Do I need a building inspection on a new property?

New home inspection

By now, most people have understood the value of a pre-purchase property inspection before the contract of sale, and will gladly pay to get confirmation the property is a good buy. But what if the property you intend to purchase is in fact a new construction; a brand-new home where no one has lived yet, would you still need a professional inspection?

The short answer is yes! Unless you are a building expert and familiar with building regulations, there is every possibility you could miss important issues even with a new property. It is vital that new home inspections are undertaken by a qualified building inspector to avoid unknown issues cropping up after move-in day when it’s too late for the builder to fix it (and pay for it).

But, the house was inspected at completion (?!)

There is a common misconception that, if a property has passed the required staged inspections during the construction process by a building certifier, it must have no flaws. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as council inspectors or building certifiers only enforce code compliance, not the materials or quality of workmanship.

An independent property inspector however conducts a thorough inspection including the workmanship and materials, whether the construction meets acceptable standards and will identify any defects and if substantial repairs are required.

What about the builder’s warranty?

Builders should see to the repairs as per their warranty, but unfortunately, not all of them do. A conscientious builder will make his own final rounds of the house to repair problems before the homebuyer finds them, whilst a shoddy builder might only rectify issues that are classified as code violations or a major defect.

It is always safest to get a second opinion from an independent inspector, and especially if the vendor is also the construction company and is likely to be biased in their report.

Common issues found in new homes

In real estate, the are two types of defects; Patent defects and Latent defects. The first mentioned refers to issues that are easily detectable even to the untrained eye. These can include broken windows or damage to the plasterboard, for example.

The latter refers to defects that are more hidden and would commonly not be detected by others than professionals within the industry such as a building and pest inspector. Examples of such defects include leaking shower flashings, subsidence or a roof leak.

Some common issues found during new home inspections include:

  • Structural defects, like foundation cracks, improper grading, and poor framing
  • Drainage and grading issues, which could cause water and structural damage later on
  • Window leaks
  • Faulty roofs
  • Electrical wiring, such as improperly wired outlets, open grounds, and missing switch plates
  • Plumbing issues, including reversed hot/cold in faucets, improper piping, leaks, and more

Why enlist an independent building inspector?

Martine Cherrie from Inspect My Home

With a professional building inspection, depending on the report findings, you may be able to negotiate a reduction in the price of the property. More than that, you will be able to save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs or renovations in the future by tending to the defects immediately. You may even decide not to purchase and move on to the next property instead.

It is also worth remembering that most builder’s warranties are only valid from one to ten years. This means you could be without compensation for defects as little as 13 months after you purchase the house.

With a well-timed inspection, your builder can actually get to the root of the problem and remedy it entirely before the build goes further.

Handover Inspection Reports

A pre-handover inspection or Practical Completion Inspection (PCI) is a type of building report for the buyer of a newly constructed home and takes place before the buyer takes possession of their new home but after all the building work has been completed.

It’s generally the final stage in the construction of a home or unit, and an essential step in the home-building process so that buyers can be certain that the work carried out on their new home has been done to the agreed-upon standards and properly completed.

As an independent party, our building inspectors work for the buyer to identify any outstanding defects and/or incomplete finishes, making sure the building will meet industry standards. A handover inspection and report highlight in detail any minor defects in quality, omissions, imperfections, as well as general building defects and poor workmanship, following a thorough inspection of all areas of the new property (internal and external).

Have your property professionally inspected!

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Just because a new home may look flawless to the naked eye doesn’t mean it’s perfect below the surface.

A comprehensive property handover inspection report by an experienced professional will uncover any issues. It will help you make an informed decision based on the facts. Our detailed building inspection report by licensed builders will provide you with an honest assessment of the property’s condition and value.

Inspect My Home conducts building and pest inspections in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. To see if we service your area, please use our suburb search or contact us on 1300 337 447. You can book an inspection online here.

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