It sounds unfortunate but here in Melbourne, there are no regulations as to who can and cannot perform a building inspection. That said, anyone can call themselves a building inspector. With the lack of government regulation in the industry, it’s rather easy for unqualified individuals to set up shop and take your hard-earned money posing as an expert in building and pest inspections.
Because you need help deciding whether or not the property you’re looking at is worth buying, you want the building inspection done by someone with the experience, qualification, and training in the building industry. Otherwise, you’re not going to get a thorough report and you may rely on a building inspection service that may be insufficient at best.
Qualifications of a Trustworthy Building and Pest inspector
Of course, you’d want to leave the building and pest inspection in the hands of someone with a solid credential. After all, a thorough and comprehensive property report may be the only thing standing between you and real estate failure. On that note, here are a few things you should look for in a professional building inspector.
As you’re checking the credentials of a prospective building inspector, see if he or she has a diploma of building surveying, building & construction or a reasonable equivalent. Ideally, he or she has to be a registered architect, builder, or engineer so the property inspection will be handled by someone who has relevant education and training for it.
Although being a registered engineer, architect, or builder qualifies them to inspect structures, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get trained with the nitty-gritty of the job. In other words, they need to have specific training in detecting building issues. On top of that, it would be best to choose an inspector who has been trained to inspect the type of property you’re planning to purchase.
A major criterion you should be looking at as you hire a building and pest inspector is industry experience. A minimum of two years relevant experience is a good start but it’d be best to go for someone with a longer history in the business. With this in mind, try asking an inspector how many years of experience they have in the property inspection or building trade. As you do so, be wary of those who can’t give you a straight answer as this might indicate that they have minimal experience under their belts.
A building inspector has to carry (at the minimum) a professional indemnity insurance, one that should ideally have reinstatement provisions. For sure, you wouldn’t want to be the one to shoulder the expenses in case something gets damaged or broken as part of the inspection. If a property inspector doesn’t have this financial safety net in place, you’re better off getting someone else.
Setting Proper Expectations Early On
Beyond these qualifications, you’ll want a property inspector who meets (or even exceeds) your expectations. For sure, you only want to get the very best to do one of the toughest phases in the real estate process. These are a couple of tips to help you set realistic expectations of your prospect building and pest inspector.
Areas covered during inspection
For the most part, proper building inspections have to cover every accessible (meaning, unobstructed) parts of a house, including the exterior, interior, roof void, roof, surfaces, sub-floor, outbuildings, fences, and even the adjacent lot. A thorough inspection of each key structural element is critical because they all rely on each other for stability and durability. In fact, an issue in an area of a building may be directly caused by a problem occurring nearby.
While speed and efficiency matter in building and pest inspections, these shouldn’t be the only basis with which you hire an inspector. It’s always a good idea to see what people have to say about how the service is done. When customers are satisfied with the building inspection report they’ve got, many will certainly express their appreciation for the inspector in question. One way an inspector wins the appreciation of their clients is by being approachable when it comes to discussing their findings. Indeed, a good reputation can help you gauge whether you’ll have a smooth working relationship with the building inspector.
Building inspections typically take around 90 minutes on a standard residential property, which is a reasonable timeframe when you want a report that is thoroughly done. Even if the customer asks to meet before or after the inspection to discuss concerns or ask questions, it shouldn’t delay the report by that much. In fact, a competent inspector should have no hesitation if a customer comes by to see how the inspection is done.
Because you’re about to take on a big investment, it might be tempting to hire a building inspector that offers the cheapest rate. However, choosing anyone based solely on the price is something that will come to bite you hard down the track. This is especially the case if the report misses out on some major structural defects. Ask around for quotes from several service providers to know the market average of the price of a building inspection.
Throw Questions During Your Search
When you’re in the market for a capable building and pest inspector, you have to ask your prospect a lot of questions. This is a tried and tested method to find more about the qualifications of the company or individual inspectors. While you’re getting to know who you’ll hire to assess a house you’re buying, ask for a sample report as this will give you an idea of how they do the inspection and what is covered in the process. In addition to these, figure out if they carry inspections in accordance with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1) to be sure that the content and format of the report is compliant.
To find a building inspector with the proper qualification and sufficient experience in the industry, you need not look far. With a combined 50 years of building and pest inspection experience, we have certainly earned our reputation as Melbourne’s leading independent building inspection company! We’re also fully insured and offer competitive rates for our comprehensive reports so you get peace of mind knowing that we’ve got all bases covered in the rare case that our pre-purchase building inspection doesn’t meet your expectations.