Pre-purchase Standard Inspection

Requirement for Inspection agreement

AS 4349.1 – 2007 requires that an inspection agreement be entered into between the inspector & the client prior to the conduct of the inspection. This agreement sets out specific limitations on the scope of the inspection and on limits that apply in carrying it out. Where specific State or Territory requirements apply in addition to the scope of work in this agreement, or where the inspector and client agree to additional matters being covered, that additional scope is listed at the end of this agreement. It is assumed that the existing use of the building will continue.

AS 4349.1 – 2007 requires that the basis for comparison is a building of similar age and similar type to the subject building and which is in reasonable condition, having been adequately maintained over the life of the building. This means that building being inspected may not comply with Australian Standards, building regulations or specific state or territory requirements applicable at the time of the inspection.

Purpose of inspection

The purpose of the inspection is to provide advice regarding the condition of the property at the time of the inspection.

Access limitations

Areas where reasonable entry is denied to the inspector or where reasonable access is not available are excluded from and do not form part of the inspection. Access limitations may include legal right of entry, locked doors, security system, pets, furniture or other obstructions. Physical access limitations may include height, narrow boundary clearance, thick vegetation, small roof or crawl space and adverse weather conditions. The report shall identify any area or item within the scope of the inspection that was not inspected and the factor that prevented inspection.

The extent of accessible areas shall be determined by the inspector at the time of inspection based on the conditions encountered at that time. The inspection shall include only accessible areas and areas that are within the inspector’s line of sight and close enough to enable reasonable appraisal. Reasonable access includes a prerequisite that the minimum clearances specified in the table below are safely available.

DIMENSIONS FOR REASONABLE ACCESS

Area

Access Hole

Crawl Space

Height

Roof Interior

400mm x 500mm

600mm x 600mm

Accessible from a 3.6m ladder

Roof Exterior

 

 

Accessible from a 3.6m ladder placed on the ground

NOTES:

1 Reasonable access does not include the cutting of access holes or the removal of screws and bolts or any other fastenings or sealants to access covers.

2 Sub-floor areas sprayed with chemicals are not be inspected unless it is safe to do so.

Conditions

An inspection report may be conditional on

  • prevailing weather conditions or recent occupancy and use of services that might affect observations
  • information provided by the client or the agents of the client
  • deliberate concealment of defects
  • any other relevant factor limiting the inspection

Scope of inspection

What is not reported on – general exclusions detailed in the standard AS 4349.1 – 2007

  • Parts of a building that are under construction.
  • The inspection is not intended to include rigorous assessment of all building elements in a property.
  • Defects that would only be apparent under particular weather conditions or when using particular fittings & fixtures.
  • Defects not apparent due to occupancy or occupancy behavior eg non use of a leaking shower.
  • The inspection report is not a certificate of compliance of the property within the requirements of any Act, regulation, ordinance, local law or by-law and is not a warranty against problems developing with the building in the future.
  • Unauthorized building work or of work not compliant with building regulations.
  • Title and ownership matters, matters concerning easements, covenants, restrictions, zoning certificates and all other law-related matters.
  • Estimation of the cost of rectification of specific defects.

What is not reported on – specifics excluded by the standard AS 4349.1 – 2007

Footings below ground, concealed damp-proof course, electrical installations, operation of smoke detectors, light switches and fittings, TV, sound and communication and security systems, concealed plumbing, adequacy of roof drainage as installed, gas ittings and fixtures, air conditioning, automatic garage door mechanisms, swimming pools and associated filtration and similar equipment, the operation of fireplaces and solid fuel heaters, including chimneys and flues, alarm systems, intercom systems, soft floor coverings, electrical appliances including dishwashers, incinerators, ovens, ducted vacuum systems, paint coatings except external protective coatings, health hazards e.g., allergies, soil toxicity, lead content, radon, presence of asbestos or urea ormaldehyde), timber and metal framing sizes and adequacy, concealed tie downs and bracing, timber pest activity, other mechanical or electrical equipment (such as gates, soil conditions, control joints, sustainable development provisions, concealed framing-timbers or any areas concealed by wall linings or sidings, landscaping, rubbish, floor cover, furniture and accessories, stored items, insulation, environmental matters e.g. BASIX, water tanks, BCA environmental provisions, energy efficiency, lighting efficiency.

What is reported on

The inspection includes subjective appraisal by an inspector competent to assess the condition of residential buildings. It involves a subjective assessment so different inspectors or even the same inspector on a different occasion may reach different conclusions. The inspection comprises a visual assessment of the property to identify major defects and to form an opinion regarding the general condition of the property at the time of inspection.

The following areas shall be inspected where applicable:

  • The interior of the building: ceilings; walls; floors; windows; doors & frames; kitchen; bathroom; wc; en-suite; laundry; stairs & damp problems
  • The exterior of the building: walls (including lintels, claddings, doors & windows); timber or steel frames & structures; chimneys; stairs; balconies, verandas, patios, decks, suspended concrete floors, balustrades
  • The roof exterior: roof (including tiles, shingles & slates, roof sheeting, gables, flashings); skylights, vents, flues; valleys; guttering; downpipes; eaves, fascias and barges
  • The roof space: roof covering; roof framing; sarking; party walls; insulation
  • The sub-floor space: timber floor (including supports, floor, ventilation, drainage, damp); suspended concrete floors
  • The property within 30m of the house and within the boundaries of the site: car accommodation, detached laundry, ablution facilities and garden sheds; retaining walls (where supporting other structures and landscaping retaining walls > 700mm high); paths & driveways; steps; fencing (general & swimming pool) ; surface water (drainage effectiveness)

The scope of the inspection includes variations to the exclusions in AS 4349.1 – 2007 as detailed above.