Building and pest inspections questions and answers (Updated) 2021

Building and pest inspections questions and answers and what we inspect and don't inspect and other common Questions.

Should you get a building and pest inspection before you purchase your home?

A house purchase is going to be one of the biggest financial decisions in your life and it is advisable to get an inspection done to determine the house is not going to fall apart around you. In fact some banks are now making it a requirement before they lend you any money.

Most People look at their prospective new home with rose coloured glasses and don't generally look for issues and that's where we come in.

Building and pest inspections questions and answers

Sellers have tried to conceal a major crack in the brickwork

Home Inspectors

A building and pest inspection is the most important thing to consider before purchasing any property. It will help determine any existing and potential problems in the house or building and give you an expert’s advice on the property’s overall condition.  Also, once the inspection is completed and with the inspection report in your hand, and there are issues that affect the value of the property, you can then either negotiate the property price if you decide to go ahead with the purchase or walk away to find something else. The pre-purchase building inspection is very important for property buyers, and can save you financially. But you must realise it also has its limitations. Here are some building and pest inspections questions and answers and what we inspect and don't inspect.

1. Do we inspect inside walls ?

The short answer is no but if we believe there are any issues behind the walls like termite activity or high moisture.  We will advise a more invasive inspection of those areas. So if you decide to take this advice you will have to gain permission from the owner for us to do this and you are responsible for any repairs from the inspection if no issues are found. But if we find damage like the picture below it becomes the owners responsibility. In this case you can either walk away from the contract or if you are not worried you can either ask them to repair or get money off. In this case there was active termites which were treated and the cost to repair this place was 70K as the termites had got into the roof trusses.

Termite Damage

Termite damage found after an invasive inspection was done

There were other costs as well which was to install a Termite Barrier which cost $3500.00 to reduce the risk of future termite attack. This contract fell over due to the amount of issues found as the buyers weren't prepared to take it on.

Even with today's technologies it is still not possible, but we have some tools that can assist in detecting issues. Like the Termatrac t3i which uses radar for movement in behind walls, moisture and thermal sensing. Thermal camera which shows temperature difference, but is limited to ambient conditions on the day. Some people think these cameras are like a xray machine but they are definitely not.

2. Do we check inside the Ceiling space (Roof Void)?

The Roof voids can prove to be difficult to inspect especially when there is insulation present, Air conditioner ducting and the most common is low clearance making it unsafe to enter. But if we can enter safely we will.. The picture below shows termite damage to top plates and batons in the roof void which was found after the insulation was removed and we had to ask for permission to do this..

During the Inspections we cannot assess things in a property that are not readily accessible or are obstructed during the inspection. These obstructions or areas that cannot be inspected are noted on the report. Some examples:

  • No manhole access
  • Subfloor too low or no access
  • Rooms locked
  • excessive stored items
  • water tanks, sheds hard up against the house
  • Foliage
Building and pest inspections questions and answers

Manhole positioning a common obstruction


Building and pest inspections questions and answers.

3. Do we inspect on top of the Roof?

The roof is inspected , but only if it safe to do so. There are safety restrictions like weather, if it's raining we obviously cannot do the inspection safely. Also there are height restrictions , if we can't access the roof with a ladder of 3.6 meters we are not able to inspect, but generally we can check from the roof void and make sure there is no issues. So generally we inspect most single story dwellings.

4. Do we inspect Plumbing?

During the inspection Plumbing is not checked, but we do look for plumbing leaks, check the age and condition of the hot water service, check for high moisture around bathrooms, laundries, possible drainage issues, like condition of guttering, field drainage, subfloor drainage etc. And if we believe there are issues we will point them out and recommend you get an appropriate tradesperson to inspect them.

Building and pest inspections questions and answers.

Moisture is Checked in and around the house

5. Do we inspect electrical wiring?

As we are not qualified electricians we cannot inspect the wiring. But if we see anything that maybe a concern we will recommend an electrician to inspect.

6. Do We Inspect Home Appliances?

Most properties are sold with electrical appliances like an ovens, air conditioners, dishwashers, Garage door openers, ducted vacuum cleaners just to name a few. Remember that during the inspection we will not check whether or not these appliances are working. Make sure to inspect them yourself, especially if  appliances are included in the property’s sale price.

Things like House alarm systems,  CCTV cameras, fire and smoke detectors, television aerials, automatic watering systems are not checked in the inspection. Like the electrical home appliances, you should make sure you check them personally or engage a professional to check them. So if they are not working and are in the sale of the property you then can get these items repaired or replaced.

7. Do we check Ceiling heights?

Pre-purchase inspections also do not include the checking of ceiling heights. But if the property is advertised with habitable rooms in the sale and we believe they are not compliant we will advise you to get your solicitor to check for any council approvals. This can have a significant impact on what the property is worth and the agents/owners cannot advertise these areas as bedrooms etc.

8. Do we inspect swimming pools and pool equipment?


Building and pest inspections questions and answers

Pool Inspections

No we do not check Pools and equipment during a building and pest inspection. We do however comment on the fencing if we believe it is not safe and we do check the pumps if they are leaking. You will need to get a pool inspector to check if the pool is compliant and in most cases the inspector can issue a safety licence if there are no issues. when selling a home with a pool a current compliance certificate must be supplied.

Building and pest inspections questions and answers.

9. Do we check for Termites?

Yes we do. We check in and around the building for active termites and Termite damage.  Also we check that the termite protection is up to date and any conditions that will attract termites and offer solutions to remedy these conditions. We will inspect inside the home , roof void etc. On the outside we check fencing, gardens, retaining wall sand trees for any possible termite activity. We also check for timber decay or rot and also borer activity and damage. As the inspection is a timber pest inspection we check for all of the above and even mould.

10. How Long does a Building and Pest inspection Take?

Most inspections on a standard Home will Take from 1 hour to 1.5 hours with two inspectors. But this will depend on the amount of issues found during the inspection. We have taken up to 3 hours on an inspection. Additionally there is the time for the inspectors to Complete the report which can be time consuming.

11. How Much does a Building and Pest inspection Cost?

The cost is based on property types eg: Domestic or Commercial, property size and construction etc. But the average cost for an inspection on a domestic home is around $500.00 to $565.00.

12. When do i Receive the Inspection Reports?

With the reports you will receive them within 24hrs but generally you will get the report the same day

13. Can you come to the inspection?

The answer is yes and we encourage it and don't be afraid to ask any questions while you are there. All our inspectors like the buyers being there on the day to explain and put any issues in perspective, so when you get the report you will have a full understanding of issues found.

14. What Happens if we find Termites?

This is the worst possible outcome for most buyers and sellers. If we find termites in the house you are able to either walk away from the contract. Or you can negotiate a lesser price to treat, protect and repair any termite damage.. We had one buyer this year buy a property that had over 100k worth of damage caused by termites. Most people run for the hills...

15. What equipment is used.

Certified home inspection inspectors carry an array of equipment to assist in the inspection: The pest inspector uses the Termatrac t3i which utilises Thermal sensing, Moisture meter and radar which will pick up termite movement behind walls and movement in timber components and is considered the most advanced termite detection tool. Thermal camera for detecting temperature differences which is ideal for picking up high moisture areas and termite nests. Other equipment includes a Timber sounding device, digital camera, torch, ladder and reporting software which allows the inspectors to complete the inspection on site.

16. Who arranges the inspection Time?

Once you give us all the details of the property we will arrange the inspection with the agent so you can relax just a little.

17. what happens if the home fails the inspection?

This is the big question, if the property has too many issues you can either pull out of the contract or negotiate a reduction in price to remedy the issues or ask the seller to fix the problems.

So, what do we check during a building and pest inspection?

In a standard building and pest inspection, the inspection area includes the detection of minor to major structural damage, termite activity and damage to the property’s readily accessible areas. Such areas include the interior and exterior walls, the roof, the floor, the toilet, laundry, garage, driveways and stairs. Areas within 50 meters of the main structure including Fences, retaining walls up to 1 meter. Any out buildings within the 50 meter radius.

If you are worried about things that are not covered in your inspection. You can always ask us and we are happy to point you in the right Direction. For any areas that are not covered under your inspector’s scope of work, you should find the appropriate inspector with that area of expertise.

If you are not sure what the inspections will cover or would like to ask some questions.

please don't hesitate to  contact our helpful team at Certified Home inspections for advice. By calling 0732008586 or by submitting an enquiry online.

More info on building and pest inspections

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