There are many building inspection myths that people believe which leads them to ignore or miss major defects in their home or commercial property.
In this blog, we outline common building inspection myths and explain why they are wrong.
Myth 1: New houses are in good condition and do not need inspections.
A commonly held myth is that because your house is new, it will be in perfect condition and does not require an inspection.
While this may seem logical, it is mistaken. New homes can have defects too.
Unfortunately, new homes are built subject to the builder’s interpretation of quality workmanship and industry standards. In addition, the construction company may have cut corners by using poor quality materials or cheaper, less qualified, inexperienced builders.
Even more experienced builders can do work not up to standard when they are faced with contract deadlines that require them to rush the building process.
Myth 2: A new house will have already been inspected.
There is a common belief that laws and regulations require new homes be inspected by a building certifier.
Whilst building certifiers ensure the building is code compliant, they do not necessarily inform the home owner of any faults within the building.
They make sure a building meets government regulations around height, character, and any other legislative requirements.
They do not examine the quality of the workmanship.
Myth 3: The seller will tell me about any defects.
It is a common belief that when someone buys a house, the seller is required to mention any defects present. This is not the case in Queensland. The vendor has no obligation to advise the buyer of defects or previous termite attacks in the property.
Under current Queensland law, property sellers are not required to inform you of defects that “likely to be discovered by a buyer exercising reasonable care when inspecting the property”.
Myth 4: I can rely on an inspection organised by the vendor.
It is not uncommon for a vendor or real estate agency to organise a building and pest inspection on a property, especially if it is going to auction. This report is then made available to the potential purchaser.
The report should always be done by an inspector of your choice for your own benefit. If you purchase a property using a report that is not in your own name, you cannot use the report for any legal recourse should you find that the inspection was not done satisfactorily, and visible defects were not included.
Therefore, you should make sure to seek out an independent inspector and have the report issued in your own name.
Myth 5: I can do the inspection myself.
There are some aspiring DIY handymen and women who may be tempted to purchase inspection equipment and do the job themselves.
This is not a good decision. In particular, they might think a simple scan with a thermal imaging device will tell them all they need to know.
Thermal imaging devices are not x-rays. They only tell you temperature variants and do nothing to address other types of building defects.
Even a newly qualified building inspector must have 5 years of experience as a licensed builder before they get their certification. They are familiar with the standard of workmanship that should be evident and defects visible only to the trained eye.
This speaks to the knowledge required to be a building inspector and why the average person cannot do the job themselves.
In addition, building inspectors are insured for the work that they undertake. If they make a mistake, the buyer has the option of legal recourse to rectify the problem. If you don’t get an inspection or do the inspection yourself you do not have any recourse for problems that present at a later date and were not seen.
Myth 6: A home inspection covers everything from plumbing, to the pool, electrical wiring, to pests.
There is also some confusion over what is covered by a building inspection.
A common belief is that your building inspector will inspect your plumbing, electrical wiring, and the existence of pests such as termites.
This belief is mistaken. A building inspection is undertaken by a qualified builder.
A building inspector will look at major and minor structural defects in your home.
Areas such as the internal rooms, ceiling roof void, house foundations and the exterior of the buildings are inspected.
However, a building inspector is not qualified to examine your pool. For this you should contact a pool expert.
A building inspector does not look at gas, fireplaces, or chimneys. Anyone who installs one of these must have a gas inspection certificate.
Likewise, a building inspector will not inspect plumbing. For this, consult a plumber.
Pest inspections are also different than building inspections and require different sets of qualifications.
However, there are building inspectors who are also qualified pest inspectors, as such it is possible to get a building and pest inspection.
Myth 7: The inspector will tell me whether or not I should buy a home.
Your building inspector will not tell you whether you should purchase a property.
Ultimately, that is your decision to make.
However, having a detailed building inspection report that lists all major and minor defects will help you to make an informed decision.
This report can also be used as evidence when negotiating the price.