What to look for in a Pre-Purchase Building Inspector - Check Their PI Insurance
We have seen an increasing number of inexperienced, unlicensed and very importantly, uninsured builders and others conducting building and pest inspections. To protect yourself it is essential to check four key things.
Do they 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.
Do they 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. Some inspectors cant get Professional Indemnity Insurance because the insurer considers them to be too risky so please take care.
Ask how long the building inspection 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 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.