Building and Pest Inspections have become a standard part of the Real Estate sales process. However, with this acceptance comes an influx of many to the profession and you should be careful when selecting an Inspector.
Here are some tips on how to select a Building Inspector. When interviewing firms over the phone, ask the following questions:
- Are you licensed with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission and insured to carry out the work? Are you affiliated with the Master Builders Association or the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association or other recognised building or pest organisations?
- What is your background? Builders, trade contractors, and other technically oriented people make good Building and Pest Inspectors if they are trained in inspection techniques. The home inspection field is unique in that its focus is on understanding the deterioration process of a home versus the design or building of a home. Accordingly, home inspectors generally learn the profession from another qualified experienced home inspector.
- How much Home Inspection experience do you have? Many Inspectors come to realise that they still know very little about a home, even after performing several dozen Building and Pest Inspections. This is why experience is so important. All homes are different and a seasoned Home Inspector will see thousands of different scenarios and problems. This experience is invaluable when he or she comes to evaluate your home.
- How long will it take you to inspect the property? Will you note that time on my written report? (The time noted on the report, unless otherwise stated, should only relate to time spent on site specifically inspecting the property and carrying out necessary tests.) What equipment will you use when inspecting my property? Moisture meters and movement detection equipment should be part of the standard kit these days.
- Do you physically get on the roof to inspect it? Some inspectors use binoculars to examine the roof some just don’t bother. This will not suffice in most cases. Not only do roof materials need to be viewed closely, there are portions of the roof, such as gutters, valleys, flashings, skylights, and roof projections which cannot be seen from the ground. Unless prevented by hazardous weather conditions or excessive height, the inspector should get on the roof.
- Finally, will you have the time I need to answer all of my questions on site or post inspection? Will you be able to explain the defects and their solutions? Often inspectors working for larger firms are bound by busy schedules and are quite limited in the time they can provide you and your property. Ask how many inspections the Inspector carries out in a single day.
Other very important points to consider are:
- Be cautious of engaging Building Inspectors and Pest Inspectors whom the Selling Agent has ‘recommended’. These inspectors may meet the agents preferred standard but it’s your standard you want to work to. Always remember, the selling agent is working for the vendor not you. A thorough inspection and detailed report may not be in their best interest.
- Always insist on at least 10 to 14 days to get your Building and Pest Inspections done. Inspection firms are usually booked up for 3 to 4 days in advance. If a defect was revealed that required accurate costing from the relevant trade contractor you would need time to get this done. You don’t want to be squeezed into the position of making that 11th hour decision.
- Be wary of inspection firms offering a Visual Inspection Only Report, it may just be a walk through. A proper inspection involves the carrying out of certain tests, e.g. tapping tiles, render and woodwork, water testing shower bases, testing surfaces with an electronic moisture meter and microwave motion sensor, and checking door and window clearances for telltale signs of movement. In order for the inspection to meet the requirements of the Australian Standard that covers home inspections (AS 4349.1 Part 1.) the consultant would need to carry out tests. Ideally the onsite inspection of an average home should take from 1½ to 2 hours.