How do I find an experienced House Inspector in Melbourne?

The importance of engaging a qualified and experienced Building Inspector in Melbourne can not be overlooked. Some are qualified and some not.  You should ascertain the qualifications of your inspector actually inspecting the home before making such a large investment.

Remember the pre-purchase house inspection industry is not regulated and experience and qualifications of the building inspector can mean you obtain the services of someone with no qualifications at all.

It is equally important to engage house inspectors with the knowledge and experience to differentiate between major problems and minor problems and how to have these issues rectified.  If the building inspector misjudges or is unable to differentiate between a major, expensive problem and a minor problem you may decide not proceed based on the wrong information.

A few simple questions to help you decide which building inspector is for you are:

  • Are you insured to conduct building and pest inspections – request a copy of the insurance certificate.
  • Have you completed a Diploma of Degree in Building Surveying – This is the only building inspector qualification recognized by the Victorian Building Authority.
  • If the inspector has completed an accredited house inspection course – What did it involve, who ran the course, how many days did it take and then make your own enquiries about the content of the course.
  • Are you qualified to do Termite Inspections – Ask what certificates they hold – Need certificate 3 in Asset Maintenance (Pest Management Technical) Inspect and report on Timber Pests.
  • What is the Australian Standard for Pre-Purchase Building Inspections – Building Inspectors in Melbourne should know AS 4349.1 (2007) House Inspection requirements intimately.
  • What is the standard for Pre-Purchase Timber Pest Inspections – As above, 4349.3 (2010).
  • Do you look at wall cracking and how are these cracks categorized – structural, major or minor – Building Inspectors should have a good working knowledge of crack categories as per the Guide to Standards and Tolerances 2007 in relation to crack categories.
  • What equipment do you use to try and find termites during the house inspection – moisture meters, thermal imaging cameras, termite inspection equipment, Termatrac Meters.
  • If the house has a balcony or decking – What are the height and gap requirements for balustrade components – The building inspector should know that if it is a meter above ground you can have no openings that will allow a 125 mm sphere pass through and rail height must not be less than 1 meter.
  • Request a Sample of the Building Inspection Report.
  • How many years has the Building Inspector being carrying out pre-purchase building and pest inspections – can normally find this by searching ASIC.
  • Are you a member of an organisation such as the Master Builders Association – Some house inspection websites have organisations logos and registrations but this does not necessarily mean they are members or registered.

Mr Inspector hopes this assists in making sure you are engaging an experienced, qualified and knowledgeable house inspection service in Melbourne.

How much does a Building and Pest Inspection Cost in Melbourne.

The cost of a Building and Pest Inspection on a standard 3 bedroom home in Melbourne is anywhere from $450 to $1000 depending on who you engage.

Mr Inspectors fees are around $500 to $660 depending on size and location of the home to be inspected.

Be very wary of cheap inspection fees and there are a number of questions you need to ask of the inspector to make sure you are getting an inspector who is knowledgeable.  Many websites say they are qualified or accredited house inspectors and this normally means they have done a two day course on how to complete inspection reports properly.  A qualified Building Inspector, like Mr Inspector,  is one who has completed a two year degree or diploma of building surveying.

Remember, you can get a good building inspector or a cheap building inspector, but normally you won’t get both.  If you are hunting around for the cheapest inspector, give Mr Inspector a call and we can discuss the things you need to ask your potential building inspector so that you are obtaining the services of someone professional, insured, qualified and knowledgeable.

How do I pay for my Building Inspection?

We will send you a tax invoice detailing the type of inspection you have ordered. We accept visa or master card, internet banking or cash on the day if you are attending.

What happens if I’ve bought a house with a lot of defects?

This is all dependent on the clause or conditions you have signed.  Most people sign their contract with a clause subject to a building and pest inspection or similar.  I would strongly advise you to talk to your solicitor or conveyancer about what you should do in this regard as there are numerous options.  Some vendors may not take offers with conditions and others may.

Most agents will insist on conditions like “Subject to a major structural fault or defect”.  In my opinion this is not advantageous to you as a home with a rusted roof can cost $20,000 plus to replace but this may not be considered as a structural defect.  You’re spending the money so you need to consider everything and not be out of pocket if defects exist and you’re stuck with the property.

Can I attend the building inspection?

Of course.  You will need to advise the agent that you are attending the house inspection.  We have found in some circumstances our clients have turned up unannounced to a property that is tenanted and the tenant will only allow access to the inspector so you have wasted your time coming out.  For some clients with minimal knowledge of building defects or construction, it can be very helpful to attend.

Will Mr Inspector call me immediately after the inspection?

Some companies will but Mr. Inspector does not see the point. If you want us to call you straight after the inspection we will, but after thousands of building inspections for our clients, we came to realise (and so did our clients) that by calling after the inspection and trying to explain every problem at the home only confused them. It is not dissimilar to my mechanic calling me after looking at my car and start telling me every little thing wrong with it – I would only understand half of what he was saying.

Mr. Inspector’s reports are so easy to understand that rarely do our clients need to have a further discussion about the building inspection report finding.

After you have read the inspection report we are more than happy to go over the detail with you after hours. We guarantee that we will make ourselves available to 11.00 p.m. to discuss any queries you have because our aim is to have you extremely well informed of any problems at the dwelling we have inspected.

Can I speak to the Building Inspector after the inspection?

Of course you can.  Mr. Inspector is available to 11.00 p.m. at night to assist you with any house inspection queries you have.  We have clients emailing or calling months after the inspection with queries – this is what you pay for and we are always able to assist.

When will I get my inspection report?

On the day of the inspection.  Mr Inspector will email your building inspection reports on the same day of the inspection and then shoot you through a text message letting you know we have sent it.

How long does a building inspection take?

On an average 3 bedroom home built on stumps with access under the house and in the roof the building and pest inspection can take two or more hours, especially if the home has been neglected.  On well-maintained homes the building inspection may take just over an hour.  We have a methodical approach to the building and pest inspection and treat each inspection like an exam so that we do not miss anything.

What does a timber pest inspection report cover?

The Timber Pest Inspection complies with Australian Standard 4349.3 of 2010.  Photographs are included.  The Pest Inspection report advises you of any current live termites, any termite damage, conducive areas for a potential termite infestation and then preventative recommendations.  Borer Damage and timber fungal decay are also included within the pest inspection reports.

Do I still need a termite or pest inspection if I am buying a house that is not listed as a designated termite zone?

This maybe the case.  Bayside is not listed as a designated termite zone but we have found termites in Bayside on numerous occasions.  There is no invisible barrier stopping termites from flying from one municipality to the next nor do termites need to ask permission from the local council to come across.

Do I need to get a timber pest or termite inspection?

Mr Inspector’s advice is yes, you should get one for peace of mind.  Considering the statistic of termite infestation and damage in Victoria a timber pest inspection is highly advisable.  Some clients just ask us to look for termites during the building inspection and if you see some them to let them know.  It is not as easy as this – Specialized equipment is required to try and locate termites and adds considerable time to the building inspection with timber testing and moisture readings etc.  Obviously, if a pest inspection is not ordered we do not utilise all our various equipment to try to find them.

What will my building inspection report in Melbourne cover?

Mr Inspector carries out Building and Pest Inspections Melbourne wide and has been in the house inspection industry for 10 years.

Mr Inspectors Building Inspectors have been refining the building inspection reports in that time and done such a good job that they were approached by a Sydney Company to assist in the development of a software reporting program which is currently sold worldwide and being used by many other building inspectors in Melbourne.

You will be pleasantly surprised at how detailed Mr Inspector’s reports are and how easy they are to understand.

The pre-purchase building inspection complies with the relevant Australian Standard – 4349.1. This Standard dictates the various defects Mr. Inspector must inspect and report on. Mr. Inspectors building inspection report will advise you on visible structural defects, Major defects, Minor defects, Maintenance type defects and Safety Hazards in accessible areas. The report contains labelled photographs of any house defects and explains what type of defect it is (Structural, Major, Minor, Maintenance, safety Hazard, monitoring defect), where that defect is located and what is necessary to have it rectified.

Please read our defects section  for a few examples of these types of defects and request a sample report to show you how comprehensive our building and pest inspection reports are.

How do I organise my building inspection in Melbourne?

Just contact Mr. Inspector in Melbourne and he organises the entire house inspection for you.  We need your name, your phone number and your email address, as well as the property address.  We call the agent to obtain access to carry out the house inspection.  We will inform you via phone or email that the inspection has been organised and send you the necessary pre-purchase inspections agreement forms as required by Australian Standards 4349.1 and 4349.1.

Does Mr Inspector do building inspections across Melbourne?

Mr Inspector carries out house inspections all around Melbourne. Just give us a quick call and we can talk to you about your building inspection.

Is Mr Inspector qualified to carry out timber pest inspections in Melbourne?

Unlike pre-purchase building inspections, to carry out Timber Pest Inspections in Melbourne you need to be qualified.  Mr Inspector has successfully completed certificate 3 in Asset Maintenance (Pest Management Technical), Inspect and report on Timber Pests, Units 8 & 10 in Timber Pests and Units 5, 6 & 18 in General Pests Licensing.  This give you peace of mind that we know what to look for and where to look to find termite issues at your potential home.

Can I use a builder friend to do my inspection?

Mr Inspector advises against getting a friend to do your pre-purchase building and pest inspections in Melbourne.

Mr Inspector is qualified and experienced to find defects that have been caused by builders, carpenters, plumbers etc. Defects can be due to neglect, lack of maintenance or building structures that do not comply with the Building Code of Australia or the Building Regulations.

We see persons buying homes turn up to open for inspections with their builder friend and they have about 20 minutes to half an hour to inspect the home – this is nowhere near enough time to carry out a thorough building and pest inspection.

They do not have a torch to look under the home, a ladder to get in the roof, a moisture meter, termatrac meter, thermal imaging camera or timber testers to check for termites.

Most Builders are knowledgeable and see obvious defects but don’t have all the necessary equipment to carry out a timber pest inspection for termites and more importantly they will not be insured for pre-purchase house inspections or pest inspections so if anything goes wrong your friendship and your hip pocket will suffer.

Is Mr Inspector insured to do Building and Pest Inspections?

Yes.  Mr. Inspector carries full professional indemnity insurance and liability Insurance.  We are more than happy to provide you with a copy upon request.

Do you have to be qualified to carry out pre-purchase house inspections?

No. Unlike Mr. Inspector, some companies doing pre-purchase building inspections in Melbourne are not actual qualified Building Inspectors as recognized by the Victorian Building Authority. Some are not even registered builders or architects.

In Victoria, the pre-purchase Building Inspection Industry is not regulated. The person carrying out your building inspection does not have to be a qualified or registered Building Inspector to inspect you potential home.

You can be car salesman one day and the next day you can start doing pre-purchase house inspections.

Including Mr. Inspector, there currently are only 3 other house inspection businesses in Melbourne that we know of who are actually qualified Building Inspectors recognized by the Victorian Building Authority.

Some House Inspectors claim they are qualified house inspectors having competed a short course but these courses do not qualify them as “Building Inspectors” and are not recognized by the Victorian Building Authority. This is why they say they are qualified “house inspectors” and not building inspectors as this would get them in hot water with the Victorian Building Authority.

Qualified Building Inspectors are recognized by the Victorian Building Authority (formerly the Building Commission) and they require a vast knowledge of Building Defects, the Building Code of Australia, the Building Act and the Building Regulations to the satisfaction of the Building Authority. To be registered Building Surveyors they need to sit before a panel at the Building Authority.

Is Mr Inspector qualified to carry out pre-purchase inspections?

Yes, Mr. Inspector is considered over-qualified as you will see in the FAQ.

A builder or carpenter is not a qualified building inspector as per the Building Act 1993 unless they have completed a degree or a Diploma in Building Surveying – which we have done.

We have gone a step further and completed an advanced Diploma in Building Surveying. So, unless your inspector has completed a diploma or degree in Building Surveying he can not call himself a qualified building inspector. This is why most say they are qualified “House Inspectors” which in Australia, there is no such thing.

We have completed a 2 year diploma in Building Surveying to become qualified Building Inspectors and also a further 2 years to obtain the Advanced Diploma in Building Surveying.

Some of the more relevant Qualifications in the Diploma of Building Surveying that Mr. Inspector’s has completed as follows –

  • Assess Construction Faults in Residential Buildings.
  • Assess Structural Requirements for Domestic Scale Buildings.
  • Apply Footing & Geomechanical Design Principals to Domestic Scale Buildings.
  • Assess Timber Framed Designs for 1 and 2 storey buildings.
  • Evaluate Materials for Construction of Domestic Scale Buildings.
  • Apply Building Codes & Standards to Residential Buildings.
  • Apply Building Surveying Procedures to Residential Buildings.
  • Building Project Survey.
  • Undertake Site Surveys and Set out procedures for Building Projects.
  • Apply Building Control Legislation to Building Surveying.
  • Apply Principles of Energy Efficient Design to Buildings.
  • Apply Legislation to Urban Development and Building Controls.
  • Assess the Impact of Fire on Building Materials.
  • Produce Work Drawings for Residential Buildings.
What does Mr Inspector do?

Apart from what has to be done by us as per the Australian Standards for pre-purchase building and pest inspections, Mr. Inspector bases his inspections on what he believes he would want to know about a home he was buying. Every home will have problems, I can guarantee that. Our job is to tell you what defects were at the home and how to have them rectified.

We aim to put all our findings into perspective. It is the impact of the problems that matters. If the type of home you were interested in was a masonry brick or weather board house built in 1940 and you wanted it to be defect free, then you will never buy a home of this era – because the next one you look at will probably have the same defects or worse.

Mr Inspector believes the aim of any building inspection is to ascertain how much money you need to spend to get the place back to good condition, what defects are really major that will cost a lot to fix and what are just minor maintenance type defects that are easy and cheap to fix.

What equipment does Mr Inspector use?

EQUIPMENT USED IN BUILDING AND PEST INSPECTIONS

Mr Inspector has been in operation for just on 10 years and has tried and tested numerous pieces of equipment and come up with the right combination to conduct the most thorough Building and Pest Inspection available in Melbourne today. Some inspectors stick to the minimum equipment required under the Australian Standards for pre-purchase building and Termite inspections (torch, ladder, magnifying glass, timber tapper/tester and the like) but we want to walk away from your potential home confident that we have been as thorough as humanly possible. Remember, the inspection is non-invasive – we can’t walk into someone’s home whilst they’re trying to sell it and pull things apart, so it is important to have all the best equipment available to see into places where we cannot get or are not allowed to get.

BUILDING INSPECTION EQUIPMENT TERMATRAC T3i – Mr Inspector is equipped with the latest in technology as it is important to adequately carry out a building inspection of a dwelling on the spot rather than have to re-attend to carry out an invasive inspection before you buy a property. We have the expensive state of the art Termatrac T3i which is a three in one tool – moisture meter (detects moisture which may indicate leaks and also termite activity), laser heat sensor (detects heat behind walls which may indicate termite sub nests) and radar which detects termite movement behind walls. This means we don’t have to request an invasive inspection (remove wall linings) from the vendor which no doubt would be disallowed anyway.