If you’re no building expert who has a running knowledge of building codes and regulations, there’s a good chance you’ll miss an important issue as you do an ocular inspection of the new home you’re planning to buy. For a thorough assessment of the estate, the inspection should be done by a qualified building and pest inspector. 

Because not all sellers are transparent about the defects in their property, buyers like yourself have to exercise extra care and have the property inspected before signing the sales contract. It might come as a shocker but even buyers of new homes would be wise to take the same extra precaution.

The fact is that construction flaws are common in new housing as they are in older homes. That’s inevitable when you consider variables like rising material and labour costs, construction shortcuts, contract deadlines, and sloppy workmanship. Contrary to popular belief, newly built houses aren’t devoid of defects.

New Houses Aren’t Maintenance-Free

New homes are subject to local council regulations and go through staged inspections that are done by a building surveyor. At least, that’s the general idea. Typically, new home buyers will assume that new homes will pass these inspections and be in tip-top shape once it is up on the market. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. 

It’s worth noting that a building surveyor or council inspector enforces building code compliance and workmanship may not be part of their jurisdiction. You can’t expect a surveyor to comment about poor workmanship and this is why you’ll need a building  inspector to begin with. 

With an independent property inspector checking the new home, you can have an expert eye looking at the quality of the workmanship and identify defects, especially those that need substantial fixing. Of course, they’ll see if the overall construction adheres to building codes, too.

Independent Building and Pest Inspection

It may be convenient on your end to ask a house vendor or an estate agent for inspection reports they’ve commissioned for a new house, but try to not take the easy way here. For one, you can’t be sure if they were done independently and the report isn’t without bias. Keep in mind that their goal is to give you every reason to purchase the property.

It sounds unfortunate but some inspectors get a lot of work from builders and real estate brokers. With that in mind, some will gloss over important points to continue getting referrals and business from them. With the inspector taking the vendor’s or agent’s side, it’s hard to trust them to overlook business connections in favour of transparency in their inspection report.

Common Problems Found in Newly Built Structures

When it comes to real estate, there are typically two kinds of defects that building and pest inspectors look for.

Patent Defects

These are issues that are plainly visible to potential buyers as they view the property and include the likes of holes within the plasterboard or a broken window.

Latent Defects

These are the defects that aren’t obvious to home buyers and will often need an experienced building inspector to uncover. Common examples of these are roof leaks, leaking shower flashings, etc. For the most part, these are what building and pest inspections will be on the lookout for.

To be specific, here are a few any professional property inspector will include in the assessment report:

  • Hazardous/non-compliant stairs (or verandah) construction;
  • Haphazardly installed termite barriers;
  • Inadequate ventilation, which results in condensation, termite infestation, and wood rot;
  • Leaks to wet areas or balconies 
  • Poor roof construction (e.g. incorrect frame construction, insufficient pitch for proper water runoff, etc.)
  • Subsidence and cracks on the walls
  • Water seepage in crawl spaces and basement

Don’t Skip Pest Inspection for New Properties Either

Even if the new house seems to be in excellent condition, this should be no excuse for buyers like yourself to let your guard down against pests like termites. Nasty, little pests like termites can carry on with their life’s mission (read: destroy houses) undetected and they can stay under the radar for months. In some cases, they can operate behind the scenes (quite literally) for years!

To be sure that you won’t end up with an estate that is infested by unwanted critters, get a pest inspection done together with the building assessment. Luckily, experienced building inspectors may offer pest inspection hand in hand with a building inspection. And if you’re tempted to skip it thinking that a new house wouldn’t be dealing with pests until much later, you may find yourself waking up in a home with a compromised foundation as it has been housing a termite colony all along.

Instead of spending tens of thousands to rectify pest damage as well as neutralise infestations, you can spend on a pest inspection and identify if the new house is susceptible to tiny invaders in the first place!

Keep Possible Problems from Getting Out of Hand

A new building that has just been built may be more structurally sound compared to older structures but it doesn’t mean they’re without problems. Keep in mind that building faults like insulation concerns and pest problems like termite infestations can be difficult to see at first glance and can go unnoticed until years later after you’ve bought the place.

So even if you can save a bit now by skipping on a building and pest inspection, you’d be wise not to. After all, an outlay of a few hundred dollars now is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes when you know that you’re not acquiring a money pit.

To get this comprehensive report done before you exchange a sales contract with the property vendor or estate agent, call our experienced team today!