Importance of qualified building inspections

Recently, we were requested to conduct a building inspection in Mentone by a client selling her retirement home. The home had previously been inspected by another company while it was for sale. The vendors raised concerns that the inspection report findings by the previous building inspector were incorrect or inaccurate and requested Mr Inspector’s advice.

Unfortunately the building inspection report was not accurate. Defects were not recorded, but more importantly that their diagnosis and rectification of the defects was incorrect.

“An Accredited House Inspector or even a Registered Builder IS NOT a Qualified Building Inspector”

The companies report had stated that there was major structural cracking in a masonry wall and underpinning was required. The company even supplied a quote for $25,000 from an underpinning company who had not even attended the house. The cracking was above a window and crack widths were 1 mm wide and through mortar only. The finding of “major structural defect” was incorrect. The vendor lost the sale and the potential buyer didn’t buy the home based on flawed inspection results. The home also did not require underpinning as the cracking was not related to differential settlement in the dwellings footings. The potential purchaser missed a house they were keen on because of wrong advice.

The importance of a qualified, knowledgeable and experienced building inspector is obvious.

What is A Qualified Building Inspector? A qualified building inspector is someone who has completed a degree or diploma in building surveying. This qualification is the only qualification recognised by the Victorian Building Commission, the Building Act and Building Regulations 2006. This enables them to carry out the mandatory or legislated construction stage inspections for builder defects and a range of other inspections.

Someone not qualified is not able to carry out these mandatory, legislated building defect inspections, but can carry out pre-purchase house inspections – go figure!

Are all Pre Purchase house Inspectors Qualified?
The simple answer is No. In Melbourne, we know of three other companies besides us who are actually qualified building inspectors.

What is a House Inspector? A house inspector is not a qualified Building Inspector. If an accredited house inspector has not carried out the necessary qualification to become a building inspector, they can not, by law, call themselves a Registered Building Inspector. They may label themselves a qualified house inspector, an accredited house inspector or a consultant but they are not qualified to carry out the legislated mandatory building inspections. They can do pre-purchase building inspections because as stated, unfortunately you don’t need to be qualified at anything to do these. Pre-purchase inspection businesses do not have to be qualified building inspectors. Some may have minimal experience in detection of building defects and importantly no expert knowledge of the cause or significance of building defects.

What is an Accredited House Inspector? An accredited house inspector is normally a person who has carried out a short course, normally offered by some House inspection companies who have branched out. This is normally limited to teaching about report writing under the Australian Standards for pre-purchase house inspections and insurance related matters. Two days or two weeks of a course is not enough time to learn about building defects or house construction. It’s not even enough time to learn how to drive, let alone carry out a comprehensive building inspection.