What is a building inspection, and what does it involve?
A standard building inspection is a detailed and methodical 97-point survey of your building site and the building itself, adhering to the NZ Standard 4306:2005 Residential Building Inspections.
It covers the existing condition of:
- the site and attributes;
- sub-floor (i.e. piles) if relevant and accessible;
- exterior including cladding, decks, pergolas, conservatories, windows, doors;
- roofing where accessible, including gutters and downpipes;
- roof space if relevant and accessible;
- interior materials and condition;
- kitchen materials and condition;
- bathroom fixtures and fittings and their condition;
- laundry materials and condition;
- and services such as heating, ventilation, telecommunications etc.
If you have a separate garage or separate out-buildings such as sleep-outs or sheds you would like inspected these are additional to the standard building survey but can be requested as add-on's.
There are also specialised reports, such as Weathertightness Reports (often required by banks for monolithic-clad homes, undertaking a detailed account of the external building envelope), and Safe & Sanitary Reports (where a building is pre-1992, or had building work completed without a permit and/or CoC).
The inspection is non-invasive, so no holes or destruction is required at this level - inspection is based on visual observation and non-destructive testing equipment. All inspections undertaken by Confidence Building Inspections include moisture, thermal, and electrical testing for no extra charge.
We have two people undertaking each inspection, so you can have the confidence that everything has been looked at.
Once the property has been inspected thoroughly, a detailed easy-to-read written report will be emailed which outlines materials used and their condition, as well as clearly outlining any defects or issues, plenty of photographic evidence and recommendations for you. This will be sent to you within 24 hours of undertaking the inspection.
The report will include plenty of photos, particularly of areas of concern so you can visually see what we're talking about. We also break our summary down into 'Significant Issues' and 'Maintenance Issues'. Those which we deem to be significant and have already caused damage, and those which we deem to be maintenance which ideally should be done to avoid bigger issues down the line, but may not need to be done immediately so you can budget for them at a later date.
Building inspectors are 'generalists' however may have expertise in one particular area. As such, they are able to gauge the quality and condition of various building components and provide you with advice, however they're not experts in every facet of the building. The inspections are also non-invasive, so there may be some issues which require a destructive inspection by an expert to gauge the full extent of the problem. For some defects we may suggest an expert be engaged to assess it in further detail and provide you with a quote for repair, for example if we see rust appearing on your roof we will recommend a roofer inspect it to let you know if it can be repaired or needs to be replaced, and what the cost might be.
Who should get a building inspection?
Primarily building inspections are ordered by people who are buying a house, and want to make sure it is structurally sound and in good condition, as well as some banks requiring one in certain situations. Such a report can help the home buyer budget how much they'll need for immediate repairs, if any. An inspection is also helpful to those who are wanting to sell their home to make sure any serious defects or issues are identified prior to putting it on the market so they can either make repairs, or list their home at a fair price - knowing any issues up front will also mean a sale is less likely to fall through from defects found later by the home buyer. Finally, building inspections can be a useful way for someone who has been in their home for a number of years to identify areas where maintenance is required to keep the home in good condition - if issues aren't known, or are left unaddressed, they can become very costly to repair.
Why should I get a building inspection and not just check out the home myself?
Issues may not be apparent to the untrained eye, but we as building professionals can identify where there may be concerns, and are also skilled in using specialised equipment for detecting issues. We understand the Building Code and building standards so know what to look for when looking at homes. As mentioned above, some banks will also require a professional building inspection be undertaken.
There are 45 key areas on the exterior of a house alone where weather-tightness risk can commonly occur, causing structural and health issues down the line. The design, quality of construction, use of building materials, and ongoing maintenance all have an effect on weather-tightness risk. Qualified and trained building surveyors work through a 97-point detailed survey of the property to locate any significant issues or defects.
Our inspector is an accredited building surveyor with BOINZ, in addition to having worked 30 years in the building and construction industry to give you confidence in selecting Confidence Building Inspections to undertake your next building inspection, with the added assurance of carrying full insurances.
Why use an accredited building surveyor?
Accredited building surveyors are trained specifically around what to look for under the New Zealand Standard 4306, and as such have stringent quality and process controls to ensure standardisation across the industry. As a member, we also undergo regular training and professional development. As accredited surveyors, we must also always hold current public liability, statutory liability, and public liability insurances for your protection - which other inspectors may not. We are accredited with the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand (BOINZ).
Are you associated with the Council building inspectors?
No, we are independent of local Councils, and so can provide an unbiased report on the current condition of a property. Council building inspectors, or Building Compliance Officials (BCOs), are primarily used for the building consent process and inspecting buildings during their build or renovation to ensure they meet the Building Code requirements and adhere to a documents submitted for approval. Your local Council issue Code Compliance Certificates, and Certificates of Acceptance.
Can you help if my property doesn't have Council compliance certification for building works?
It will depend on your individual situation. Council require you to submit a portfolio of documents about the property to obtain a Certificate of Acceptance or Third Party Report (Safe and Sanitary report); one of which is a Building Surveyor's Report. There will also be a different process if the building works were given consent but never received Code of Compliance certification. (based on Tauranga City Council current requirements). Contact us so we can discuss your situation and needs.
What is the process for getting an inspection?
Once you make contact with us, we will work with you or your realtor to make a suitable time to inspect the property. If the property is currently rented, the home owner may need to give at least 48 hours notice of the inspection so keep that in mind. Our inspection will look at key facets of the property including the site and grounds; the sub-floor; the exterior envelope of the building including the roof; the interior including kitchen, bathroom, and all living spaces; and the services to the property. Every inspection includes moisture tests in key areas or areas of concern. We don't include ancillary spaces such as detached garages, sheds, or sleep-outs unless specified when you book your inspection. Inspections don't include LIM reports or council record checks, but we recommend you include these in your due diligence.
After the inspection has been completed, we will compile a comprehensive written report based on the attributes of the property and any specific issues or defects which may need addressing now or in the near future. This will be provided to you within 24-hours of undertaking the inspection.
Can I attend the inspection?
Yes, you are always welcome to be present at an inspection although it isn't required if you can't be there. Everything will be put into a comprehensive report with photos to assist you and we are available to you after the inspection if you have any queries about the content of the report or unsure of any of the terminology.
What happens after the inspection and we've received the report?
Once you've taken the time to read through the report, if there is anything you're unsure of make notes and get in contact with us. We can explain what we saw or the condition of something.
You should also discuss any identified significant defects with your estate agent who will assist with how to proceed in regards to the vendor and what approach should be taken, i.e. whether there is room for negotiation on price or if the vendor is responsible for getting something fixed.
Keep in mind that inspection reports are there to identify areas that may be of concern - it's not a 'snag-list' you can hand to the vendor and insist they are repaired to make the property perfect before you proceed. You also don't have to do anything - if issues are identified you can either address them or leave them as they are depending on your situation and your aversion to risk.
We are unable to tell you though whether you should or shouldn't purchase a house - that is for you to decide, based on the information provided.