What does a building inspection cover?

Building inspection in Brisbane

A building and pest inspection is an important consideration before purchasing any property. It helps determine existing and potential problems in the house or building and gives you an expert’s advice on the property’s overall condition.

Also, with the inspection report on hand, you will be able to negotiate the property price with cold hard facts.

The pre-purchase building inspection is a very helpful tool for property buyers, but bear in mind that it also has limitations.

If you are wondering ‘what do building inspectors look for?‘ – read on and you’ll find out everything you need to know about what is and isn’t included in your building inspection.

What do building inspectors check during a building inspection?

A standard building inspection includes the detection of minor to significant structural damage to the property’s readily accessible areas.

Such areas include:

  • Interior and exterior walls
  • Roof space
  • Roof exterior
  • Floor & subfloor space
  • Toilet
  • Laundry
  • Garage, carport & shed
  • Driveways
  • Stairs/steps, fencing and paths
  • Non-structural retaining walls

If you are concerned with things that are not covered in your inspection, you can always ask for a special-purpose inspection.

For any areas that do not fall under your inspector’s scope of work, you should seek out another consultant with a related area of expertise.

Things not covered in your building inspection:

1. Anything hidden by the walls and ceiling

Inspectors cannot assess things in a property that are not readily accessible or are obstructed during the inspection. It includes everything that is inside the walls and ceiling or covered by large furniture such as electrical wirings, plumbing and framings of the building, drainage, and gas fittings.

2. Home appliances

Some properties are sold with built-in appliances like an oven, air conditioner, dishwasher, InSinkErator, ducted vacuum and rangehood. Remember that the inspection will not check whether or not these appliances are working. Make sure to inspect them yourself, especially if the appliances are included in the property’s selling price.

3. Other home accessories

Alarm systems, CCTV cameras, fire and smoke detectors, intercom systems, television reception, and lawn watering systems are likewise not covered in your inspection. Like home appliances, you should check them personally so you can negotiate a lower price if these things are not working.

4. The size and layout of the rooms

Pre-purchase inspections also do not include checking if your existing furniture will fit in the rooms. The size and layout of the rooms are already given in the property sale posting. So even before hiring property inspectors, you should have already decided whether or not to let go of your old furniture.

5. Operation of fireplaces, swimming pools and related equipment.

Chimneys, pool filters and saunas are among the other things that are not covered in your inspection.  These are not common property areas and inspection of such places will only be done if you request for a special-purpose inspection.

6. Review of health risks and overall building safety issues

The pre-purchase building inspection does not include a review of the property’s compliance with any building codes or regulations. It will not detect the presence of toxins or any hazardous materials in the building or its surroundings. It also does not include the inspection of the land where the property sits to determine whether or not it is prone to landslide, erosion or flooding. It is advisable that you do your own research about these things before even entering the negotiation for the property.

7. Other exclusions

Following your inspection, you will receive a detailed report outlining the findings. It’s important to note that your report will not include the following information:

  • Minor faults or defects, i.e. things that don’t need substantial repairs or urgent attention and rectification, in view of the age and condition of the building.
  • Solving or providing costs for any repair work
  • Comment on the structural design or adequacy of any element of construction
  • Detection of wood-destroying insects such as termites or wood borers (this is why we recommend combining your building inspection with a pest and termite inspection to examine the property for termite damage or evidence of termite activity).

For any areas that do not fall under your inspector’s scope of work, you should seek out another consultant with a related area of expertise.

Contact the Inspectors at Inspect My Home

If you’re not sure what the inspection will cover or would like more information, contact the helpful team at Inspect My Home for advice by calling 1300 337 447 or by submitting an enquiry online.

*Article updated March 2024

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