You may think that all building inspectors are relatively similar, with the same qualifications, skills and ability. However this is far from the reality.
The building inspection industry in South Australia is not fully regulated and it is very easy for someone with little experience to get “qualified” to provide pre-purchase building inspections. In fact, to legally provide a pre-purchase building inspection you do not need any formal building qualifications!
Because the industry is un-regulated, the market has been flooded with under-qualified people taking advantage of the situation and providing building inspection services. Many of them don’t even carry public liability insurance, which means that you aren’t protected if you use one of them and they give you bad advice.
For most people, buying a house is the biggest investment they’ll ever make in their lives, so here’s a few things to look for and check on when you are next looking for a building inspector …
Building qualifications and licences
Ensure that they carry a minimum of an Unrestricted Building Supervisors License. Many inspectors will only carry a restricted builders license for something like carpentry or painting. Obviously this indicates they are limited in their knowledge of the full range of aspects in building construction.
Insurances they carry
Protect yourself and make sure the building inspector you choose has Professional Indemnity Insurance and Public and Product Liability Insurance. The fact that they are able to get covered by these insurances indicate their qualification as they would not be able to obtain them otherwise.
Building industry memberships
Some industry organisations such as the ABC (Association of Building Consultants) and the HIA have strict minimum requirements that must be met in order to become a member. The ABC http://www.abcmembers.com.au/ should be your first port of call if you are looking for a qualified and fully insured Building Inspector.
Evidence of experience
Any building inspector can claim they have hundreds of happy customers, and many do. But of course no one puts up testimonials of unhappy customers. So rather than looking only for evidence of previous happy customers, also look for evidence of their actual history and experience in the building industry. As far as testimonials, it’s always a good idea to read through a few client testimonials to get an understanding about why people have specifically chosen that Inspector over others.
Once you’ve confirmed all of these requirements for your potential building inspector, then you should have reduced your potential list to just a few. We’d recommend to then ring each one and talk to them, verbally confirm their qualifications, experience and insurances and see who you feel comfortable with.
Don’t make the mistake of putting price as a top priority on how you make your decision! When you’re spending several hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house, don’t quibble over a hundred dollars here or there when it may mean you don’t get the best advice on the property. You get what you pay for. And good advice is worth so much more than it actually costs!