Dangerous Defects that an Inexperienced Building Inspector Might Miss
Most people get a home or building inspection to have complete peace of mind. As a landlord or building manager, you don’t want your tenants complaining or getting injured because of major or minor building defects. You also don’t want to pay thousands of dollars more in repair and maintenance in the future.
However, not all defects are as obvious as cracked floors, watermarks on ceilings, or caved-in structures. Some defects can be almost invisible to the untrained eye.
Trying to assess your building’s status on your own or using a non-expert inspection service is a recipe for disaster and future liability. While no inspector can do a 100% perfect job all of the time, it’s better to reduce the chances for risk by consulting an expert building inspector in NSW.
What aspects do building inspectors miss
Subpar building inspections can miss out on certain details for any number of reasons. The inspector may be new or inexperienced, or the defects may be unobservable or easy to miss. Additionally, no client wants to spend more than a couple of hours on the inspection of their building. Because of the rush to inspect and create a full report, some building inspectors miss out on inspecting important parts of a building.
Here are some dangerous defects building inspectors can miss.
1. Unobservable areas
Ordinary inspectors assessing what appears to be a well-conditioned building can make the mistake of labelling some areas automatically unobservable. For example, an inspector may decide not to walk the roof, inspect the attic, or go through a crawl space in the basement or home. These little details can be a red flag, as there can be plenty of problems hidden in these areas. It is especially important to view these areas when there are indications of problems such as water stains on the ceiling.
Just because an area is not immediately visible or accessible does not mean they should not be inspected. However, inspectors are not responsible for moving furniture or larger boxes blocking access to the ceiling or other areas. As much as possible, buildings should also have access panels or similar provisions for testing the panelling or flooring.
2. Failed window seals
Buildings or homes with multiple windows are particularly susceptible to getting at least one window seal overlooked. Window seal problems are not a big deal in the long run, as they only usually result in fogged glass and condensation. They can be easy to repair.
It can be difficult for home and building inspectors to check for this type of problem in every window during a routine inspection.
3. Negative grades around your building
Ideally, the slope of the ground outside your property should be moving away from your building. This prevents the accumulation of storm water toward your building foundation. When storm water consistently pools around a building’s foundations, you can expect problems such as water penetration, rotting and discolouration, mould, and structural instability.
Negative grading can be due to contractor error, soil settlement, or improper rain gutter installation. This is a difficult error or defect to see in many instances, making it easy for inspectors to miss. The best time to see this is after it has rained steadily for at least several hours.
4. Concealed electrical system problems
Some inspectors guarantee only a visual inspection. This means that they will only report on visible or noticeable defects in your existing electrical systems, such as exposed wires or obviously damaged equipment.
Because of this, the report you receive may overlook things like a malfunctioning heating and cooling system or a non-operational sump pump in the basement. Failing HVAC equipment, cracked heat exchangers, and other concealed electrical problems can cause a big dent in your pocket. Missing out on these issues in an inspection can lead to costly water damage or insulation problems.
The best option is to hire an expert licensed building inspector who has proven credibility and thoroughness when it comes to inspection. A building inspection shouldn’t just cover the visible and superficial. Another tip is to be there during the inspection to inquire about specific building issues.
Prevent overlooking dangerous defects
As a property owner or manager, you also have the duty to know about maintaining and inspecting your building. While missing out on details may be the fault of the inspector, you’ll be more confident about the issue if you actually know what potential problems to look out for.
Major faults and misses can be costly to repair down the road, and they’re bad for investment. Here are some big issues that even experienced inspectors could overlook:
- Roof leaks
- Ventilation and insulation
- Electrical system problems
- Foundation issues
Even some of the fundamentals can be missed, which can be frustrating for anyone shelling out hundreds of dollars for an inspection. Some contractors protect themselves through conditions and exclusions indicated in the contract.
However, always keep in mind that you can’t expect an inspector to find all issues. There will always be things that can be missed out on any assessment, even by expert building inspectors. These defects may have been carefully hidden by the contractors or built over and hidden by the previous owners. However, minimising the chances of these missed details should remain a priority.
One of the ways to reduce this risk, aside from educating yourself, is by establishing the credentials of the inspector. Don’t make the mistake of not asking for qualifications and certifications. Are they a licensed builder? Do they have the training and technical certifications needed to assess for pests, building defects, and other issues? Another way is to look at whether or not they are a member of established registered associations such as the Australian Society of Building Consultants.
Contact the expert in building inspection
Exceptional Building Inspections is a trusted service provider in the NSW building inspection industry. While we understand the importance of time, we always make sure to conduct a thorough inspection. There should be no rush when it comes to ensuring safety and security. Contact us today for enquiry.