Building And Pest Inspections | Why You Need Both

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What you should look for in a building and pest inspection …

Since no property is perfect, it is standard practice to conduct a Building and Pest Inspection, the reports of which outline all faults. The most common and important issues you should look out for in this inspection are as follows:

Structural issues

Cracks in the structure caused by movement of the slab or footings are a serious problem, since they are expensive and difficult to repair.

The foundation can also shift due to insufficient drainage, poor methods and materials during construction, under design and ground movement. If these symptoms are seen in the building, your Building Inspection and Pest Inspection expert will recommend a further inspection by an engineer. Only go ahead with the purchase after completing a full inspection, making you fully aware of what you are up against.

Even though most houses experience “settling” of some degree, that is, where the weight of the house makes it settle over time into the ground causing some superficial hairline cracks, the larger cracks should be of concern to you. Their size and pattern are indicators of one problem or another, requiring rectification before you move in.

Water and drainage issues

For home owners and buyers alike, public enemy number one is water. Issues can arise from poor home maintenance.

Evidence of fungal decay, standing water and water staining, among other evidence of water entry can cause serious challenges with the home if you do not address promptly. Lack of timely replacement of a broken roof tiles or poorly painted timber can lead to serious damage that can compromise the structure of the entire house.

Moisture can attract timber pests, fungal decay, and termites, all of which can damage the structural integrity of the home.

Major water issues include:

  • Leaking roof or skylights.
  • Deteriorating downpipes and gutter.s
  • Plumbing faults leading to leaking shower pipes.
  • Poor drainage.
  • Insufficient or missing waterproofing membranes in older homes.

Termite activity

This is especially common in warm, wet climates that encourage termites to eat away at the timber. You may not detect this activity. However, it may be there in hiding, and it is common to encounter wood borers, termites, and fungal decay when conducting a building inspection and pest inspection. Homeowners who practice D.I.Y. home improvements are especially susceptible, as some preventative measures are often not implemented due to lack of knowledge.

Termites work in hiding, meaning the damage will be detected only after much damage has already been done. Termites can render wood frame structures unsound, and the house uninhabitable.

Roof problems

Whenever your inspection reveals ceiling water damage or a sagging roofline, be prepared for costly repairs if you plan to buy the house. The cost depends on the degree of damage and the type of roofing materials used.

If this type of damage is present in the inspection report, you will want to have a building inspector closely inspect the roof and consult a roofing company for further advice.


In a place with high humidity and poor ventilation, mould will grow. The types of mould that are found in the home basement or crawl spaces are responsible for asthma and some serious health issues when inhaled.

The presence of Black Mould is usually an indicator of more serious problems. This could indicate a crack in the house foundation that allows water to enter, or can be due to an issue with plumbing. Dealing with Black Mould can be a very expensive process.

Timber rot (fungal decay)

Moisture content above 15% in timber will almost certainly cause wood rot or fungal decay. The rate of decay will depend on the specific timber species and the presence of wood treatments like L.O.S.P.

Inappropriate or poorly done renovations can cause timber decay to accelerate, resulting in expensive repairs that may even involve overhauling the entire structure if the damage is extensive.

Safety issues

The building inspector may detect safety issues during building and pest inspections. Even though this is not a safety audit, the report can help you in the early removal or repair of safety risks and hazards. Your building and pest inspector can often recommend a qualified professional to deal with these hazards.

Non-compliant building

Your basic building and pest inspection may not be a compliance certificate; however, the reports can show you the need for further inspection by an engineer. Missing compliance approvals are common in older homes for carports, extensions and sheds.

Purchasing a house with compliance issues can set you back financially when the changes need to be made. Raise these matters before you consider buying.

Before you even think of making an offer on a property,
call Paul Cavallo, building and pest inspector, on  0419 868 008


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