Building/Pest Inspector – What do they do? And do you need one?

What does a Building/Pest Inspector do? And do you need one? Many people often ask is it really worth paying the money for a home inspection pre-purchase? And I always respond with“what would you do if you found out there was a structural fault or even termites in the home a few months after you get the keys? And you could have avoided purchasing the property”. You normally don’t have to wait long after until a light bulb moment comes across their face.

The money that can be saved can run into the tens of thousands of dollars for a relative short outlay. I say that with a pinch of salt as I too feel your pain! When purchasing a home and the money seems to add up and up…. And can become overwhelming at times.

Personally I am a fan of hiring a building and pest inspector in one. You can find them all across Australia normally in teams of two. Occasionally you’ll find one that has been in the industry for years and has the correct accreditation to conduct both.

The main reason I choose to engage a duo is that it often keeps the cost down (two for the price of one….or there abouts). However the key here is and I can’t stress this enough “Properly Accredited”.

A good building inspector will hold a master builders certificate and subscribe to the correct regulator government agency in your state. As too a good pest inspector will also have accreditation in their field and will be able to supply if requested.

I also ask what type of Liability Insurance they hold. I personally would not engage anyone that does not have $20Million in liability insurance as a safe guard. The reason for asking the question is all too many times there will be a building inspection (and like you and I they have their good and bad days), if something is missed they can simply close shop under a business trading entity and next week open under another. Leaving you without any legal obligation. So it is vitally important to ensure that you deal with a reputable business.

On a more positive note I can’t stress enough how having a good inspection can give you peace of mind.

What to expect of your Building/Pest Inspector?

A report will go right through the property and will often include:
Flooring, sub flooring, drainage, roofing, roof space/void, structural integrity and frame work where possible, walls and cavities, bathrooms including looking for drainage/damp/ventilation issues. Any built up areas for example retaining issues. Any likely termite issues either in the past/present or any future dangers including the mitigation and prevention of future attacks. Veranda/pergola constructions and will also put in the report if the dwelling or any other add-ons/extensions have been built within the building codes. Of course there are many more points that will be brought up and in the report but this is just a guide of what to expect.

What to do if something is found by your Building/Pest Inspector?

Every property will have their faults and it is normally not the vendors (current owners) fault. At every inspection it is their job to find everything they can. The point of an inspection is “can YOU live with the faults or defects found?”

For example it would not be unreasonable to go ahead with the purchase if you simply need to replace a bit of guttering (or you could negotiate for it to be fixed prior to settlement…but that’s a discussion for another day). For the sake of a couple of hundred dollars would you really pass on purchasing a property that meets your core requirements?

On the other hand if termites were found? Or a structural load bearing beam in the roof was under size/or even cracked? That may be something to make you really rethink your position or continue with the purchase. As these items could potentially cost thousands of dollars.

I for one would not play Russian roulette with any properties I purchase and as with anything in life: I believe purchasing a good pre-purchase inspection is part of your due diligence and homework – mitigating any nasty surprises in the future. After all isn’t our castle the biggest asset that we own?….


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