If you’re buying a new home or unit, it’s essential that you understand every aspect of your property before you buy, whether good or bad and this is where building inspections can help. Building inspections can unearth a range of problems in your new property, particularly if the building is older. Here are just a few of the problems building inspections might uncover.
External building inspections include assessments of yards, driveways, fences, decks, windows, drainage, elevation and the external walls of your property. While the actual building may appear to be sound, problems with exterior areas, such as cracked driveways, timber deterioration clogged or rusted gutters or insufficient drainage can be common. Building inspections should also include an inspection of external constructions, such as garages, sheds, decks, pergolas and awnings. Common issues here can involve rust and deterioration. However, building inspections don’t usually cover swimming pools.
A regular issue that comes up during building inspections is poor roofing. In this case, building inspections may reveal problems like cracked, loose or broken tiles, leaking roofs or corrosion of roof valleys, broken or rusted gutters, inadequate flashing and deterioration or rust in metal roofing. Building inspections will also examine any roofing insulation, if possible, and can sometimes expose damaged sarking. Building inspections may also uncover possible issues with asbestos, though you will need to contact a professional asbestos contractor to investigate this further.
While a pre-purchase building inspector isn’t a structural engineer, potential structural issues also arise frequently as a result of building inspections. These include evidence of sinking and cracking (especially in older buildings), poor structural or retaining walls and dampness and timber rotting and you may need to consult a licensed builder or structural engineer for further examination.
Building inspections are also crucial in giving you an accurate assessment of the interior condition of your home. Interior issues that arise with building inspections often involve things like sagging ceilings, cracked walls or peeling paint, internal moisture and uneven floors or stairs. Leaks in the bathroom, toilet and shower recess are also fairly common, as are cracked/missing tiles and leaking or ‘hammering’ taps. Building inspections will also generally reveal wear and tears to doors, windows, vanity cabinets and basins and will report back on any obvious issues with utility connections like water, hot water and gas.
While assessment of electrical and plumbing systems is not included in a building inspection report, inspectors often see signs that suggest an issue with plumbing or wiring. They will generally make a note of this and recommend the client arrange for a thorough inspection of that system by an appropriately licensed tradesperson.
It’s important to keep in mind that building inspections are not there to make you stressed – they’re there to give you a detailed picture of the condition of your prospective new home. While the property may not have all (or any) of these issues, it may have some of them. Building inspections can assist buyers to identify potentially costly issues with a property before they commit to purchase.