Important Questions

Who decides if the building inspection has passed or failed?

You! No building inspector has the right to give a pass or failure. Their role is to identify problems and if necessary, guide and compare the results with other buildings of its age and type also to put things in perspective.

When should I pay for a building inspection, before or after?

Never pay upfront for any building inspection or pest control firm before they carry out the inspection. If they have achieved what they said they would and have confidence and detail in their report, they should not have a problem with this.

Does my lender carry out building inspections as part of their process?

Be aware your lender does not arrange or carry out building inspections, they do valuation appraisals only. You must arrange building and pest inspections yourself.

Should I be present during a building inspection?

Yes:

  • Spend more time to be familiar with the property.
  • Take some measurements.
  • Ensure the inspector gains access to areas they said they would.
  • Ask questions about items that may concern you.
  • See at first hand the faults to gain a better understanding.

If a building inspection service does not want you there, don’t use them!

Should I follow the building inspector around and ask questions?

Ask questions before they start or at the end. Do not chat with the building inspector during the inspection, so you do not break their focus. No small talk on current events or football only about the property and buildings. Remember it is an inspection not a social meeting!

What if I cannot be present for a building inspection due to commitments or being located interstate?

Insist:

  • The report results are to be confidential and are not to be discussed with the agent or seller.
  • They gain access to all areas (where physically possible and safe).
  • They note any items that may have been built without Council approval.
  • Any items or areas that require further investigation, quotes or expert opinion.
  • Make sure the inspector takes numerous photos for you to gain a better understanding also for proof of access.
  • Ask the building inspector to contact you after for a brief rundown of the main points identified

Why should I bother with a building or pest inspection report with all of their disclaimers?

Disclaimers are an insurer requirement and necessary part of any report to outline areas accessed, items that cannot be checked or accessed also the responsibilty and limitations of the inspector. Without them no one would be able to get indemnity insurance to operate their business.

Should your building inspector discuss outcome of the report with the agent or seller?

Definitely not! The outcome of the report is confidential and discussed with the buyer only. This eliminates arguments from unqualified and biased people. Remember that you are the one buying the property and have to live with the problems and expense of rectification, not anyone else.

 

Can I ask the building inspector if I am paying too much for the property?

Definitely not! Building inspectors are not qualified valuers and would not be able to advise on price. A property is generally only worth the price someone is willing to pay for it. This is usually based on an individuals needs also how much money they have.

 

Does a new house need a building inspection?

Most definitely! New buildings do have faults that are sometimes built into them. Some can and some cannot be rectified. A building inspection service should also make recommendations regarding preventative maintenance. This can help you in maintaining your home for the long term.

 

Should I accept “free” building inspection reports from agents or sellers?

Definitely not! If you rely upon a report that is inaccurate and does not include major expense items. This can prove to be a costly when the house with its problems become yours and at your expense to fix either now or before you sell. Free building inspection reports can be costly from their omissions!

 

What should I expect from a building inspector?

  • Give an unbiased opinion, independent of agent.
  • Gain access where possible and safe to do so.
  • The report is confidential and not discussed with seller or agent.
  • They are available for questions after.
  • Explain areas of concern in simple terms.
  • Put faults in perspective.
  • Can recommend economical solutions on how to rectify faults.

What should I expect from a building inspection report?

  • Recommendations on preventative maintenance.
  • Written in simple terms.
  • Highlight major and expensive faults.
  • Numbered headings for easier future reference.
  • Detailed text with references made to photos throughout the report.
  • List items that require further investigation or quotes.
  • Brief summary with an overall comparison.

What should I expect from a pest inspector?

  • Determine borer/termite activity and or damage, extent and degree.
  • If treatments are still effective or out of date.
  • Advise if any termite treatment cannot be guaranteed.
  • Are from a pest control background, not a builder!
  • Report is confidential, not discussed with seller or agent.
  • Available for questions after.
  • Provide a quote on treatment, if necessary.

Does a building inspector comment on areas of specialised knowledge?

If necessary, to a limited degree only, and from a builder’s point of view only, not as a qualified person in areas of specialised knowledge. A qualified person in the specific field must be employed, when required for expert advice and/or quotes regarding rectification or replacing of any major costly items.

Should a building inspector comment on retaining walls?

Yes, this would be dependent upon the type and height of the wall. In some case it would be necessary to employ a structural engineer for expert advice, in particular if the retaining walls may have an affect on other structures also where they are over 1 metre in height.

What areas are accessed during a building inspection?

All areas of the property and buildings from top to bottom that can be accessed without removing linings, furniture and stored items, also where safe to do so without endangering the life and well-being of the inspector; also without gaining access to private property areas.

Does a building inspector check for Asbestos?

No. A building inspector is not qualifed to test or check materials for Asbestos. Unless samples are taken and sent off to a laboratory for testing. Otherwise testing can be carried out onsite using a MicroPhazir AS Asbestos Analyzer, a device specifically designed to test for Asbestos.

How long does a building inspection take?

Approximately an hour and a quarter or more on site, depending on the size and accessibility of the main buildings, other structures and number of faults identified. Also time taken for onsite client consultation. Detailed reports take up the rest of the day to compile.

Are boundary locations checked by building inspectors?

No. Building inspectors do not check boundary locations. If any buildings are close to the fence lines, it should be recommended that a qualified property surveyor be employed to determine their exact location. Bear in mind that fences are not necessarily a true indication of the boundary locations.

Are common property areas of units/townhouses checked in a building inspection?

Yes, in most circumstances the common property areas are checked and commented on by the inspector. Where possible also without gaining access to private property also locked areas.

Is the roof exterior checked by a building inspector?

Yes, in the majority of cases when safe to do so, even two storey buildings! But not when the roof is too high for a two storey ladder also where the pitch is too steep or the roof is slippery. In some cases the ladder may be repositioned around the building to allow for assessment.

When do I receive my building inspection report?

Usually within 24 hours, earlier in some circumstances. Be warned about short turnaround reports. They lack any meaningful content other than minor cosmetic items and often miss major expense items.

Don’t expect to receive a detailed report quickly, otherwise be prepared to suffer the consequences and pay dearly, later!

Is age taken into consideration in the building inspection report?

Yes, but age must be not used as an excuse for any fault. Faults can be compared and put in perspective but must never be understated because of age.

What is a handover building inspection report?

They can vary considerably from a cosmetic only report, that can be carried out by anyone without any building experience whatsoever. Or it can be carried out by a builder that identifies major faults and makes recommendations on preventative maintenance to ensure the life of the building for the long term.

Who does a handover building inspection report?

In most cases, people with very little or no building licenses or experience. Anyone that can walk around and place tape around a building to identify only minor blemishes. You don’t pay a professional to do what you or anyone for that matter can achieve.

Should age of the building be used as an excuse to accept problems?

No! What is most important is if a building has been properly maintained over its life span. Whether faults are acceptable or not should not be based on age of the building but severity, extent and above all, cost of rectification.

Should I employ a combined building/pest inspection service or a company that will arrange both?

Definitely not! Employ separate companies yourself, one that does building inspections and a company that currently operates a pest control business with experience. Do not use a builder to carry out a pest inspection.

Builders do not do termite treatments, pest control people do not build houses!

What would stop me from proceeding with a purchase?

This would be dependent on what the fault(s) may be, their severity and rectification cost also whether you are comfortable with the inspection results and additional outlay that you were not aware of before signing the contract to buy.

Can I contact the building inspector after the inspection?

Most definitely! You must be able to contact the inspector after the inspection to clarify any items in the report that that you do not fully understand also if necessary, put them in perspective and compare to problems in other buildings of its age with similar problems.

Should I ask the seller to replace or rectify anything?

Never! They are not likely to have anything rectified or replaced to an acceptable standard that is likely to last for the long-term. If time allows, obtain quotes from trusted people of your choice.

Can I negotiate the buying price?

Most definitely! This may be dependent on seriousness of the faults also whether you feel the cost to replace or rectify faults have been factored into the selling price. More importantly, whether you are still interested in the property after being made aware of its faults.

Will insurance pay for major items the building inspector has missed in my inspection report?

Not necessarily. You would need to engage a solicitor/lawyer for advise on whether a claim against the inspector or company can be achieved. This is why it is important to do research beforehand to ensure the inspector personally carries the licenses and insurance, not just the company!

Will the QBCC help me if the building inspector has neglected to mention major items in my inspection report?

Highly unlikely! The QBCC will most likely recommend you consult a solicitor/lawyer for advice on what options regarding possible compensation for major items not mentioned in an inspection report. Legal action does not necessarily mean you will win and can be very costly.

Why does the seller have the right for a building inspection report that I have paid for?

This is most likely dependent upon a clause in the contract that you have signed. The majority of contracts include a clause that stipulates you must give a full copy of the building report to the seller (at no cost to them whatsoever) if they demand it.

Is the outcome of a building inspection report to my discretion and who decides?

In most cases this is worked out between the buyer and seller legal representatives or at worst, a court of law. What could affect the outcome considerably is the contract you have signed. Always seek advice from your legal representative before signing any contract to purchase!

Should I arrange a building inspection before making an offer and signing a contract?

Always the preferred way to go as this allows you to have a better understanding as to the true condition of the property and buildings after being made aware of faults identified in the report and before deciding on a price to offer.

Should I engage a solicitor/lawyer before signing a contract or do I trust an industry standard contract?

Most definitely engage a solicitor/lawyer before signing any contract so they can advise on what clauses are required to protect your interest and put the decision-making process entirely in your hands. Standard contracts have been drafted to help agents sell properties, not to protect buyers!

Do all buildings have faults?

Yes! The most important things to consider are whether the faults are acceptable or not acceptable. In other words apart from normal wear and tear, items that are major and costly to have repaired or replaced.

Can I use a friend, relative or builder to carry out my building inspection?

Definitely not! Unless: they are qualified, experienced and carry insurance or willing to accept responsibility for costly items that they neglected to mention, from lack of experience. Ask anyone that is willing to carry out an building inspection for you, if they carry insurance for negligence.

Can I do my own building inspection?

Most definitely! To a limited degree only. Take your time and look for items that you may believe to be costly to have repaired or replaced before engaging a qualified building and pest control firm.

What to do after the building inspection?

Read the report thoroughly, contact the building inspector immediately for clarification on any items of concern also regarding any items that you do not fully understand. If necessary consult your legal representative for advice.

When should I employ experts?

When directed in the report for advice on items that require expert and specialised knowledge regarding rectification and/or costing.

Should I expect quotes regarding rectification in my building inspection report?

Definitely not!  The role of the building inspector is fault finding not issuing quotes on items. Quotes must be obtained, from experts in their particular field. Guesstimates can be very costly to a buyer after the purchase has become unconditional and the opportunity for renegotiating is long gone.

What reasons do I need to terminate a contract?

This is dependent upon the contract that you have signed also if you have had additional clauses included to give you the right as to whether to buy the property or not.

Should I ask agent for referrals and get them to arrange anything?

Definitely not! Make sure everyone that you use is totally independent of the real estate agent. This will help avoid biased opinions from people that rely upon agents for referrals also their source of income.

Should a building or pest inspector rely solely on a Moisture Meter and/or a Thermal Imaging device to determine faults?

Definitely not! These are handy tools to use to verify what the inspector should already know but must not be relied upon solely. Experience and other factors must also be taken into consideration to avoid misleading a buyer!

Are new home builder warranties transferable?

Q: I was told that because the house is new it would not be necessary to have an inspection as the remainder of the warranties are transferable. Is that true?

A: Not necessarily! Check with the Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC) ph 139 333, regarding the property location to see if there are any warranties would be transferable to you.

Can unlicensed people do building and/or pest inspections?

Unlicensed building and/or pest inspector’s can legally operate under a company and their QBCC licence without having any experience, qualifications also insurance. Do a license search through the QBCC and make sure your building or pest inspector personally carries indemnity insurance, not just the company! 

QBCC License search

Is the building and pest inspection industry corrupt? 

You better believe it. It is so easy to understand and here are the reasons why. Where do you think the majority of building and/or pest inspectors receive recommendations and their source of income from? real estate agents! If they receive 50-200 or more referrals from the agents and one from you, where do you think their loyalty is and who their best friend is? and it’s not you!