Building inspections cost between $396 to $495 or more depending on the purpose of the inspection and the size of the building. A quality inspector should have qualifications in building, professional indemnity insurance, public liability insurance and they should be a registered architect or building practitioner.
Independent building inspectors undertake detailed checks for compliance against the National Construction Code (BCA), relevant national standards and building authority tolerance guidelines applicable at the relevant stage of construction. Where building inspections are carried out for pre-purchase, insurance, dilapidation or for other reasons, defects are identified as relevant to the purpose of the report.
A pre-purchase home inspection should consist of comprehensive checks of roofs, ceiling spaces, floor slabs, sub-floor areas, footings and foundations. Major structural issues should be identified together with other items that may cause a significant outlay of capital in future. Moisture testing should be carried out, in addition to a termite inspection in most cases.
It is recommended that pre-purchase building inspections be carried out as close to the point of purchase as possible. As time goes by, the inspection will carry less weight. Even a duration of 3 months can make a difference because environmental moisture levels change over time and some parts of the building can deteriorate very quickly.
While not mandatory in most states, it is highly recommended that you do your due diligence and get an independent inspection when building or purchasing a home to reduce your exposure to unexpected costs in the future. The money spent on fixing issues down the line is likely to greatly exceed the cost of proper due diligence.
The buyer of the home normally pays for an independent building inspection to ensure impartiality. In cases where an insurance company is involved, the cost of the inspection may be borne by the company. Dilapidation reports are usually carried out by the builder and charged back to the client.
When negotiating a private sale, it is advisable to include a clause that makes the contract conditional upon the receipt of a satisfactory building inspection report (avoid including adjectives such as “major” or “structural” because there could be differences of opinion). Negotiate as much time as possible to carry out the inspection/s, at least 14 days if possible. If this is not possible, it is advisable to carry out the report before making an offer so that you know where you stand in terms of possible costs. Consult your solicitor or conveyancer for specific advice.