Firstly, ask to speak to the inspector who is actually going to do the inspection, not a receptionist or anyone else.
It is extremely important to know if your inspector is personally licensed and covered by indemnity insurance?
Confirm that the inspectors name and license number will be on the report and it is their insurance, not just under the company license and insurance. They must have a Completed Residential Building inspection license card with their builders license, their name and/or company on it.
License searches and checking you must do before employing a building or pest inspector.
- Do an online licence search through the QBCC (link below) with the full name of the inspector.
- Or contact the QBCC 139 333 or www.qbcc.qld.gov.au
- Check for any restrictions and/or complaints against them.
- Make sure they are licensed in their particular field.
- For building inspections. Make sure they carry a Completed Residential Building license, otherwise they will not have indemnity insurance cover.
- For pest inspections. Make sure they carry a pest control license for inspections also treatment. If they also have a Builders license it would not be wise to have them do your pest inspection, regardless of their license. Builders do not do termite treatments and are not experienced in detection of termites.
QBCC online License search
Disclosure & confidentiality: Who is your building inspector working for, you, the agent or the seller.
Ask the inspector if they disclose or discuss the outcome of the report with real estate agent or seller/owner BEFORE YOU? This happens too often and can seriously jeopardise you negotiating position also cause arguments with biased and unqualified people that have an interest in a sale regardless of faults identified in the report. If the inspector insists it is OK to discuss the report with the agent, I would be reminding them WHO their client is, WHO is paying their fee also WHO they are they are working for?
Tips on how to check if your inspector gains access to important areas and how to keep them honest.
Ask an inspector if they physically get on the roof? Many will treat you like an idiot by saying they can check it from the inside, no one has x-ray vision, especially if building paper is fitted below the roof tiles or sheeting! Insist they take photos of faults also for proof of areas accessed. In particular if you cannot attend the inspection to supervise and observe.
Lack of access could cost you a lot of money!
Can I attend the inspection to ask questions?
Ask if you can be on site for the duration of the inspection, if they don’t want you there they usually have something to hide and may not access all areas, do not employ them. Questions should be asked before or after an inspection, not during to avoid them breaking their focus on your inspection.
Some very good reasons not to use a combined pest and building inspection also traps and how to avoid.
- One person cannot be an expert and experienced in two fields.
- Don’t be conned by firms that claim they send out two separate people or companies.
- Companies often employ combined unlicensed and people that have no experience other than being trained by the company. They operate under the company license and insurance, not their own.
- Ask for proof of them having operated a pest control business.
- Do a QBCC online check (link below) to ensure they have a completed residential building inspection license.
- For pest inspectors. Do a Google search on their pest control building business. Trust no-one!
- Do a license search (link below) and check to make sure a pest control person does not carry a builders license otherwise they are a builder that has not operated a pest control firm.
You don’t want unqualified, inexperienced people doing inspections for you!
Are all building inspection reports the same?
From over 43 years of personally operating a building service. I have found the greater majority of building inspection reports to be basic and generic. They lack any items of importance, unfortunately inspectors often justify their reports with cosmetic items only and do identify major and costly faults. Some do “structural only reports” that define a specific problem that limits their liability considerably. Many are one liners, tick box, yes/no reports that do not help a buyer make an informed decision. A reality check is when a buyer moves into the house only to find numerous faults have been omitted in their report.