If you are having a new home built to your own specification, or if you are considering the purchase of a newly built home, there is no question that you need a building inspector report.
Many people are under the erroneous belief that if a home is brand new there is nothing that is wrong with it, or could go wrong with it, and in any case it will have had an inspection by the local authority. The problem with an inspection from the local authority is that the inspector is usually rushed off his feet, and will only have had time to undertake the most cursory of inspections, chiefly to confirm that the home is not in a dangerous condition and likely to fall down any time soon.
Not only that, but many people believe that they are covered by the builder’s warranty. To some extent, that’s true, but most warranties are what are called “limited warranties” and are split over periods of one year, two years, and ten years. Usually you get a one year warranty which covers materials and labour, two years for mechanical defects such as air conditioning, plumbing, heating, and electrics, and ten years for structural defects. What this means is that things like paint, tiling, carpets and so on are not covered after the first year.
You should read any warranty very carefully to determine exactly what you are covered for and what you are not, and also to check on any obligations put on you. For instance, you may be required to clean the gutters periodically or maintain sufficient ventilation, and if you fail to carry out any obligations it gives the builder a first class excuse to refuse to undertake remedial work.
Bear in mind that you will have paid for any warranty work which needs to be undertaken. It is built into the cost of the home in the first place. In addition, the builder may have insured it with an insurance company.
As for problems with a new home, hear the tale of a new home buyer in the UK (I know not Australia but…) who purchased a £580,000 home from one of the country’s biggest builders, Taylor Wimpey, and over the next few months found over 140 defects! This was reported in the Mail Online on February 12th 2015. Defects included no insulation in the roof space (although the home was promoted as “energy efficient”), a £3,000 granite worktop with gaps between the pieces, no turf laid in the garden – leaving just a patch of mud, cracks in the walls and plaster, tiles peeling off the walls, a toilet fitted off-centre, faulty floor boards, and a whole lot more.
Another couple on the same estate had three new patios installed in the first six months because rainwater kept flooding into their garage as a result of faulty workmanship.
All this from one of the country’s biggest home builders!
This is why you need a proper building inspector report on any new home in order to ensure that you know exactly what you are getting and/or what needs to be done to correct defects.
Furthermore, most building contractors outsource much of the work to sub-contractors. Not many builders carry out all of the work “in house” so they will have electrical contractors to do the wiring, plumbers to install the plumbing and bathroom fittings, painters to do the decorating, roofing contractors for the roof, driveway contractors for the drive, and so on. Each of these sub-contractors may in turn sub-contract some of the work, so at the end of the day you really don’t know who built your new home.
At Capital Building Inspectors we act for you as our client, and our job is to examine your new home and inspect it in every tiny detail. All of our inspectors are highly trained and are licensed and insured. They have each spent many years in the building trade on the “shop floor” so they know exactly what to look for, and they also know where builders and sub-contractors may cut corners.
The reports that we provide are extremely detailed and cover over 1,000 possible major and minor defects. Reports are written to the Australian Standard 4349.1 and will also contain photographs where appropriate. Your report will be emailed to you on the same day that we undertake the inspection, unless it is very late in the day when it may be the following morning. We will tell you what the defect is, what steps need to be undertaken to correct it, and what the consequences may be if it is not corrected.
In many cases defects may be minor and easily corrected, but in others it may take considerable time for them to become noticed by the untrained eye. For example, faulty foundations may cause the house to settle over a period of many months, leading to cracks in walls. On a clay soil which shrinks in the heat and expands when wet, such defects may not be apparent until many months later when the seasons change, or may even not become noticeable for several years.
Our building inspector report will cover a host of different items – some large and some small. Structural walls are obviously inspected, as are lintels, windows, doors, steps, down-pipes and drains, external constructions such as patios and decking, garage doors and more.
We also inspect the roof both internally and externally to check for correct construction and look at the tiles, flashing, valleys, eaves, gutters, chimneys, and check for correct ventilation to the roof space.
We also inspect the under floor space including supports, timber framing, posts and stumps, and check for adequate ventilation, and the presence of any surface water.
All internal rooms and fittings are inspected, including tiling, carpets, skirting boards, architraves, doors and windows, kitchen and bathroom fittings, and a lot more.
Outside, we will inspect fences and walls, driveways and paths, and also any outbuildings.
When you are considering spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home it pays dividends to ensure that you have a building inspector report so that you are certain that what you are paying for is what you get.