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Building inspections in Sydney

What is not covered in a Building Inspection?

When looking into the inclusions or exclusions in a building inspection it is common for a building inspector to refer to the Australian Standard 4349.1 – Pre-purchase inspections—Residential buildings. Technically correct or incorrect? Isn’t that misleading. Well, I’ll explain what this means later in this article.

You see the Standard has an extensive list of areas that are NOT included in a pre-purchase building inspection. This list is available in AS4349.1 and has been derived from what can be seen visually when inspecting the property, what is or is not accessible at the time of the inspection and the skills of a reasonably competent building inspector.  In short, the standard mentions items NOT included.

  • identification of unauthorized building works
  • non-compliant building works
  • areas not accessible at the time of inspection
  • electrical installation and systems
  • plumbing

It comes as a surprise that the Standard lists 33 items (appendix C) that are NOT included in a pre-purchase building inspection.  A purchaser looking to arrange a building inspection would rightly so wonder; what’s the point of a pre-purchase inspection would be given such an extensive list of exclusions.

The Standard goes on to mentions the areas to be INCLUDED in the inspected as;

  • interior of the building
  • roof space
  • exterior of the building
  • sub-floor space
  • roof exterior
  • property within 30 m of the building.

And these INCLUSIONS all have numerous elements to them making what’s included in a building inspection by far more extensive than the items listed as not included.


Technically correct or incorrect?’

To clarify, it’s the inspector that makes all the difference when it comes to, ’What’s not covered in a building inspection’. It’s more about, ‘What will the inspector INCLUDE in the building inspection’. Although the Standard excludes a list of 33 items, good proficient and professional inspectors evaluate all visible and accessible items. An experienced inspector will know exactly what they are looking at and see it with there technical building knowledge in mind. It may be an electrical or plumbing item, technically excluded under the Standard, but if it appears defective or not serviceable, they will include this defect or observation in the report. It’s not the ‘rule’ you want, it’s the exception to the ‘rule’ you need to know, when purchasing a home.

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