Top things to look for in a building inspection report 

When considering purchasing a property, the importance of a thorough building inspection cannot be overstated. This is a principal document that can give you deep insights into the condition of the property you’re looking to buy, safeguarding you from potentially making costly mistakes. We guide you through the top aspects to look for in a building inspection report to ensure you make an informed decision.

Understanding the structure of the report

A building inspection report should be clear, comprehensive, and easy to understand, irrespective of one’s knowledge of architectural terminologies. Typically, it starts with general information about the property, followed by a detailed assessment of various components. It’s essential that the report is categorised into sections based on the home’s elements such as roofing, plumbing, electrical systems, etc., which helps in straightforward navigation through the document.

A well-structured report will not only list defects or issues but also provide photographs and possibly recommend remedial actions. Make sure the inspector includes a summary of areas that were inspected, those not inspected, and the reasons why some areas might have been omitted. This initial understanding of the report sets the stage for interpreting the rest of the information.

Significant structural issues

Structural integrity is the backbone of any property, making it one of the most critical parts of the building inspection report. Significant structural issues can include defects in the building’s foundation, beams, columns, and load-bearing walls. These elements are vital for the stability and safety of the building, and any compromise could lead to severe consequences, including building failure.

Perth’s most common building defects

Pay close attention to descriptions of any cracks, uneven floors, or signs of water damage to the structure. These can indicate issues ranging from simple settling to critical safety hazards. The inspector’s analysis and comments on these aspects can often make or break a decision to purchase a property. 

Condition of the roof and exterior

Pay close attention to these areas in the report as these are the parts most exposed to environmental elements. The roof, in particular, suffers from wear and tear over the years and could potentially lead to massive repair costs if neglected. Comprehensive Inspection reports will detail the condition of the roof tiles, roof sheets, gutters, downpipes, and flashing.

On the exterior, look for reports on the state of the paint, siding, and masonry. Damp issues, flaking paint, or cracks can be signs of underlying issues that might need more immediate attention. The inspector’s ability to identify and document these details is paramount, as external appearances often give insights into the overall upkeep of the property.

Electrical systems and safety

Safety comes first, and when it comes to electrical installations, an outdated or poorly maintained system can pose significant hazards. Thorough building inspection reports include a check of lights, switches, power points and any visible wiring. 

It’s also important to look for any DIY wiring or non-standard modifications. Such issues are not just a matter of regulation; they’re about ensuring the safety of occupants. The inspector’s expertise here can help you avoid buying a property that could require extensive and costly rewiring.

It’s worthwhile to include an electrical polarity test in your building inspection. This is usually an additional service that can be added to an inspection service.

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Plumbing and water management

The report should include a close examination of pipes, fixtures, drainage systems, and water heating equipment. Plumbing issues, if overlooked, can cause severe damage to a property through leaks or water damage. Characteristics such as water pressure and temperature should be tested and reported too.

Drainage is equally important; poor drainage can lead to water pooling around the foundation, which over time, may undermine structural integrity. The report should clearly indicate any blocked storm or sewage drains. Remember, replacing plumbing throughout a house can be extraordinarily expensive and disruptive.

Air conditioning systems

Air Conditioning systems are key to ensuring comfortable living conditions. The building inspection report should assess the current condition and general maintenance. Look for indications about the age of the system, its operational status, and any signs of malfunction.

An inefficient Air Conditioning system can dramatically increase energy costs and reduce the comfort of a home. If the report suggests significant issues or the likelihood of needing replacement, consider this in your investment calculations and during price negotiations. 

Presence of pests and asbestos

The presence of pests or asbestos can be a deal-breaker. Termites, rodents, and other pests can cause considerable damage, sometimes hidden within the structures of the building. The inspector should provide notes of any signs of pest infestations.

Asbestos, on the other hand, poses serious health risks. If the building was constructed before asbestos was banned, the inspector should determine if asbestos is potentially present. Handling asbestos requires specialist intervention, and understanding the potential costs and health implications is essential for any prospective buyer.

General interior condition

While the aesthetics of an interior can be adjusted relatively easily compared to structural elements, they often reflect the overall care and maintenance of the property. An inspection report should comment on the condition of internal walls, ceilings, floors, and installed fixtures such as lights and cabinetry.

Issues such as the presence of mould, water stains, and significant wear and tear can suggest past or ongoing issues. Moreover, the state of the windows and doors, including frames and seals, can impact heating efficiency and security. This section of the report can often reveal the ‘hidden’ signs of problems that only a professional eye might spot.

Recommendations and estimated costs

finally, a useful building inspection report will round off with recommendations and possibly even estimated repair costs. This section is particularly beneficial for negotiating purchase prices or planning for future expenses. The inspector’s recommendations can also help prioritise issues that require immediate attention versus those that can be dealt with later.

Immediate issues typically include structural weaknesses, safety hazards, or anything that could cause further damage to the property if not addressed quickly. Longer-term recommendations provide a roadmap for managing the property effectively going forward. This foresight can be instrumental in budgeting decisions post-purchase.

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A detailed building inspection report is an indispensable tool for anyone looking to invest in property. By focusing on these key areas, you can better understand the property’s condition, identify potential deal-breakers, and accurately assess the financial implications. Be sure to choose a reputable inspection service like SURE Building Inspections to ensure a comprehensive evaluation that will serve your investment well.

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