Whether you are buying a property for your business, as a residence or as an investment, be sure to include a licensed building and pest inspection as part of the purchasing process.
Inspections can be requested by the buyer or the seller. A building inspection of an existing structure examines elements of the interior, exterior, shell, foundation, outbuildings and grounds to determine whether there are major defects.
An inspection of new construction ensures that the building conforms to the design plan, that the workmanship is of good quality and that it meets national and local codes.
Knowing that no problems are present at the time of inspection lets you rest assured that the building is sound. Identifying problems before the property is transferred allows the buyer and seller to negotiate how defects will be corrected.
Benefits of a Building and Pest Inspection
Older buildings often develop problems as they age. Not all defects are apparent to an untrained eye. A certified building inspector with experience in the construction industry can identify problems such as cracks in the foundation, termite damage, faulty wiring or weakened concrete.
Some defects may be small and easy to repair; others can cost thousands to correct.
What does a Crack Indicate?
Cracks can occur anywhere in a building including the foundation, exterior and interior walls, sidewalks and support beams. Cracks may be the result of a building settling over time, poor workmanship or substandard materials. Some cracks are minor and easily repaired.
Others may indicate structural damage that can lead to collapse of flooring, walls, ceiling or roof. An experienced inspector can evaluate the seriousness of visible cracks and identify signs that may indicate structural problems.
Water Leaks Can Cost You Thousands
Leaking taps, poorly joined pipes and fittings or stains on walls, ceiling or flooring are indications that water damage may be present.
Water damage can weaken the building shell or roof, damage floors, spoil furnishings and cause mould growth.
Sometimes water damage is visible. Often, it occurs behind walls, in the foundation or under flooring. Water takes the path of least resistance and will travel through cracks or along piping and electrical conduits in walls.
Extensive damage can occur before it is visible. Building inspectors use special tools to look for leaks and water damage.
Outdated Wiring and Faulty Electrical Systems
Outdated wiring is both inconvenient and a fire hazard. If the wiring in a building is more than 20 years old, it may not be able to support the demand put on it by today’s appliances.
Air conditioners, microwaves, entertainment centres, computer equipment and clothes dryers are just a few of the appliances common in modern homes.
Old breaker boxes with poor connectors may not work properly. Higher demand on circuits creates heat, which can cause a fire. In addition, wiring degrades over time.
Environmental elements such as dust, salt water and heat can reduce the life span of wiring. A building inspection evaluates the condition of the electrical system including junction boxes, mains, electrical outlets, wiring and lighting.
Termites and Pests
Termites cause more damage to homes in Australia than natural disasters. Termites enter buildings in a number of ways: through cracks in foundations, through weep holes in brick, through wet soil around electrical and water pipes or through improperly set timber posts in decks, pergolas or flooring supports.
Termite damage may not be visible. Termites work from the inside to the outside, leaving only a thin veneer on the exterior of timber and wood.
Roofing timber, structural wall timber, top plates, windows, doors, joists and bearers can be significantly damaged before termites are noticed. Some types of termites feed on electrical wiring, telephone cables, cardboard and plastics.
A pest inspection can identify signs of termite damage or damage from other pests. Customers can opt for a combination building and pest inspection so that a detailed pest inspection is part of the property evaluation.
Poorly installed or degraded vapour barriers allow moisture from ground water to flow vertically into foundations and walls. Over time, masonry and plaster become saturated with moisture.
Salts are deposited as the water evaporates. As salts build up, they attract more moisture. Mould also develops. Peeling paint and wallpaper, stains on walls and ceilings and mouldy brick are signs of rising damp problems.
Building materials become weakened, leading to structural damage. The wet ground and building materials are attractive to pests, particularly termites.
A certified building inspector uses thermal imaging cameras, mould detectors and other tools to identify rising damp. Depending on the season, moisture may not be present. Efflorescence of salts on wall surfaces shows that the problem is present.
Building and Pest Inspection Report
A pre-purchase inspection is usually initiated by the buyer, who can be present during the site visit.
A buyer can speak with the inspector, ask questions and visually examine any defects identified. Areas of concern, such as evidence of asbestos problems, verification that smoke alarms are working or presence of electrical safety switches, should be specified to the inspector so that they are included during the visit.
The inspector should examine all accessible parts of the property including roof space, walls, foundation, under-floor area, outbuildings and site.
The inspection report should be provided within two to three days of the site visit. The report will include:
• A summary of the condition of the house
• Property address
• Age of the building
• List of areas not inspected and why
• List of problems identified
• Recommendations for further inspection by a specialist such as a structural engineer or a pest inspector if not included in the evaluation
• Recommendations for types of repairs required
• Photographs if required
Hiring The Right Building and Pest Inspector
A building and pest inspector should be licensed to perform inspections as required in individual states and territories.
The inspector must be familiar with local and state codes to evaluate damage and provide relevant recommendations.
BPI Building and Pest Inspection inspectors have years of experience in the building industry. BPI Sydney South is licensed and insured as well as members of professional organisations like the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association and Master Builders Institute of Building Consultants. Reports are thorough, impartial and confidential.
Call BPI Building and Pest Inspections today for more information about pre-sale and pre-purchase building and pest inspections. We serve all areas in the Sydney’s southern suburbs.