Almost every buyer knows that they need a Building & Pest Inspection when they are looking to buy a house. But what about apartments, do you need one too?
John Roydhouse, CEO of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia NSW, points out that there are stats floating around that in new buildings, seven out of 10 have defects at the time of purchase. Sounds like not a bad idea to get a building inspection done after all, right?
However, there are cases where a building inspection may not be required. Once you read this article, you’ll be able to judge whether it makes sense for the apartment you are thinking of buying.
What is a Building Inspection?
A Building Inspection is a visual inspection of the property for the purpose of identifying major defects and safety issues. An inspection of an apartment is more limited than that of a house. The inspector will usually only be able to access the apartment itself and the common areas of the building. This means the inspector cannot access what’s above and below the apartment in most cases.
Also don’t forget that any building defects relating to the building itself (not inside the apartment) are the responsibility of the owner corporation to fix. Of course, no-one wants to buy an apartment in a building with ongoing problems and issues, and that’s why it’s important to find out more about its history and current situation. This is normally done by getting a Strata Records Inspection report. This isn’t an inspection of the property but of the strata records held by the strata manager.
So, do you need a Building Inspection for an Apartment?
We normally advise customers to get a strata report done first, so they can get a good feel for any current or recent issues affecting the building as a whole. If there are identified issues that might have structural impacts on the apartment, then a building inspection might help to assess this risk. It’s usually helpful to show the strata report to a building inspector for a better understanding of the issues.
Other reasons why a building inspection might be a good idea include:
- Top floor apartments where roof leaks can directly affect the property
- Ground floor apartments in small, older blocks with wooden floors (higher termite risk)
Buyers sometimes approach us to inspect brand new apartments to identify defects at settlement. And while we could carry out the inspection at that point, we usually recommend the buyer to wait a while. The reason for this is that new buildings have a defined defects period, usually 13 weeks. We believe it is better to use this period to bring to light more obvious defects that will be noticed through day-to-day use of the property. Towards the end of the defects period, a building inspection can help to identify defects that might not be so obvious to an untrained eye.
This process allows the owner to point out the defect they have noticed and allow the inspector to look for other, more structured issues and also assess the likely cause of all defects identified.
The most common major defects in new apartments relate to water penetration from the outside or from units above. These issues are often related to sub-standard sealing of joints and surfaces. These issues can require major rectification works and can result in long periods of disruption and water issues before the issues are fixed properly.
If you are unsure whether to get a building inspection done for an apartment you like, please call us. We are happy to give you our recommendations at no charge.
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The EYEON Property Inspections Team
At EYEON Property Inspections, we help you buy and sell with more confidence.