New house construction & inspection stages,

Courtesy of owner/operator of Qld Home Buyers Inspection service, Peter Weddell that has operated in the building industry since 1966.

So you have decided to have your dream home built, well here are some tips.

First of all, the soil must be tested:

  • The soil must be tested by a Geotechnical Engineer to determine the type of soil.
  • The footings and slab are then designed, based on the soil test results.
  • The results are then passed onto a licensed Builder, Designer or Architect.
  • Consult a Builder, Designer or Architect to draft plans to submit to the Council for approval.

Stages of inspections required during the construction process:

  • Footings (and if required) slab. This must be carried out after preparation and before the concrete is poured.
  • The following must be in place: Formwork (to support the concrete). Termite treatment (or alternative). Plastic membrane (vapor barrier). Reinforcing (supported and tied).
  • Framing, before sheeting is attached.
  • On completion of the building to determine it conforms with all requirements in the approved plan and specifications.

What must be checked at these inspection stages?

  • Footings: Width &, depth. Reinforcing, dimensions, securing, locations (from top and bottom). Membrane, lap cover & damage.
  • Slab: Depth. Reinforcing, dimensions, securing, locations (from top and bottom). Membrane, lap cover & damage.
  • Frame: Type of timber, dimensions and spacings. Bracing, type, location, securings. Lintels, sizes. Tie-down securings.

Extremely important: All of the building components must be checked against the Council approved plan and specifications to ensure they are the same. Also make sure any amendments have been Council approved.

Who is qualified to carry out these inspections?

  • Licensed Certifier.
  • Structural engineer.
  • Anyone with the appropriate qualifications and insurance cover (check).

Who should not carry out these inspections?

  • Licensed builders (without further qualifications and insurance cover) are not qualified to carry out  inspections regarding: Footings, slab, frame.
  • Check their insurance limitations, if they claim they can.

Who would I recommend to perform these inspections on your behalf:

  • Footings & slab: Qualified structural engineer.
  • Framing: Qualified structural engineer.
  • Completion (handover): Qualified Builder.
  • Maintenance: Yourself.

Areas they should access:

  • Property: surface drainage.
  • Building exterior: Design faults.
  • Roof exterior (where safe to access): Broken tiles, flashings.
  • Roof interior (where possible): Construction. Accumulation of insulation around electrical fittings.
  • Building interior: Sagging ceilings. Leaking from bathroom, laundry, toilet, kitchen. Obvious unacceptable finishes.

What to expect from a completion (handover) inspection report:

  • Major problems.
  • Suggestions on preventative maintenance.
  • Access to the inspector for advice after the inspection.

Completion (handover) Inspections, what to watch out for:

  • Minor items of no consequence.
  • Omission of major items.
  • Areas they did not attempt to access.

Maintenance period, after moving in:

  • Compile a list of what you consider to be defects.
  • Pass your list onto the builder
  • If your builder is not co-operative then you may need to contact the QBCC for advice on your course of action.

Related information:

Be realistic about finish and what to expect, unless you paid a premium for quality.

For independent Building Inspections Brisbane in all suburbs, Qld Home Buyers Inspection Service.