6 Of The Most Common Things We Find During Pre Purchase Building Inspections in  Brisbane

Buying a home is perhaps the biggest investment you will ever make. Your dream house might look picture perfect from the outside. The seller may even repeatedly bring up how much it is in “excellent condition.” However, it is crucial to get a second opinion from an industry expert when purchasing a home to ensure that you are getting a fair deal. A fresh coat of paint could be hiding rotting frames, and clever staging may be concealing other nasty surprises. Therefore, it is prudent to invest in pre-purchase building inspections in areas like Brisbane to check your property for common issues before putting an offer on the table.

Here are six of the most common things we find during pre purchase building inspections in Brisbane.

Leaking shower recess

A leaking shower recess can be caused by bad caulking, poor waterproofing or damage to the silicone membrane. It’s not always an easy defect to repair, and it will depend on where the leak is coming from and how extensive it is.

If you’re buying a house with a leaking shower recess, several factors will determine what needs to be done. The leak’s location and the cause will dictate whether a tradesperson needs to repair or replace it. It’s essential that you have an experienced building inspector review your report so they can give you information specific to your property.

Minor settlement cracks in walls

Cracks in walls are often visible signs of settlement and are usually quite typical. However, it is important to photograph any cracks in the walls of the house you are considering buying. We find structural problems in old and new construction alike, although they are more common in older buildings.

Damaged foundation walls, cracks in the external walls, and erosion are the most prominent structural problems we see in properties daily. Water damage, window and door frames pulling away from walls, and movement are also popular structural issues we fish out to protect prospective home buyers.

Rot in external timber stairs and balustrades

Rotting in external timber stairs and balustrades is an immediate safety issue. Stairs and balustrades must adhere to the state and federal regulations for balustrades. If we find signs of decomposed timber on stairs, balustrades, or other wooden components, we usually suggest a replacement. Rotting timber is a breeding ground for termites and damages the integrity and safety of the structure.

When it comes to the safety and construction of balustrades, stairs, and other wooden components, properties must adhere to minimum standards in the Building Code Australia. They must also remain compliant with local, state and territory codes.

Paint deterioration and rot to external wall cladding

The Brisbane climate and weather have a significant impact on the house exterior. In most cases, moisture entering the paint film through defects in the building envelope such as cracked plasterboard or window seals causes paint deterioration. The moisture can then cause corrosion from behind, which causes the steel frame to rust and expands, breaking up any paint left on the wall surface. Rot on external walls is usually caused by water penetration, including leaking gutters. Older houses are more prone to rot.  

Some minor surface cracking around windows will not pose too much problem. However, large scale peeling, blistering or rotting could mean costly repairs to the exterior cladding.

The cost for painting and re-cladding should depend on how extensive the damage is and the type of exterior cladding system. A typical renovation for external walls starts at approximately $8,000-$10,000 (dependant on whether it’s all brick or a mix of brick/render).

Cracked stumps

Stump homes are common in Brisbane and its surroundings, yet cracks in stumps are hard to spot and require a trained eye.

More specifically, in concrete stumps, people go to great lengths to hide the damage of concrete cancer by patching up the concrete stump and giving it a new and smooth appearance. Only the eye of a building inspector will pick this up.

It is a misunderstanding that concrete is an indestructible building material. The truth is, its integrity can fail thanks to concrete cancer. Concrete stumps have steel bars inside them, used as a strengthening mechanism. When these steel bars are damaged or exposed to water, they rust and expand to cause the concrete to craze and crack.

Cracked foundations

It’s pretty common for us to find minor cracks in the foundation of a home; they’re usually not a structural emergency. However, significant cracking requires immediate attention. Unstable soil conditions generally cause foundation cracks. Sometimes, they can be deep enough to reach the floor joist, meaning the house will be structurally unsound below this level.

The problem with significant cracks is that they allow moisture, pests, and air to enter your home, causing structural damage. At worst, it can be hazardous. Foundation cracks are usually easy to identify, and they will often have a V-shape or an angular pattern. They can also be discoloured compared to the rest of the foundation. The sooner you spot one of these cracks, the better. It’s best to have them repaired by a professional, though.

Why Are These Issues Concerning?

The above-listed issues can make or break the entire home buying process. These issues affect safety, comfort, selling price, and future repair costs. Consequently, knowing about them beforehand through these inspections is crucial to avoid making expensive mistakes.

How We Identify These Issues

Our inspectors use several tools to identify problems during Brisbane pre-purchase building inspections. A ladder, tapping tool, torch, and moisture meter are some of the essential tools we use. In addition, our inspectors have high-resolution thermal cameras to detect issues like roof leaks and moisture problems. This state-of-the-art technology relies on thermal, moisture and radar technology to scan through ceilings, walls, and floors for pest presence or activity without leaving a mark.

What you should do next

These are just a handful of defects that a pre-purchase inspection can discover, so it’s both an investment and insurance cover. But before you fly out the door and engage the first building inspector you find, make sure they are highly reviewed, insured, experienced and licensed. Don’t be afraid to ask.