When we are asked by our clients whether a building and pest inspection is necessary when buying a property, our answer is always YES! And that it’s equally important to get one regardless of whether you’re buying a new home, a tiny beach shack or a 100-year-old mansion – and here’s why.
Building and pest inspection for older homes
All houses must conform to Building Codes and Standard of Australia and if the home does not meet the code, then it’s up to you (and your wallet) to to bring it up to code.
In older homes property inspectors will check for structural issues which is incredibly important. Not only could an unsound structure be cause for injury, it can be incredibly expensive to repair and replace structural components of the house and could mean total vacation of the property on your part.
Once receiving your building inspection report you may find there are some minor things you’re going to need to repair or replace, or even some things to remove (like trees near the building), so knowing upfront what this is likely to cost you is important.
An electrical inspection will also check existing electrical wiring and smoke alarms to ensure all is in working order and that you’re not likely to experience any fires caused by faulty wiring. If there is a fire, having functioning smoke alarms are essential and they save lives – so make sure yours are in working order.
Older homes are also more likely to have unsafe materials in them, such as asbestos which can cause quite a lot of harm if you and your family are exposed to them. And of course, there’s the risk of termite infestation and the damage and associated costs that comes with that.
Ultimately, there’s a lot that can potentially go wrong with a building given the complex number of different elements involved in its construction. By virtue of being older, older buildings are more likely to have things wrong with it thanks to the wear and tear over time.
Photo: Carlisle Homes
Do you need a building and pest inspection for a new home?
Of course, if you’re buying an older property it makes good sense to get a building and pest inspection – but what about new houses?
A brand-new house should most definitely be up to code. That said, it might be only just up to code. Consider: a building supervisor working for a high-volume builder might be overseeing any number of constructions throughout the area. They may simply not have time to pay the attention to detail that they should.
Some issues we’ve seen in new properties include water damage in wet areas thanks to leaks and improper waterproofing, incorrect installation of insulation, roof replacements due to leaks and trouble with the slab causing severe structural issues.
The beauty of a building and pest inspection is that the inspector will pick up on these issues and help ensure you avoid any potential pitfalls when buying new.
The other thing to bear in mind, is the inspection will also draw attention to potential risks to the property. There may be nothing immediately of concern, but a tree planted too close to a home can a whole host of issues. Alerting you to it now means you can resolve it before it turns into an expensive and time-consuming problem.
Get someone who’s going to do a thorough building and pest inspection
Not all building inspectors are created equal. When you choose your building inspector we’d highly recommend you get someone who’s going to do a thorough job. Not someone who’s just going to do the bare minimum (which is just a visual inspection). For example, a pest inspection is not included as standard in a basic building inspection which means you may need to ask for this separately
We’d recommend you speak to Safe Home Building Inspections (ask for Peter Alexander, tell him Entourage sent you) as they go way above and beyond the basics including thermal imaging to check for water damage among other things, and movement detectors (if termite damage is suspected).