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Under the Builders’ Registration Act a builder is legally responsible for all faulty and defective work for a period of six years after practical completion. Whether or not you engage a private building inspector will not affect the builder’s obligation for the integrity of the home.

However, many buyers do seek assistance from a private consultant if they do not feel qualified or confident in their ability to deal with the builder or his construction supervisor at handover.

If you decide to engage a private inspector, as a matter of courtesy you should advise the builder of your intentions. It is important also that you instruct the inspector appropriately. What you do not require is a list of minor defects e.g. chipped paint, cracked tiles etc. which are perfectly obvious for all to see. Builder and clients are often annoyed by voluminous inspection reports which identify imperfections like these which would be rectified in the normal course of events anyway.

Your instructions to an inspector should be to verify the integrity of major building elements. For example, the inspector should climb into the roof space to see if the roof structure is correctly installed. Checking that windows are correctly fitted and sealed is another important item.

Sometimes it is the things that are unseen that are most important. An experienced building inspector can usually by visual examination assess integrity of the footings and slab.

Before engaging a building consultant you should ask for a sample copy of a previous building report.  Are the defects described specifically?  Comments such as “non-compliant with building code” are vague and unsatisfactory as they give the builder no clue as to what specific section of the code has not been met and what needs to be remedied.

Private inspectors do not require registration in Western Australia, so it is important to check their experience and credentials before engaging them.  The quality of some building consultants has been heavily criticised by the Building Disputes Tribunal so it is important to choose wisely. There are a number of precautionary steps that you can take to ensure that you are getting value for money.

  • Check with the Builders’ Registration Board to confirm their registration number;
  • Contact the Master Builders Association for members who are building inspectors. You can use Master Builders’ free Find a Member service to find an inspector;
  • Obtain a list of previous clients and obtain their feedback; and
  • Confirm an agreed price before agreeing to an inspection.

13 responses to “Building Inspections: New Homes”

  1. choi cheng says:

    I am looking for a registered experienced building inspector for my new home, before final hand over and where i can check is the inspector is registered with the Building Registration Board.

    i have been through the website i could not find any. please advise me where to go or a number to contact.

    Warm regards

    • mbawa says:

      Hi Choi,

      We have an online referral program, ‘FIND A MEMBER’, where we list details of residential builders; commercial builders; subcontractors; suppliers and consultants that are members of our association. Please visit the following link: to access our referral program. If you are seeking a builder; please choose ‘RESIDENTIAL BUILDER’ as the member type, then select the region you are located and the type of service you are looking for.

      Kind regards,
      Master Builders Association of WA

  2. Steve says:

    I purchased a display home and leased it back to the builder approximately 2.5years ago. They have advised a handover will occur on the 27th February 2015. I had a preliminary meeting with a gentleman from the builders ‘Service Department’ whom was more concerned with getting to his next meeting and through our entire meeting advised reasons I shouldn’t have imperfections fixed i.e. hairline crack running for over a metre on an outside wall, holes not placed for washing machine plumbing and render that has come away from a sliding door frame.
    Unsure whom to turn to for advice and my entitlements as an employee from the service department of the buider in question advised, ‘We do not carry out inspections prior to Handover’ which does not sound correct

    Please Help!!

  3. Anne says:

    Hi there
    I am thinking of getting an independent inspector to check over my new house that I am about to build. You refer to Find a Consultant on your website, I can’t seem to see where it is? When I click on the link in the info page nothing happens?

    • mbawa says:

      Hi Anne,

      The linked has been fixed, and we are referring to our “Find A Member” tool, which connects the consumers to our members.

      Please try the link again and follow the prompts to find your building inspector!

  4. Cannot recommend this enough. The small cost of hiring an inspector could save you $$$ in potential repairs especially if things are not within the correct building compliances.

  5. K Sivanganam Karpusamy says:

    I’m been in the construction industry in Perth for over 12 years working as a Site Project Administrator, Assisstant Project Manager and OHS representative. Currently I’m involved in multi residential projects and I’m interested to apply building inspectors course.

    • mbawa says:

      Hi Sivanganam,

      Thanks for your inquiry.
      I have passed your details on to Neil Du Rand, our Training Director at Master Builders who will be in touch with you and will be able to assist with your inquiry.

      Master Builders

  6. Karen says:

    I have had a builder tell me that a large crack in ceiling in my 3 yr old home has resulted from the ceiling being erroneously glued to a beam in the roof and subsequently not allowing for heat expansion and contraction. This has also caused parts of the plaster vent to fall out. Can you tell me if this would be covered under ‘faulty and defective’ work as described above? I am not the original owner. I am the second owner.

  7. Ann & Con Sappelli says:

    I need advise re an issue with sagging ceilings. the house was build by Jennings industries in 1975 and occupied in February 1976.

    A assessment was carried as a result of my claiming the problem on insurance and advised that the claim was refused.

    The assessment stated that the cause was as a result of a original design fault, i.e. the sheets were only glued and not screwed to the timber joist.

    As this anomaly was not detected at the final inspection and as a layman this type of fault is beyond the scope of self maintenance what are my avenues of action as a cost to repair is estimated at $35,000.00 and beyond my capacity as a pensioner.

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