Frequently Asked Questions

A. Building reports are often compiled by the vendors inspector prior to marketing the building; which is a good idea if they are used by the vendor to gain a full understanding of the condition of the house and repairs required should possible negotiations take place. If the vendor’s reports are accurate and concise the vendor should not have any surprises at the time of sale. However, vendors reports are often available to the public and if inaccurate can be misleading to the purchaser which may result in costly repairs omitted and not discovered until some time after the purchase of the property.
A. Currently, building inspectors do not have to be licensed in NSW, which in turn means they are not insured!. Timber pest inspectors also require accreditation to carry out timber pest inspections. If the inspector is not accredited to carry out either inspections they will be unable to obtain insurance; which will most likely result in a long drawn out legal battle. I am accredited with the Master Builders and fully insured with Pacific International Insurance for both Building Inspections and Timber Pest Inspections (through Rapid Insurance Brokers).

After conducting thousands of inspections over the past 20 odd years: I often get calls from new and old clients, requesting pre-purchase inspections, even though they have access to a vendors or agents report. Generally; the client’s main concern, is the quality and accuracy of the reports provided and potential omissions in the reports of significant defects, and extreme costs should they surface after the new paint and filler begin to crack becoming evident after a couple of wet and dry seasons.

I have personally carried out numerous pre-purchase inspections, and in comparison, to the vendor’s inspections, could have possibly been a pre-purchase report of a completely different house! With items such as rising damp, severe timber pest damage, unsafe and illegal wiring and structural repairs required, such as underpinning, severely corroded lintels and RSJs (rolled steel joists) and split and unsafe roof framework. Which could possibly result in serious injury or death and most certainly expensive to have rectified (possibly in excess of 100k). This could have been avoided for around $500.00

In 2009 the NSW government stopped licencing for building inspectors, which allowed a flood of newcomers to the industry, resulting in inferior reports, and uninsured inspectors and more than likely an increase in complaints to the department of fair trading. When searching for accredited inspectors, it would be advisable to consult such bodies as the Master Builders Association, who carry out out annual checks on all registered consultants, requesting current insurance and licences (professional indemnity and public liability insurance and current building licences).

There is an interesting link to the Sydney Morning Herald on the testimonial page of this site regarding unqualified building inspectors, which is worth a read.

A. Typically all buildings should have a pest inspection at a minimum of every 12 months; structures which are a high risk may require inspections to be carried out several times a year (unless wholly built of concrete and brick or block work).

Pest Inspections of Units

Units constructed with timber flooring, door/window frames, walls and ceilings (i.e. joists, studs and rafters) should have regular pest inspections, however it is advisable to research the building history regarding these inspections which are often carried out on instruction of the body corporate along with regular maintenance (this can be assessed once on site and carried out at the same time as the building report if required).

A. Most defects are not typically identified in strata reports and it is advisable to have individual reports carried out for each unit or townhouse/ villa. Defects commonly found in these buildings for example include; rising and lateral damp, concrete cancer, replacement of flooring and or roofing members due to timber pest damage, replacement of roof coverings and defective tiling to wet areas and balconies (including waterproofing repairs to wet areas, car parks and planter boxes) all of which can be significant costs and a nasty surprise if not budgeted for. These types of defects typically found in one unit will most likely be throughout the complex and should be identified and in most cases repaired as a matter of urgency to prevent further costs or possible serious injury.
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