Buying properties is no cakewalk and quite an expensive endeavour. Even before you sign on the dotted line, you’ll be shelling out hard-earned money on property assessments even if you’re not sure whether the findings will turn out favourable or not. With a lot at stake every step of the buying process, you want to be sure that the building inspection report you get isn’t run of the mill.

To be sure you don’t get an inaccurate, templated copy, you need to understand how building inspection reports are written.

What You’ll Find in a Building Inspection Report

As the building inspection is underway, the inspector will evaluate a property for structural soundness and look for key maintenance concerns. Once the assessment has been done, expect it to include an evaluation of the following:

Plumbing and Drainage

Although the inspector isn’t a licensed plumber, he/she will observe any visible parts of the plumbing system on the property. Aspects of the plumbing inside the home will be assessed along with the guttering and exterior drainage, too. With the observations they include in the report, you’ll potentially avoid unpleasant surprises as soon as you assume ownership of the building in question.

Building Defects

While they might not be structural in nature, leaving building defects will eventually become a problem to property owners like yourself. To be sure you wouldn’t be dealing with a ton of these eyesores down the track, request for a building inspection report as it’ll typically include details on these faults, whether they’re structural in nature or otherwise.

Structural Observations

Evaluating exterior features is a standard protocol for any building inspection. Meaning, inspectors will typically assess any existing patios, pergolas, balconies, and stairs. Aside from these, the out buildings, retaining walls, and fences will be checked. Of course, no inspection report will be complete without a word on the roofing, roof frame, window frames, and interior/exterior walls.

Electrical Systems

In line with the Australian Standard, the electrical box will be checked by the inspector for the correct minimum number of RCDs. The inspector will also observe whether the existing smoke alarms are positioned correctly so they can function as intended. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the Australian Standard for Building Inspections (AS 4349-2007) recommends that all testing, confirmation, and installation of electrical circuitry be done by a licensed electrician before a property is sold.

What Building Inspectors May Exclude

For the most part, the final report will include observations on many noticeable parts and features i.e. electrical and plumbing fixtures as well as structural damage. However, it won’t cover all bases. Don’t be surprised to find these two excluded from the building inspection report you’ve commissioned.

Purchasing Decision

Real estate buyers often make the mistake of expecting a “pass or fail” grade on the building inspection report. In reality, it will only contain relevant information you may need to know to make an informed buying decision in the end. No, it won’t explicitly advise you on whether to purchase or pass on the property being evaluated.

Termite Inspection

Although it’s critical to have this kind of property assessment commissioned when you’re serious about buying a particular estate, it may not be covered by most basic building inspections. You may need a separate inspection done to evaluate damage related to termite infestation. Fortunately, there are inspectors who combine building and timber pest inspection in their service.

General Details Included in the Building Inspection Report

In a typical building inspection report, you can expect to see the following vital information:

  • Name of the person who commissioned the inspection
  • Address of the property that was inspected
  • Reason and scope of the inspection
  • Date of when the inspection was done
  • List of areas/items that wasn’t inspection, including the reason why they weren’t inspected
  • List of significant problems observed that need immediate fixing
  • Summary of the overall state of the property being assessed
  • Recommendation for further assessment by suitable and accredited specialists e.g. pest inspector, utility supply provider, geotechnical engineer, surveyor or solicitor, etc.
Typical Timeframe in Writing Inspection Reports

Although it only takes an hour or two to perform an on-site building inspection to gather the information needed to complete a report (depending on the property size), making the subsequent report will typically take another 2-3 hours to complete. Of course, you still need to get the vendor’s permission to have the property inspected early in the sale negotiation. Doing so greatly helps in determining whether the asset is really worth buying early on.

What to Do After Receiving Final Report

As thorough as a building inspection report be, there will be portions (even terminologies) that you may struggle to understand. If there’s anything on the report that you don’t fully comprehend, it’s best to contact the inspector for clarification. Leaving the interpretation to just about anyone will be risky because they may be too biased to interpret the recommendations objectively.

And when you’re not fully satisfied with the result of the inspection, you can try to resolve it with the company you’ve hired or commission another comprehensive one from another inspector. In the end, use the report to weigh the good and bad points equally and you’d be making a better, more informed buying decision.

Leave the Building Inspection Report in Capable Hands

Getting sufficient information about a property is crucial in any real estate transaction and a building inspection report can certainly help organise the details in a comprehensible manner. Going over the whole report can be a bit overwhelming, but it can be easier to digest by managing your expectations and getting prior knowledge on what it may contain.

If you ever need to commission this report as you’re about to invest in an estate of your liking, turn to our team of inspectors and we’ll help you get a legible and comprehensive building inspection report that will leave no stones unturned. You’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to real estate investments, after all.