A building and pest inspection is an important thing to consider before purchasing any property. It helps determine existing and potential problems in the house or building and give 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 indeed a very helpful tool for property buyers, but bear in mind that it also has its limitations.
Here are some things not covered in your inspection:
1. Everything 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 system, CCTV cameras, fire and smoke detectors, intercom system, 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 regulation. 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).
So, what do we 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 & sub floor space
- Garage, carport & shed
- 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.
*Article updated July 2020