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The Australian Standard 4349.1 – 2007 states that an inspection is “Close and careful scrutiny of a building carried out without dismantling, in order to arrive at a reliable conclusion as to the condition of the building.”

The purpose of the inspection is to provide advice to a prospective purchaser of the property as to the condition of the property at the time of the inspection. The report will detail major and minor defects as well as any safety hazards. When assessing the house the inspector is to compare the building with other similarly aged homes that have been maintained to an acceptable standard. By doing this the inspector should know what the ‘average’ home should be like and then items are then classified as “Below Average” “Average” or “Above Average”

The building inspector will inspect all accessible parts of the building and any outbuildings within 30m of the building and within the boundaries of the property. The building inspector will inspect:

  1. The interior of the building
  2. The roof space
  3. The exterior of the building
  4. The sub-floor space
  5. The roof exterior
  6. The property within 30m of the building subject to inspection

The building inspector can only observe those areas that are visibly accessible and needs to consider safe and reasonable access. So when entering a roof space or a sub-floor the crawl space needs to be a minimum 600mm x 600mm, when inspecting a roof it needs to be safely accessed by a 3.6m ladder. It is up to the building inspector at the time of the building inspection to determine if the conditions allow for safe and reasonable access.

The types of building defects that are to be reported on are:

  1. Damage.
  2. Distortion, warping or twisting.
  3. Water penetration or damp issues.
  4. Material deterioration. For example rust, rotting, corrosion or decay
  5. Operational. Which is where the element or component does not operate as intended.
  6. Installation. Which is where the element or component has been installed incorrectly, inappropriately or is missing components.

There are always limitations in conducting a building inspection usually they relate to areas where the inspection was restricted by stored personal items, air conditioning ducts, low pitched roofs, cars or locked doors and gates. It is the clients’ responsibility not the building inspector to arrange access to all parts of the property and therefore where access is denied those parts do not form part of the inspection.

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