Building inspection conditions are commonly included in property contracts but it’s best to get a qualified inspector to do the job. An inspector missing out on major deal-breakers could put you in a tight spot as you won’t be able to pull out of a bad investment in time even if there’s a specific clause in the contract allowing you, the buyer, to terminate the deal once significant structural problems are found.

Ideally, inspections should be able to pinpoint the majority of a property’s issues but reports that completely overlook major concerns aren’t unheard of. What you do when you discover that your building inspection report isn’t thorough will largely depend on the contract you signed up for.

Setting Proper Expectations

At its basic, a building inspection identifies necessary repairs so you can better negotiate the property’s price or rule out those that suffer major disrepair. Ideally, the report should tell you everything that could be wrong with the real estate asset you’re planning to purchase.

That’s the ideal scenario. In reality, you may never get a perfect score card on every building report you receive. In other words, setting your standards too high will make it difficult for you to invest in anything at all.

For the most part, many investors live with reports that zero in on major defects in a property and gauge how serious each one is. A report can be deemed good if it also details how such issues can be rectified and at what cost, which should give you a good opportunity to make an informed assessment of the property you’re about to buy.

Nevertheless, it’s natural to get anxious over the sight of building reports. This is especially the case when you’re looking to purchase older homes. In reality, issues are almost a given when it comes to period properties given that houses were made differently back then, often using materials and employing construction methods that may be deemed questionable in today’s standards. Therefore, expect to get a building report that lists down a handful of defects when you’re bent on investing in a period home with all its amazing features and rustic beauty.

Contract Terms

Signing a contract is involved when you’re purchasing a property and the terms must be agreed upon by both the seller and the buyer at the time of signing. Contracts in real estate deals are, for the most part, conditional. Meaning, certain conditions have to be met before the sale can be completed.

Standard contract conditions will often include building inspections and finance, even pest inspections. If a property fails a building inspection, that can only mean that you’d have the option to cancel the contract without a penalty.

But what constitutes a failed building inspection?

What Inspectors Should Never Miss

Believe it or not—most properties will have problems of some kind. Although inspectors may miss out a thing or two on occasion, they should never overlook any of these major concerns.

  • Water Penetration in Masonry

If left undetected, water penetration in masonry causes structural damage as well as mould and fungal activity. The latter will eventually lead to termite infestation, instantly turning your purchased investment from bad to worse in no time.Needless to say, overlooking this particular instance of water damage can severely compromise the long-term stability of a property’s structure.

  • Structural Movement

Any sign of disrepair in the main elements in a building can be taken as a sign of this major dilemma. Examples of this include cracks in the brickwork as well as bulging/cracked interior walls.Of course, structural movement isn’t something an inspector should miss. Otherwise, property investors can’t be advised whether the property defects can be fixed with minor cosmetic touches or not.

  • Building Deterioration

Without regular maintenance, any property will undergo decay. For inspectors, they have to make sure that a pre-existing structure wouldn’t have its foundations, walls, and stumps deteriorated to such an extent that there will no longer be inadequate support left to bear the house’s weight.A building inspection could be considered to have failed if he didnt check suspected deterioration on the structure’s bearers and joints, walls, flooring, and stumps. A report that overlooks such will certainly put you and your investment at risk down the line.

  • Damaged Roof

Any property that goes without an adequate roof will generally be vulnerable to weather. Thus, at the time of the inspection, the building inspector has to see if the roof is in prime condition because not checking if it is will certainly qualify as a failed job.When the roof is in such a sorry state and the pre-purchase inspection failed to take this into account, you can certainly put the property sale contract on hold. After all, replacing the roof is quite an expensive add-on to your initial real estate investment.

Contract Conditions

It goes without saying that you have to familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of a conditional contract before affixing your signature. No two contracts are alike, however. You need to confirm that whatever you consider a failed building inspection report will be highlighted in the contract.

In case the inspection report isn’t comprehensive, here are a few conditions your contract can stipulate:

  • If minor defects are detected, the vendor will have to repair them before closing the deal.
  • The contract will be cancelled if the defects are considered major/structural or both together.
  • The vendor will be given a timeframe to correct major defects but this could mean having a contract period extension.
  • For extreme damage, the consequence is the termination of the contract.
  • The contract may have an option to renegotiate the price to accommodate the cost of repairing the defects found.
Legal Advice

When the failed building inspection prompts you to cancel the contract, you may have to ask for legal advice immediately. Keep in mind that they’re admissible in court. To be sure you’re following the proper legal process, get a lawyer.


It goes without saying that reviewing a pre-purchase inspection is a requisite and doing so isn’t just for legal compliance. As much as you want your building report to be thorough, a visual inspection comes with its own limitations that may make or break the subsequent property assessment. It’s common to have areas of a property excluded from the inspection due to inaccessibility, after all.

Another thing to keep in mind is that demanding a nearly perfect building inspection report isn’t possible because this will mean the inspection will be invasive in nature. Most vendors wouldn’t allow such because of the amount of damage this type of inspection can cause.

To get a building inspection report that meets or exceeds expectations, leave it in the hands of experts like us!