Checking a property typically begins with a site inspection. This is an assessment of the site for any conditions that may have a negative impact on any buildings or associated structures on the property (conditions conducive to structural damage).

Drainage and Rain Run-Off

The lay of the land surrounding the structures is highly important, as this will impact on surface drainage. In many ways it is the effect that water has on a building that is critical to its continued performance. The site should always be contoured to drain rain run-off away from a building. Where this is not possible, surface drains should be installed.
Rain run-off should not be allowed to penetrate the subfloor area or pond at the base of a structure. Excess moisture ponding at the base of a building can destabilise the foundation earth supporting the building, and may cause movement and cracking. Damp will adversely affect the masonry footings or steel / timber posts.


Trees also receive particular attention. Large trees growing close to a building, retaining walls, or other structures can have a serious negative impact on them. Roots can cause uplifting to a structure, or the removal of moisture from the foundation earth can cause excessive shrinkage and drying out, resulting in sinking or subsidence of the earth that is supporting the structures. Tree roots can also invade and seriously damage underground pipes which in turn can cause water to leak from damaged pipes into the foundation earth. Blocked stormwater pipes can cause roof water to back up and overflow to the base of a building. Repairing or replacing damaged underground pipes is a costly exercise.

Fencing, Retaining Walls and Swimming Pools

Your inspector will check fencing and retaining walls as part on the site inspection. Timber structures are checked for wood decay and termite activity. Pool fencing, swimming pools and pool equipment do not form part of a pre-purchase property inspection as defined by Australian Standard AS 4349.1. However, your will take an overview of these. The inspector will note any safety hazards, as well as any important structural damage to a swimming pool, with advice for further inspection by a licensed Pool Builder. A search for a properties pool fence compliance certificate can be done on the Queensland Government QBCC website.

Other Structures

Outbuildings such as carports, garages pergolas are also checked as part of the site inspection. These structures are checked in much the same way as the main building or dwelling would be checked.

Tina Mueller -
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