Getting the Right Perspective: How to Read or Interpret a Building and Property Inspection Report

Reading and understanding an inspection report can be daunting. Inspection Reports are typically ordered in the 5 Day Cooling Off Period, leaving a small window of opportunity to fully inform the purchaser of the property and any potential issues.   Issues need to be clearly defined and articulated so that vested parties to the sale can more fluidly make an arrangement to resolve.
The Australian Standard ‘AS4349.1-2007 Inspection of buildings – Pre-purchase inspections – Residential buildings’ method requires that defects be:

  • located
  • identified
  • categorised under a Type of Defect’  such as Damage, Distortion, Water/damp related, Material Deterioration, Operational or Installation/Appearance/Omission.
  • An indicator or marker or classification of each defect as to the significance or magnitude of defects.

‘Markers’ or ratings are used to simplify the results in the form of ‘MAJOR’ and ‘MINOR’ and ‘SAFETY HAZARD’ defects.  However, the assessment is, in the case of each defect, open for interpretation and hence an ‘opinion’; subjective, informed or otherwise. 

The ‘Otherwise’ is a problem:


Pest inspectors in the Coffs Harbour region are now conducting building and pest inspections in a ‘Combined Pest and Building Inspection’.  With little or NO building experience the reports are vague, non-specific and poorly articulated.  The defects are often NOT categorised as required by AS4349.1-2007 [Inspection of buildings – Pre-purchase inspections – Residential buildings]  and an unqualified assessment or NO assessment is given of the seriousness of the defect. This is an essential part of the report and an essential part of professional advice in an appraisal of the dwelling.

At  +ado building inspections,  we are very particular about clearly and accurately articulating the issues to enable an informed decision for all parties concerned.

local news + industry developments – BEWARE

The market has shifted. Please be aware of the following.

PEST INSPECTORS are now undertaking BUILDING INSPECTIONS in a COMBINED building and pest inspection.

With little or NO building and or construction experience a pest inspector is not equipped to conduct a professional building inspection and/or advise professionally on the outcomes.

The reports are typically framed in general and non-specific terms throughout and use terms such as ‘average condition’ or ‘reasonable condition’ often in areas of the report without actually stating the defect.

We recommend that separate building and pest inspections be undertaken. The extra cost is marginal and the risk of major defect detection is greatly reduced as two independent observations are made.


A suitably qualified and experienced building inspector should be able to professionally detect, comment and advise on the following:

  • Building construction technology: structure, weather and damp proofing,
  • Material technology and application: construction practice and the diverse, often unique application of materials and junction thereof is broad and varied and has changed over time.
  • Building physics in relation to climate and relative damp point within different types of construction. This particularly important in relation to ventilation and mitigation of damp in relation in the context of insulation.

+ Assessment of the positioning of the building in relation to the surrounding topography and the strategy and implication of drainage techniques applied may affect the building.

  • Full insight into the Australian Building Code: in particular with regard construction method, health, amenity and safety.
  • Full insight into to the relevant Australian Standards that are applied to the individual industry trades, materials and practices.

+ A building inspection report classifies defects in MAJOR and MINOR categories. An inexperienced inspector is likely to either OVER or UNDER state defects potentially distorting the sale process for vendor and purchaser.

+ An experienced building inspector should be able to detect assess and advise on complex issues.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment