A building inspection, also know as a property or house inspection is designed to give you independent and objective advice about the physical state of a building. This advice enables you to make an informed decision, usually about whether to purchase a property or not.
Inspection reports are a snapshot in time. Therefore, you should always ensure you refer to a current inspection.
Building inspections are also carried out for the purpose of risk management, new construction management, dispute resolution, insurance claims, compliance with legislation and regulations and to inform renovation and extension decisions.
Inspections are generally ordered in the process of buying or selling a home. An inspection may also be required if you discover that your home has developed a building defect over time or as a consequence to an incident.
Commercial building inspections and building inspections for builders who are concerned about the impact of construction works on neighbouring properties are also common.
As such Jim’s Building Inspection has a broad client group including:
- Home buyers and sellers
- Residential property investors
- Commercial property owners and investors
- Property managers including body corporates and strata title managers
- Owners of property including government and private agencies and businesses
- Building and construction contractors
Jim’s Building Inspections provides these services New Zealand wide.
An inspection acts as a snapshot in time which identifies safety hazards and any major or minor defects. Therefore, inspection reports have a number of purposes and benefits.
The primary reason to have an inspection is to ensure that the home you are buying or occupying is safe and doesn’t pose a health risk to occupants.
The major reasons to have a building inspection are outlined below:
- Without expert knowledge of construction methods and materials, many defects are concealed and difficult to detect.
- Most people won’t get onto the roof, into the roof and under the floor of a home during their own inspections of a property which may mean potentially significant and costly defects would be missed.
- Many individuals don’t have the expertise or time to assess the potential cost and works implications of the defects that are easily identified or obvious
- Interstate investors may buy property ‘online’ and a building inspection allows them to get independent advice and information about a property rather than relying on the advice of agents who have a vested interest in the sale proceeding
- You can rely on the findings of a building inspection as they are backed by Professional Indemnity insurance provisions, the advice of a ‘mate’ or ‘friend’ in the building trade doesn’t have the same assurances
- Prevent financial loss which may occur if you find major defects and safety hazards
- Assist you to plan for repairs and renovation and their likely cost
- Determine the rate of return on potential investments given the likely maintenance requirements
- Aid in negotiations for the sale or purchase of a property
- Document the condition of an adjoining property prior to major works which may create unintended damage
Building inspections are particularly critical when considering that a home or building may have Asbestos or other potential contaminants present including mould or lead products which are known health hazards.
When purchasing a building many people will plan to spend up to their maximum financial capacity to acquire the property. Without a building inspection these investors and home owners may then find themselves unable to meet the costs of repair works required to address defects.
The timing of a building inspection depends on your situation and mostly the method of sale. As the findings of a building inspection report may cause you to withdraw an offer you should always ensure that you are informed of your rights and options. Engage a conveyancer or settlement agent as early as possible.
Organise the inspection prior to the auction date and as early as you can. You may then also be in a position to make a confident and informed offer prior to the auction itself. Many buyers will consider a ‘bird in the hand to be worth two in the bush’.
You should also check out websites like BuySmart and contact the agent to ask if an building inspection has already been completed on the property. Jim’s Building Inspectors often conduct what we refer to as ‘on spec’ building inspections on properties which are going to auction and that they expect to be popular.
We conduct a building inspection on the property but may make the report available to multiple interested parties, often at a more competitive price.
The general risk with ordering a building inspection prior to auction is that you may not be the successful bidder. If this is the case, contact your local Jim’s Building Inspector directly as many offer discounts to assist you where further building inspections on other properties are needed.
However the bigger risk is bidding at auction and winning a property which has not had a building inspection completed may mean your best laid renovation plans and savings go out the door. With up to 1 in 5 homes being subject to termite damage at some point in their life cycle and approximately 1/3 of all homes being sold with a major defect of some type it is not worth skipping the building inspections.
We are obviously biased in this matter but we have also seen too many examples where people have purchased a property and come to us after the auction when they discover that their budget for their new kitchen is now going to go on simply making the property water tight, addressing rising damp or dodgy repair jobs.
PRIVATE OR FIXED DATE SALES and EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST
If you are planning to buy a home or any property, to occupy or as an investment, you should make any verbal or written offer conditional on a building and termite inspection at least. You can download our suggested wording options for your offers below.
Generally any wording should indicate that you retain the right to withdraw from the sale without financial penalty should safety hazards or major defects be identified. Also consult your Conveyancer about any local state based requirements for settlement processes and your options.
Again, the earlier you place an offer, conditional on your building inspection report, the earlier you can place an offer. In a rebounding market there is often a high degree of competition and many people use Jim’s Building Inspections, as with many inspectors in each city, we can get your inspection done quickly and when you need it.
It is important to understand what is generally included and excluded in a building inspection service. Jim’s Building Inspections work hard to understand what type of property you are purchasing. Factors that influence which building inspections we would reccommend include:
- The location of the property
- It’s age
- General condition (well or poorly maintained)
- Your plans (in terms of renovation or rebuilding)
- The type and condition of essential utilties like electrical, plumbing and gas
- Additional features such as pools
- Any particular concerns you have from your preliminary inspection
Your inspection options then include building inspection services like:
- General Building Inspection
- Building and Pest Inspections
- Asbestos Inspections
- Electrical Inspections
- Plumbing and Gas Inspections
- Pool Fence Inspections; we use Jim’s Fencing
Jim’s Building Inspections offers packages of building inspections that will help ensure you have all the information you need to make a decision.
It is important that you are aware of the Ins and Outs of standard building inspections.
Building Inspections – The Ins and Outs
The ins and outs of building inspections are set by the Australian Standard 4349.1 a 2007. Most companies and inspectors follow this building inspection standard as a means of ensuring the quality and consistency of their reporting.
However, you need to be aware of the Ins and Outs of this Standard to ensure you know what is included and excluded from your Standard Building Inspection Report.
Keep in mind our other inspection services which allow you to put the Outs back In!
|The bits we can see; we need about 600mm clearance under floors and around objects to safely inspect.||Too High? Over 3m it won’t be inspected, unless you make prior arrangements for secured ladders and fall prevention devices.|
Any item requiring regular repairs and maintenance which is common to homes of a similar age or type.
|Compliance with Building Regulations, any Act, ordinance, local laws or by-laws|
Any internal or external primary load bearing building element which seriously affects the structural integrity of the property
|Assessments of buildings under construction|
Urgent Safety Hazards
A defect of sufficient degree where repairs need to be carried out without undue delay to avoid: unsafe conditions or further substantial deterioration of the property or where it’s no longer fit for use.
|Explanation or investigations of titles, ownership matters, easements, covenants, restrictions, zoning and other legal issues|
Subjective and objective opinion
A report includes objective observations and some subjective statements of opinion. From time to time different building inspectors may come to different conclusions about the type and degree of defects
|Common or adjacent property in strata or company title units. You should get additional advice about what you will be required to pay the body corporate for maintenance of common areas.|
|Comparison to a building of a similar age and type||Identification of unauthorised or non-compliant building work
Worried about the Ins and Outs?
- What you can do:
- Add on the other services we provide to meet your specific needs eg: plumbing, gas, electrical, termite, pool fence, asbestos or invasive inspections etc
- Allow about 5% of the purchase price of the home as a buffer against unexpected defects from inaccessible areas
Increasingly property buyers are aware of their responsibility to discover building defects before a sale as this is known as the latin principle Caveat Emptor or a buyer beware.
The full quotation is caveat emptor, qui ignorare no debuit quod jus alienum emita let a purchaser, who ought not be ignorant of the amount and nature of the interest which he is about to buy, exercise proper caution.
Under this common law, the purchaser must make their own investigations of a property as there is no legal obligation for the current owner to disclose anything relating to the quality of the property or the land it is built on.
As a result home or property buyers that subsequently attempt to seek compensation for defects discovered after purchase will find themselves at a significant legal disadvantage. There is little recourse to compensation for purchasing a property with defects.
The worst case scenario is that you find yourself with a property (and a related mortgage) that is worth signifcantly less than you bought it for.
A building inspection is consequently a prudent risk reduction strategy in what is likely to be one of the most significant purchases of a lifetime.
With building inspectors based in metropolitan cities and regional areas of Australia, Jim’s Building Inspectors are well placed to answer questions you may have about local issues. We are your local expert when it comes to the types of building defects which are common and which building inspections you should consider having.
Whilst our Building Inspection Reports follow the same format in each state our Jim’s Building Inspectors franchisees and franchisors work hard to ensure that the information, advice and terminology used in each state is specific to that location.
A cheap building inspection report can be obtained from some providers who offer to reduce their price in return for providing a verbal report only. Verbal reports cannot be relied on and you would be exposing yourself to significant risk. Cheap building inspectors who provide verbal report options may also be less reliable and diligent overall. Therefore, you should check their insurances and whether a pre-inspection agreement is offered.
You can often get a cheaper building inspection price if you buy a package of inspection reports from the same provider. Jim’s Building Inspections will package inspection services and if you are unsuccessful at auction, Jim’s will extend a discounts to repeat clients.