What to look for in a Pre-Purchase Building Inspector
We have seen an increasing number of inexperienced, unlicensed and uninsured builders and others setting themselves up as a Building Inspector and conducting pre-purchase building inspections. To protect yourself it is essential to check four key things.
Does the building inspector have current licences from the QBCC to conduct pre-purchase building and timber pest inspections? These licences are a) Completed Residential Building Inspection and b) Termite Management - Chemical. In Queensland it is illegal for anyone not carrying these licences to conduct a pre-purchase inspection. Having a builder’s licence or a pest management technician licence is not sufficient. It is easy to check the licences on the QBCC website.
Does the building inspector have current profession indemnity insurance for at least $1,000,000. This insurance protects you when things go wrong. Sadly, there are many inspectors who are licenced but do not carry professional indemnity insurance. If they miss something important such as major cracking and movement, you are basically on your own with no one to sue to recover your losses. Many will tell you they are insured, but this is public liability not professional indemnity insurance, so take care on this one. If you have any doubts, check with your solicitor.
Ask how long the building inspector's company has been in business. Many people can do an inspection or two quite well, but maintaining consistent quality over thousands of inspections requires excellent procedures, processes, training and the right people. Companies that have been in business for many years are much more likely to have this perfected unlike companies that have just opened their doors. New start-ups tend to have the most problems and their inspectors are more likely to make mistakes.
Ask how long the individual building inspector has been conducting pre-purchase inspections. It takes a minimum of 12 months for an experienced builder or pest controller to become proficient in pre-purchase inspections.
Finally, the QBCC does allow a person to hold a Completed Residential Building Inspection Licence without Professional Indemnity Insurance however they warn their clients that they are not protected. Beware low price inspections as they are often an indication that the inspector is cutting corners somewhere.