Building Inspections – The Ins and Outs
The ins and outs of building inspections are set by the Australian Standard 4349.1 – 2007. Most companies and inspectors follow this building inspection standard as a means of ensuring the quality and consistency of their reporting.
However you need to be aware of the ‘Ins and Outs’ of this Standard to ensure you know what is included and excluded from your Standard Building Inspection Report.
Keep in mind our other inspection services which allow you to put the Outs back In!
The bits we can see;
We need about 600mm clearance under floors and around objects to safely inspect.
Over 3m it won’t be inspected, unless you make prior arrangements for secured ladders and fall prevention devices.
Any item requiring regular repairs and maintenance which is common to homes of a similar age or type.
Compliance with Building Regulations, any Act, ordinance, local laws or by-laws.
Any internal or external primary load bearing building element which seriously affects the structural integrity of the property.
Assessments of buildings under construction.
Urgent Safety Hazards
A defect of sufficient degree where repairs need to be carried out without undue delay to avoid: unsafe conditions or further substantial deterioration of the property or where it’s no longer fit for use.
Explanation or investigations of titles, ownership matters, easements, covenants, restrictions, zoning and other legal issues.
Subjective and objective opinion
A report includes objective observations and some subjective statements of opinion. From time to time different building inspectors may come to different conclusions about the type and degree of defects.
Common or adjacent property in strata or company title units. You should get additional advice about what you will be required to pay the body corporate for maintenance of common areas.
Comparison to a building of a similar age and type
Identification of unauthorised or non-compliant building work
- Roof plumbing
- General gas, water and sanitary plumbing
- Electrical wiring or automated fittings like alarms, garage doors etc
- Identification of toxic mould
- Swimming pool fencing
- Greywater & rainwater tanks
- Anything below ground such as footings, drainage or soil conditions
Worried about the Ins and Outs?
What can you do?
- Add on the other services we provide to meet your specific needs eg: plumbing, gas, electrical, termite, pool fence, asbestos or invasive inspections etc
- Allow about 5% of the purchase price of the home as a buffer against unexpected defects from inaccessible areas
Property Inspection Report Scope
This Report is prepared by The Property Inspectors Pty Ltd (TPI) and in accordance with Australian Standard 4349.1-2007 Inspection of Buildings Part 1: Pre-purchase inspections – Residential Buildings and any other Australian Standards and definitions cited in the Terms and Conditions.
This Report is a subjective assessment prepared by the inspector on a visual inspection of the condition of the reasonably accessible parts of the property and on the basis of the prevailing structural, soil and weather conditions at the time of the inspection and does not cover enquiries of councils or other authorities. It is not a certificate of compliance for the property within the requirements of any Act, regulation, ordinance or local by-law.
Prolonged periods of wet or dry weather may cause structural changes to the property as described in TPI’s Property Maintenance Guide which you can issues upon request.
This Report will not disclose defects in inaccessible areas, defects that are concealed and/or not reasonably visible, defects that may be apparent in other weather conditions or defects that have not yet arisen.
This Report is not a rigorous assessment of all building elements and does not cover all maintenance items, particularly those such as jamming doors, windows or catches, decorative finishes and hairline or slight cracks. This is in accordance with–AS 2870-2011.
The Report is not a pest inspection. TPI recommends that a pest inspection be carried out on all properties being considered for purchase. Customers wishing to have a full pest inspection should contact TPI’s to arrange a separate pest inspection. s TPI’s Timber Pest Inspections are undertaken by highly qualified, independent and accredited inspectors. TPI’s does not sell pest control services so you can trust that you will not be recommended treatments that you do not need.
The inspection assumes that the existing use of the property will continue and the Report is prepared on that basis. As such, the inspection will not assess the fitness of the property for any other intended purpose. We advise you to verify any proposed change in use with the relevant authorities.
If you are intending to purchase the property, and in consideration of the limitations of a visual inspection, as well as budgeting for the anticipated cost of the recommended repairs and maintenance, TPI’s recommends budgeting a further 5 % of the value of the property, to provide a “safety net” against unexpected costs that may arise over the first year to five years of ownership and that this be taken into account when establishing a purchase price. The amount of this safety net is a rough guide for properties generally and not specific to your property.
Where the property is a unit or apartment, associated areas may include common areas pertinent and immediately adjacent to the subject residence, or as specifically instructed by the customer.
What is included in your Report
- Identification of observed building defects upon a visual inspection of the reasonably accessible parts of the property;
- Assessment of defects for significance relative to the expected condition of a well maintained property of similar age and construction type;
- Recommended actions for identified defects;
- Recommended professionals and/or trades who may be appropriate to undertake further investigation or carry out the recommended action; if requested by our client
- General and specific additional advice on maintenance matters that your inspector has deemed appropriate.
What is not recorded in your Report
- Identification of toxic mould, or asbestos related products;
- Condition or operation of swimming pools, spas or their surroundings, rainwater or grey water tanks or treatment and similar facilities;
- Condition, adequacy or compliance of electrical, gas and plumbing systems including roof plumbing, underground pipes or drainage systems;
- Operation adequacy or compliance of security and communications systems, smoke detectors, building services, building automation, electrically operated doors including garage doors, plant, equipment, mechanical, gas or electrical appliances and fittings;
- Footings below ground, soil conditions, site factors and hazards;
- Compliance with legal, planning, regulatory including Building Code of Australia, sustainability or environmental matters including but not limited to the adequacy or safety of insulation, waterproof membranes and/or other installations, Bushfire Attack Level assessments;
- Timber, metal or other framing sizes and adequacy.
- Termite and pest past or current status
Minor Defect/Maintenance item
Any items of repair which are common to properties of similar age or type of construction and as described in the Property Maintenance Guide, including decorative features and finishes..
A defect of sufficient magnitude where rectification has to be carried out without undue delay to avoid:
- unsafe conditions, posing a threat to life or serious injury; or,
- loss of utility whereby the defect is such that the whole of the relevant part of the property can no longer serve its intended function; or,
- further substantial deterioration of the property.
Serious Structural Defect
A major defect in any internal or external primary load bearing component of the building which seriously affects the structural integrity of the building requiring rectification to be carried out without undue delay to avoid:
- unsafe conditions, posing a threat to life or serious injury; or,
- loss of utility, whereby the defect is such that the whole of the relevant part of the building can no longer serve its intended function; or,
- further substantial deterioration of the building.
In the case of cracking, a serious structural defect denotes severe cracking as defined within Australian Standard AS 2870-2011.
The inspector can only inspect the reasonably accessible parts of the property. It is your responsibility to ensure that any inaccessible parts of the property that can be made reasonably accessible for an inspection are made so, prior to the inspection. If parts of the property have been noted as being inaccessible during the inspection, it is important that you contact the inspector and arrange for a second inspection when access is available.
Reasonably and Safely Accessible – Accessible areas which can be accessed by a 3.6 metre ladder or those which have at least 600mm unimpeded vertical and horizontal clearance without the removal of any fixed or unfixed furniture, fittings, stored items, cladding or lining materials, plants or soil. TPI’s inspectors are unable to access areas where there is a risk of adverse disturbance or damage to the property. This includes the garden area. The inspector will determine the extent of accessible areas at the time of the inspection.
Workplace Health and Safety access conditions apply subject to relevant State and Territory regulations. TPI’s accredited inspectors are unable to inspect areas higher than 3 metres above ground level unless secure ladder access is available and fall prevention devices or barriers are present.
Reasonable Access may not be possible due to physical obstructions or conditions that may be hazardous or unsafe to the inspector.
Access restrictions will be noted where appropriate.
- Your Report is not a pest inspection report. TPI’s recommends pre-purchase and ongoing timber pest inspection in all mainland states and territories.
- Smoke detectors must be installed in accordance with current regulations. TPI’s suggests that you regularly check these to ensure proper operation.
- Drought conditions can cause buildings to crack literally overnight. Please note the precautions advised in the referred Property Maintenance Guide and any specific recommendations made in your Report.
- The condition of timber-framed walls, floors DECKs and balconies or concrete decks and balconies deteriorates over time – annual inspections should be undertaken to verify their safety.
- In the interests of safety, TPI’s recommends all property owners should have an electrical safety inspection undertaken by a suitably qualified specialist.
- If you are purchasing the property, TPI’s recommends a review of all door and window locks and security systems, appliance and equipment at settlement.
For Strata, Stratum and Company Title Properties
The Inspection is limited to the nominated individual property including associated private open space. It is not the scope of this Inspection to include common or other adjacent property. Legal advice should be obtained as to the liability to contribute to the cost of repairs in respect of any common property.
Terms & Conditions
The Report has been prepared by The Property Inspectors Pty Ltd (TPI’s) and the named inspector and is supplied to you (the named customer) on the basis of and subject to the Scope of Inspection and the Terms and Conditions of the Contract and the Inspection and TPI’s accepts no responsibility to other persons relying on the report.
The Report has been prepared in accordance with Australian Standard 4349.1-2007 Inspection of Buildings Part 1: Pre-purchase Inspections – Residential Buildings and to any other Australian Standards and definitions cited in the Terms and Conditions.
Please note that having provided to you an opportunity to read or hear the Scope of Inspection and the Terms and Conditions following upon you making a booking for the Property Inspection, the inspector has proceeded to conduct the inspection of the property and TPI’s has proceeded to supply this Report on the basis that you have accepted the Scope of Inspection and the Terms and Conditions and/or are deemed to have done so upon the inspector arriving at the property.
The Report is to be read in conjunction with all other The Property Inspectors Reports issued concurrently for the property.
The Scope of Inspection and the Terms and Conditions take precedence over any oral or written representations by TPI’s, to the extent of any inconsistency.
- After making the booking, the customer is deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions and Scope of Inspection upon the inspector arriving on site.
- If an appointment is cancelled within 3 days of the scheduled inspection a fee of $300.00 is applicable
(Note: appointments can be re-scheduled without charge with the appropriate notice, we require a minimum of 24 hours’ notice, if rescheduled within 24hrs of the appointment a fee of $300.00 will be applicable).
- The Report is not a guarantee but is an opinion of the condition of the inspected property relative to the average condition of well maintained similar properties of a similar age. A limited written guarantee is available on written acceptance of the guarantee conditions.
- TPI’s accepts no liability with respect to work carried out by other trades, consultants or practitioners referred by TPI’s. It is your responsibility to make appropriate contractual arrangements with such person.
- The Report is not a certificate of compliance for the property within the requirements of any Act, regulation, ordinance or local by-law.
- TPI’s does not accept responsibility for services other than those provided in this Report.
- In the absence of the written guarantee provided by TPI’s, TPI’s liability shall be limited to the provision of a new inspection and report or the payment of the cost of a new inspection and report, at the election of TPI’s.
- The inspection assumes that the existing use of the building will continue. The inspection will not assess the fitness of the building for any intended purpose. Any proposed change in use should be verified with the relevant authorities.
- The Property Maintenance Guide constitutes a vital part of the inspector’s recommendations and failure to observe either the recommendations or the Property Maintenance Guide could lead to premature deterioration of the property.
- The Health and Safety Warnings constitutes a vital part of TPI’s recommendation to you. Failure to observe the provisions of the warning sheet could jeopardise the safety of the occupants.
- The Report and its appendices and attachments, as issued by TPI’s, takes precedence over any oral advice or draft reports, to the extent of any inconsistencies, and only the Report and its appendices and attachments, which form a vital part of the inspector’s recommendations, shall be relied upon by you.
- The fees quoted within our website are for projects within 30kms from our Drummoyne NSW 2047 office. Any project outside the 30km radius will be charged out at $300 per hour over and above these advertised prices.
- A surcharge of 2.2% will be applied to all credit card transactions on this website.
- If you are dissatisfied with the Report you agree to promptly give TPI’s written notice specifying the matters about which you are dissatisfied and allow TPI’s to attempt to resolve the matters with you within 28 days of receipt by TPI’s of such written notice before taking any remedial action or incurring any costs.
- It is expected that a representative meet the Inspector at the subject property to allow access
if keys are to picked up or dropped off by the inspector from an address othere than the subject / site address there will be a fee of $120 per destination / trip in pick up and dropping off keys or reports if no email address is provided.
- If the inspector is delayed by the agent or customer or any other party the property inspectors will bill out for any time delay once the inspector has arrived on site, the hourly rate will be $300 per hr plus gst.
- If an inspector arrives on site and access is not granted the prior agreed fees for the report will still be billed out if the property has been assessed and reported on or not and and 2nd report must be recommissioned and paid for prior to the inspector revisiting the property.
- The standard building and pest reports are for the house only and any attached garages only (no – pools, retaining walls, gardens, the site, outside structures such as pergolas cabanas, sheds boat house, out building, driveways, boundary fencers).
- No SERVICES are included within the standard building report but can be added to any report for an additional fee (see fees page).
- Reference to TPI’s in this Report and any other documentation includes, where the context permits, its agents and representatives authorised to act on its behalf.
- These Terms and Conditions are in addition to, and do not replace or remove, any rights or implied guarantees conferred by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 or any other consumer protection legislation.
- Cancellation of appointments must be confirmed via email to TPI office 24 Hrs (ie 3 working days) in advance of the set appointment otherwise the agree fee will be charged in full for the services.
- If the inspectors arrives on site and no access or personnel arrives allowing internal access to the property for the set appointment the inspector will remain on site for 1hr being the average time of an inspection and the inspector will assess and report on the external scope or as accesses allows and if no access or person arrives to allow internal access then the fee will remain due in full and no refund or discount will be applied to the account.
- If additional works are requested on site while the inspection is being carried out, the verbal instruction by the client to TPI personnel will be a legally binding agreement and payment must be made via Cash or credit card or cheque prior to the inspector releasing any reports and prior to the inspector leaving the property.
- A car spot must be made available by the consumer for our inspector to park the ute within the building that is being inspected, if no parking is supplied and a parking station needs to be used the cost of the parking station for the inspectors ute will be added to the fees quoted for the inspection.
- All reports will be released within 14 business days from the date of inspection if all information is at hand, or 14 business days from the date of all supporting facts, collection of documents and research being concluded.
- By commissioning a Building & Pest or Strata Report with The Property Inspectors, you are approving the finished report to be on sold on our website. There will be no discounts or credit given to a commissioning party if The Property Inspectors on sell a report that you have commissioned.
- Building & Pest Reports and Strata Reports are valid for a period of no more than 4 weeks from the date the inspection was carried out.
- All reports or documents will be provided in electronic format only, via email or shared Dropbox link, a hardcopy of the documents can be provided though they will attract additional fees for administration, printing and postage.
Terms & Descriptions
Aluminium Core Dampcourse
Aluminium core damp courses provide a very effective membrane. They consist of metal centres coated with bitumen.
Brick Veneer consists of a timber or steel frame structure having an outer leaf of brickwork as the external cladding. A cavity is formed, usually 40mm wide between the frame and the brickwork, which is fastened to the studs with metal or plastic ties. This type of construction gives an external appearance of an all brick construction.
Concrete Slab Footings
A concrete slab footing is one that covers a whole area on which a building is constructed. The slab is concrete re-enforced with steel sitting directly on the foundation material.
Concrete tiles, unlike terracotta tiles, will not fret but will tend to loose their colour and will support fungal growths. Fungal growths may change the colour of the concrete tiles but do not cause any weakness or damage to the tiles.
Corrugated Steel Roofing
By using corrugated steel sheeting as the roofing material, decking profiles can have quite a low pitch profile. Corrugated steel is highly water resistant when well maintained.
Cut & Pitched Roof
A timber cut and pitched roof is the traditional way of roof construction. All framework is cut and erected on site.
Fibre Cement Sheeting
Fibre cement sheeting has a number of excellent qualities that make it a good choice: it is long lasting, not effected by water, is easily painted and readily available and it will not rot or be eaten. Over time the material may become slightly brittle and heavy impact will break the sheets.
Asbestos fibres have been used for many years as reinforcement for roof and wall sheeting. Its main defects are brittleness with age, a tendency to explode in fires and low insulation values for heat and acoustics. The asbestos cement sheeting may become brittle with age and crack.
Asbestos cement has been phased out in Australia because of the great danger of raw asbestos. Existing asbestos cement sheeting presents no known danger to health as the fibres are bound into the material. If cutting or removing asbestos cement sheeting care should be taken to minimise exposure to airborne asbestos fibres. When working with this sheeting you must comply with the Worksafe Australia requirements. Removal of asbestos cement sheeting entails a rigorous safety procedure.
Gypsum plasters are widely used as the core of sheets that are heavily paper covered on both faces and have a very smooth surface. these sheets can be glued or nail fixed to timber or metal framing and can be used to build a fire resistance rating in partitions and walls.
Metal decking should always be well maintained with a painted surface to avoid rust damage. Paint is not essential to prevent rust but the decking itself is only minimally rust resistant. Metal decking comes in a variety of profiles. The strength of the decking is reliant on the thickness and profile, therefore some of the decking can be walked on but some may buckle under such pressure.
The mortar, which holds the ridge capping in place, may crack due to movement in the roof, the usual expansion and contraction, or by branches falling on the roof. It is important that the ridge capping be secured with mortar to avoid possible leaks into the roof space.
Pier and Strip Footings
Pier and strip footing construction consists of brick, concrete or stone piers and walls on re-enforced concrete strip and blob footings. The whole structure is supported on these footings, which transfer the load into the foundation.
A pitched roof has two or more slopes all meeting at the top ridge point.
Polythene damp courses are made of virgin polymer with some having a metal centre. It is one of the most effective damp course materials
A skillion roof is a single pitched roof.
A major problem with lintels is that they are exposed on the exterior of a house and, when made of steel, are prone to rust. If this is treated early – by cleaning, priming and painting – you will have few problems. If rust is advanced, the lintel will swell, causing the brickwork to crack and eventually causing considerable damage.
Galvanised steel lintels will outlast the primed mild-steel variety. Galvanised steel lintels may last up to 100 years without requiring any maintenance against rust.
Terracotta Roof Tiles
Terracotta tiles, although brittle, are very permanent in resisting most temperate to hot weather conditions, however they may not be immune to damage from salt spray in coastal areas.
Because of the brittleness of these tiles, walking on them should be done with care or avoided completely if possible.
A timber frame house is clad internally and externally. The timber frame does all the structural load bearing work, supporting the roof, ceiling and wall cladding.
Trusses are engineered complete roof frames that are commonly used in modern buildings. They are very accurate, designed to stress requirements and are supported only on the outside frames of a house.
Trusses give few problems, but in aggressive environments it is worth checking the nail plates for rust. If rust is found, treat it with anti-rust paint.
If any of the cords (timber lengths) of a truss breaks or is damaged, the truss will not operate properly and the joint will have to be repaired.
Vinyl siding comes in two types: very thin sheets which perform best if attached to an existing backing such as sheet cladding or weatherboards, or thick PVC boards which are a cladding in their own right. Vinyls are colourfast and do not need repainting, but must be securely fixed. The thicker boards can simply be nailed up in the same way as ordinary weatherboards.
Wet rot or decay is caused by excessive and continuous periods of dampness that results in decomposition of the fibres. One of the most common areas of the home to suffer from wet rot is the timber structure under the shower or bath recess. This will occur if the water proofing of the bathroom is penetrated. To remedy this, the damaged timbers may need to be replaced and the leaking area will need to be repaired.
To prevent wet rot in all areas of the property, sub-floor timbers should be kept dry and external timbers should have paint maintained and the surrounding area of the ground level timbers should be well drained.