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Frequently Asked Questions - Building & Pest Inspection
Yes, of course! You are always welcome to be at the inspection. However, experience has taught us that the best way to communicate with our clients is after they have read their written report. This makes sure that all the relevant information is communicated to you fully before you make any decisions in relation to the property. Please do not make any decisions based solely on what the inspector says to you during, or at the end of the inspection.
It is important that your inspector is not distracted from concentrating during the inspection process so please do not obstruct or interrupt him during the inspection. Also for safety reasons you should keep children and pets away from the inspector while he is working.
Your inspector has been instructed to encourage you to read the report and then to contact the ABIS office if you have any questions rather than to have a verbal report by the inspector at the end of the inspection.
Specifically, we want to ensure that we communicate important issues to in a way that you fully understand. We want to avoid the situation where you make a poor decision because you think a minor defect is worse than it is or vice versa. As there is a lot of information contained in the report that it is not practical for the inspector to cover verbally on site, we ask that you be patient and save your questions until after you have read the report. However, if you are on site and a major and serious defect is identified, the inspector will certainly talk to you about it on site.
We will endeavour to "go the extra mile" to explain any aspects of your report with you should you require it. Your full understanding of your report is important to us.
We inspect as much of the roof as we safely can. However, as you can appreciate, we must be guided by Workplace Health & Safety laws and good practice. So there may be situations where your inspector will not be able to safely get onto the roof.
For example, the roof may:
- not be safe to access via a ladder
- be damaged by being walked on
- be too steep or slippery
- be fragile and not support the inspector's weight
- present an electrical hazard
Should your inspector not be able to get onto the roof they can often partially inspect it from a ladder or from the ground. The method and limitations of roof inspection will be clearly communicated to you in your report.
We understand you're concerned about the state of the property's roof and will make best endeavours to safely inspect it. If access is restricted, your inspector can also identify some roof problems from the roof void if accessible.
In some cases, your inspector will have sufficient concerns about the conditions in the roof to recommend a further inspection using a cherry picker or other specialist safety equipment. Rest assured that this is not done as a matter of course due to the significant additional cost involved.
If you have any concerns about this aspect of your inspection please discuss them with us.
We inspect as much of the roof space or void as we safely can. However, we must be guided by Workplace Health & Safety laws and good practice. So there may be situations where your inspector will not be able to safely get into the roof space.
- insulation covering roof framing may obstruct visibility need for safe foot placement
- fragile or damaged ceiling joists or roof trusses may be unable to support the inspector
- a low pitch roof may prevent access
- there may be insufficient crawl space
- electrical hazards may be present
Should your inspector not be able to get into the roof void they can often partially inspect it from the manhole. The method and limitations of roof inspection will be clearly communicated to you in your report.
We understand you're concerned about the state of the property's roof void and will make best endeavours to safely inspect it. If access is restricted, your inspector can also identify some roof problems from the exterior.
In some cases, where your inspector has sufficient concerns about the conditions in the roof void, he may recommend a further inspection once insulation has been removed. Rest assured, this is not done as a matter of course due to the significant additional cost involved.
If you have any concerns about this aspect of your inspection please discuss it with us.
Most buyers find it difficult to remain completely objective and this may lead to poor judgment. It's always advisable to obtain an impartial third-party opinion by an independent expert.
Definitely! Now you are well armed with all the information you need to make your property decision with confidence.
New construction is no longer a problems-free guarantee. While many new homes are well built, we regularly find serious defects. You can choose to have your new home checked at key building stages throughout the building process including Frame, Lock-Up/Waterproofing, and Fixing/Pre-Painting.
A Building Handover Inspection is essential for identifying items for rectification before you make your final payment at Practical Completion.
Finally, a Warranty Inspection 12 months later gives you the last chance to have non-structural, decorative defects corrected under your Home Insurance Warranty.
No. A professional inspection is an examination of the property's current condition. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, nor a council inspection, which verifies compliance to local government legislation. Your inspector will not pass or fail a property, but describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.
No. Your inspectors' goal is to report fairly on the property's condition. Ultimately, the decision is yours.
Your inspection is a record of observable conditions at a particular point in time and not a guarantee, warranty or insurance policy. Some problems can only be discovered by living in a property.
Others will tell you that it is important to have different inspectors. Actually you'll get a higher quality inspection if the same individual conducts both inspections especially if their primary focus is not to sell you a termite treatment.
An expert timber pest inspector not only needs specific qualifications in termite management and control, but must also have extensive knowledge of construction methods specifically designed to deter termites, the susceptibility of various timber products to timber pests, and knowledge of where man-made tunnels are likely to exist in building structures for successful detection of termite activity. Many pest controllers simply don't have this knowledge.
No property is perfect. If your inspector identifies defects, it doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't buy the property, only that you will know in advance what to expect.
Our qualified building inspectors have years of building and renovation experience behind them. However, they must remain completely independent and NOT QUOTE on renovation work.
Their focus is solely on your building inspection. The cost of repair or renovation can vary greatly depending on taste, materials used, design, method, economic climate, and the firm undertaking the work.
We hope that fees are not your sole consideration. You might save many times the cost of your inspection by avoiding costs of rectifying significant problems revealed by your inspector.
Your inspector's qualifications, including his experience, training, and professional affiliations, should be your most important consideration.
Fees for all of our services are very competitive, especially when you consider you're getting the best service available for a modest price. You can't get better than that and really, would you want anything less?
There are 6 Building Stage Inspections in total including the Handover or Practical Completion Inspection being the culmination of the build process and a Warranty Inspection at the end of the first year. We urge you to consider undertaking these inspections to ensure that your property is constructed to a high standard.
Our Inspector conducts a detailed examination at each Stage to detect any un-tradesman like work, incomplete work, non-structural defects in relation to the Standards and Tolerances Guide Qld, structural issues and conditions conducive to structural and timber pest problems.
Each Stage Building Inspection has its own extensive Stage specific checklist. This process will assist you in relaying to your Builder items that still require further work or rectification. You tailor the programme to suit yourself... select all 4 Stage Building Inspections or simply choose the ones you're most worried about!
- Base Stage immediately before slab pour
- Frame Stage when the frame is complete, before internal wall linings
- Lock-Up or Waterproofing Stage when external windows and doors are installed, the roof is on and flashing and waterproofing are complete, before tiling of showers, bathrooms or installation of shower trays
- Fixing or Pre-Painting Stage when construction is complete including cabinetry, before painting
- Handover or Practical Completion once your builder is satisfied that the construction process is complete and after a final clean has been undertaken.
And finally followed up with:
- Warranty Inspection conducted within 12 months from date of completion as a follow-up to detect non-structural defects, which your builder is obliged to rectify under QBCC's home insurance warranty.
Understandably, if you're the vendor you are keen to present your home in its best possible light so it sells for its best price quickly. Because nasty surprises are what scare buyers, transparency is the best policy. It's better to have a thorough understanding of all your property's faults right up front so you can either rectify them or recognise them in your contract negotiations rather than having your buyer unearth them later.
The best way to get a good handle on all your property's defects is to commission a Pre-Sale Pest and Building Inspection. On the other side of the coin, as a buyer you want to get the most out of your Pest and Building Inspection. A thorough inspection requires that there are no distractions, obstacles or accessibility issues for the inspector. For vendors this means undertaking the following and for buyers, requesting that their vendor take action:
- Clearing the house interior and exterior grounds of excessive personal effects and stored goods
- Tethering the family dog
- Ensuring that no doors are locked and that all rooms are easily accessible
- Opening remote controlled garage doors so that the garage is accessible
- Removing vehicles from beneath manholes to enable access to the roof void
- Moving furniture from beneath internal manholes to enable access to the roof void
- Moving furniture from against internal walls
- Removing posters, hangings and pictures (where possible) from walls
- Keeping children out of the way
Because conducting an inspection demands attention to detail, it is best that both vendors and buyers allow our Inspector to work without interference so that he doesn't miss anything of importance. This means not distracting him with questions, banter or shadowing him closely from room to room. Rest assured, he will be more than happy to address your questions and concerns at the end of your inspection.
That's why we really like you to attend your inspection.. so our Inspector can run through the important issues he's detected with you at the end. However, we understand most people are busy and if you're not able to attend, our Inspector will try to call you at the end of his day.
It is essential that you completely read your report and by having our Inspector answer all your questions and concerns you will be better able to understand it in its context. No question is too silly to answer.
The Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011 deals only with dividing fences and trees. It does not deal with retaining walls, except in very limited circumstances. The Act does however state that a fence is not a retaining wall. This is because retaining walls serve a different purpose than fences.
They are engineered to support built-up or excavated earth. Retaining walls are not normally a matter of joint responsibility for neighbours because a retaining wall is usually of more benefit to one neighbour. Therefore equal contribution does not apply.
However, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) can make orders about carrying out fencing work that includes work on a retaining wall if the repair of the fence is dependent on the work for the retaining wall.
In summary, the issue of retaining walls is a complex one involving detailed local council requirements so in all cases, both private legal and local council planning and development advice should be sought.
It is preferable to set expectations regarding inspections and site access with the builder up front. If possible, have the right to conduct inspections at each stage included in your build contract.
Because the work site and the safety of all those on it remains the responsibility of the primary building contractor until final payment, any independent building inspector would require the builder's permission for access.
Besides, as a matter of general courtesy this is good practice to maintain harmonious relationships all round which in turn are very important for a happy building project outcome.
Yes, you are most welcome to be at the inspection. However, years of experience have taught us that the best time to communicate with you is after you have read your report. This makes sure that all the relevant information is communicated to you fully before you make any decisions in relation to the property.Your Inspector has been instructed to encourage you to read the report and then to contact the ABIS office if you have any questions rather than to have an informal verbal report at the end of your inspection. This is to ensure that you do not make any decisions based solely on what our Inspector says to you either during or at the end of his inspection.
To ensure that he conducts the most thorough inspection on your behalf, it is important that your Inspector is not distracted from concentrating during the Inspection Process so please do not obstruct or interrupt him during the inspection. Also for safety reasons, children and pets need to be kept away from the Inspector while he is working.
If you are on site and a major or serious defect is identified, our Inspector will discuss it with you. Otherwise, the amount of information he needs to communicate may mean it's not practical for our Inspector to cover it all verbally on site with you.
That's why we've designed our comprehensive report to be easy to read with lots of supporting photographs and we endeavour to get it to you same day turnaround. Once you have read your report, you are always welcome to contact our Inspector to address your concerns and questions. We want to make sure that you fully understand your report and have all the information you need to make your property decisions.
The level of detail in our documentation will depend upon the type of inspection. For example, if our Inspector is conducting a Building and Pest Inspection on an older property, he may not note the chipped bricks unless they contribute to a structural defect, or conditions conducive to structural defects.
As our Inspector must judge the noteworthiness of each defect in context of a comparable property of similar age and condition, chipped bricks may not be considered significant enough to itemise. As you can appreciate, with older existing homes, it is most important that our inspectors document defects of highest priority or the list would go on ad infinitum.
However, the situation is very different for our Stage Inspections and Handovers of newly built homes where chipped bricks would definitely be assessed in accordance with the Standards & Tolerances Guide where noticeable surface cracks greater than 2 mm are considered a defect which require repair work if identified within 12 months from date of completion.
This is probably the one area in life for which there is no "pass" or "fail". A professional Pest and Building Inspection is an examination of the property's current condition, conducted according to Australian Standards. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, nor a council inspection, which verifies compliance to local government legislation.
Our Inspector will not pass or fail a property, but only itemise visible defects, rating their severity and recommending a course of action within a suggested timeframe. Armed with all this information, supporting photographs and helpful literature, you're in a better position to make a well informed decision.
There are many things to consider when buying a property. For example, how busy is the road, the type of neighbourhood, proximity to schools, hospitals, shopping, community facilities, and public transport to name a few. You also need to consider what is potentially in your neighbouring yards.
As a Building and Pest inspection does not address factors that fall outside of the property you are purchasing, you may also consider what in neighbouring yards may be a potential problem for the property you are interested in purchasing. This may extend to fencing, retaining walls, landscaping, drainage and flooding with heavy rains, trees, and finally, pets.
You might consider seeking advice from the local council particularly about problem trees and a flood map of the area.
When you have a new home built or when you buy a new home from a builder or developer, the warranty against major structural defects applies for 6 years. However, for less significant non-structural defects the builder is only responsible for rectifying issues for 12 months after Practical Completion. Because of this, we recommend that before 12 months after Practical Completion and your Handover Inspection, you have a further Warranty Inspection undertaken to identify any non-structural defects, omissions or untradesmanlike work so the builder can rectify them. Typically, there will be a number of minor items for the builder to fix such as cracking to wall sheets and cornice resulting from frame shrinkage.
Basically, this is a repeat of the thoroughness of the Handover Inspection but most importantly, this is your last opportunity to get the builder to fix any less significant non-structural defects under your Home Insurance Warranty.
During the Handover Inspection we conduct a very comprehensive inspection detailing any untradesmanlike work, inappropriate materials, incomplete work, omissions, non-structural defects, and structural issues. We also complete a Timber Pest Inspection on your new property. This may seem unnecessary, but it is not uncommon for the termite management system to be compromised during the building process.
This assists you in relaying to your builder those items that still require work or rectification so you can make your final Practical Completion payment with confidence. We will also happily discuss any issues the builder may have with the findings in your report.
When buying off a plan it is always wise to make your contract conditional upon a Building and Pest Inspection by an independent licensed professional. Being a newly constructed property, we conduct a Handover Inspection to ensure that the Builder has completed all work to an recogonised satisfactory standard, itemising any untradesmanlike work, inappropriate materials, omissions, incomplete work, as well as any non-structural defects and structural issues (Please note: With strata title properties we cannot inspect common property).
And if you are purchasing the property before the Home Insurance Warranty expires, we would also strongly recommend a Warranty Inspection 12 months after the property's Practical Completion so that any non-structural defects can be rectified under warranty. (Please note that Home Warranty Insurance Scheme does not apply to high rise apartments over 3 storeys)
This is a commonly asked question. We recommend getting an inspection at each Stage of your home's construction. These are broken up into 6 Stages in total consisting of 4 Building Stage Inspections culminating in Handover at Practical Completion and followed up 12 months later by a Warranty Inspection. You can choose the entire package or select a few... the choice is yours!
- Foundation Stage
- Frame Stage
- Lock-up Stage
- Pre-painting Stage
- Handover Stage
- Warranty Inspection - 12 months after Practical Completion
We understand this will depend on your budget. However, we would urge you to consider including the price for each stage within your budget prior to starting the build of your home. By factoring stage inspections into your build process, you can rest assured knowing that you have done everything you can do to ensure your property is being built to a high standard.