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Common questions about building and pest inspections

By John Dowling www.abis.com.au


Is an inspection necessary for new construction?

Absolutely! New construction is no longer a problems-free guarantee. While many new homes are well built, we regularly find significant defects in new construction. You can choose to have your new home checked at key building stages including Frame-Up, Waterproofing, and Lock-Up. And a Handover Inspection can help identify important items for pre-move-in rectification. It is common for problems to be identified that might not be noticeable to you until after your builder's warranty has expired.


Can a property fail inspection?

No. A professional inspection is an examination of the current condition of the property. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, nor is it a council inspection, which verifies compliance to local government legislation. Your inspector will not pass or fail a property, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.


Do I get a guarantee?

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. We cannot offer a guarantee on the property. However, a qualified inspection will warrant their judgments and opinions and will support them with professional indemnity insurance.


What if my report reveals problems?

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. As a vendor, you may wish to use the information to rectify defects or contract terms if problems are found.


Are builders good termite inspectors?

All Dual-Licensed Inspectors have undertaken at least a Certificate II in Asset Maintenance Pest Management, plus a further qualification in Timber Pest Management to be qualified as a Pest Controller specialising in Timber Pests. Now a qualified and experienced builder with all of these qualifications plus practical experience as a pest controller is one step ahead of a pest controller with no building qualification.


Do I need separate firms for building and termite inspection?

To be a good Timber Pest Inspector, your inspector must have full qualification as a pest controller including specific qualifications in termite management and control, but also have an extensive knowledge of how dwellings are constructed. They need to understand the types of construction methods that are specifically designed to deter termites, the susceptibility of various timber species and timber products to each of the various timber pests, and knowledge of where man-made tunnels are likely to exist in the building structure to assist in successful detection of termite activity. Many pest controllers undertaking Timber Pest Inspections do not have this knowledge.

Conversely, when undertaking a Building Inspection, the Australian Standard requires that structural timber pest damage be reported. A sound working knowledge of various species of termites and other timber pests, their habits, and biology is essential for this. Most builders undertaking Building Inspections do not have this knowledge.