian Standards, ask for referees ( satisfied clients ) Is he a member of professional associations ? Does he provide written reports? Does he welcome you to join him onsite during the inspection?

What does an inspector cover in the report ?

The consultant should inspect all accessible parts of the property: Interior, roof cavity, exterior, subfloor areas, roof exterior. A pest inspector should also check outbuildings, grounds, trees and fences.

What is not included in the report ?

A building inspector will not include any areas not accessible at the time. He will not include things outside of his expertise such as plumbing, electricals, and swimming pools. A pest inspector will not include inaccessible areas such as internal walls, however if he suspects live termites are present, he may suggest an invasive inspection. There are many modern aids such as moisture meters and infra-red devices which help in detection.

What if I have retained an Inspector, but I am not happy with any aspect of the report ?

First, try and resolve the problem directly with the consultant. If they are members of an industry association perhaps they can mediate. There are places like Queensland Building Services Authority, Master Builders Association, Department of Fair Trading.

If you purchased the property based on the report, and feel there are problems which were not identified, then you may seek recourse in legal advice.

All pest and building inspectors should carry professional indemnity insurance, and I would not advise dealing with anyone who did not carry adequate insurance cover.