According to Chris Dyce, the Australian Society of Building Consultants’ president, buyers should only pick experienced building examiners that are qualified, have tried working in the building sector and also insured. He said that a pre-purchase report is definitely worth it when a buyer gets the right inspector.
The lack of regulation
As mentioned by Dyce, at the highest level, there are building examiners and pest inspectors, that are specialised engineers, builders and architects, but at the lowest level, there are people who don’t have significant qualifications, building experience and insurance that are claiming as inspectors.
He explained that even though the Australian Standard 4349.1 – 2007 indicates that an individual doing a pre-purchase home inspection has to have experience and be competent, there is a lack of regulation to enforce the rule in New South Wales. After the industry experienced deregulation in 2009 by the state government, the building examiners and pest inspectors are not any more legally required as licensed builders or have professional liability insurance.
Aside from Queensland, most of the other states have the same lack of regulation in terms of enforcement in standards for these inspectors that do pre-purchase reports.
John Coghlan from Buildspect Consulting mentioned that in Victoria, the building examiners that do mandatory inspections when it comes to Building Act 1993 need to have registrations, specific experience and qualifications. But, he said, that this registration is not applicable to people who provide pre-purchase inspections in Victoria. Anyone is able to advertise themselves being building examiners or doing pre-purchase inspections.
He added that this is somehow difficult for consumers because their decision is based from price, and they usually try to acquire the least expensive pre-purchase report.
Dyce cautioned against the purchase of these reports from agents or sellers, since there may be a lack of legal comeback in case a report is incorrect.
There is no need to stress enough that building inspections, or even Termite Inspections in Sydney or in other areas of NSW, must be done by qualified individuals, with proper experience, in order to prevent future problems especially with any home purchase.