What You Need To Know About Building Inspections Gold Coast

25th August 2023

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What you need to know about Building Inspections Gold Coast


What You Need To Know About Building Inspections Gold Coast

What You Need To Know About Building Inspections Gold Coast


Knowing as much as you can about the condition of the property before you buy will help you avoid problems and extra costs in the future. The best way of doing this is to get a pre-purchase property inspection report – commonly known as a building inspection. The following information explains what you need to know about building inspections.

What is a pre-purchase property inspection report?

A building inspection report is carried out after you sign a contract, within your building & pest period before settlement.
Sometimes referred to as a pre-purchase inspection, the report is a written account of the condition of a property. It will tell you about any significant building defects or problems such as rising damp, movement in the walls (cracking), safety hazards or defects.

Note: A building inspection report is different to a ‘pest inspection report’. While a building inspection report should identify any visual damage that may have been caused by termites, it usually won’t include the existence of termites or other timber destroying pests. It is always best practice to request a combined building & pest report before you buy a property.

Why do I need one?

There are three good reasons why you should get a building inspection report done before you buy a property:

  1. so you will know in advance what the problems are
  2. so you can use the information to try and negotiate a lower price for the property i.e. you may have to pay to repair some of the problems
  3. so you can get specialist advice about any major problems and how they will affect the property over time.

Of course, the building inspection report will be one of many things you will need to consider before buying a property.

Choosing the right person to inspect the property

You should always use a suitably qualified & licensed person to provide a professional building inspection report of the property you are thinking of buying. These professionals will know what to look for, and will see through any cosmetic improvements covering up faults that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye.

A licensed and insured building inspector will ensure that the format and content of the report complies with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1).

Make sure that the person you choose has adequate insurance cover, particularly for professional indemnity.


The format and amount of detail in the report will depend on the type of property, its size and age, its condition and the reporting process used by the inspector preparing the report. These factors will also influence the cost of the report.

Some building inspection reports will adopt a standard format or use a comprehensive checklist however Gold Coast Building Inspections reports are individually tailored for each property and include photographs. The most important thing is that the report complies with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1).

A building inspection report should include enough information for you to be aware of the property’s condition and identify any significant problems. However, a standard building inspection report is generally a visual inspection only and may not identify major structural defects or other hidden problems. If you have concerns about such problems, you might consider obtaining an additional assessment of the property from a suitably accredited specialist, eg. structural engineer, geotechnical engineer, surveyor, solicitor, electricity supply authority or water supply authority.

General information

The consultant should inspect all accessible parts of the property. These include the following areas:

  • interior of the building
  • exterior of the building
  • roof space
  • under-floor space
  • roof exterior
  • site.

Other details

The report should also include the following information:

  • your name
  • the address of the property to be inspected
  • reason for the inspection
  • the date of inspection
  • the scope of the inspection
  • a list of any area or item that wasn’t inspected, the reasons why it wasn’t inspected and if necessary, a recommendation for further investigation
  • a summary of the overall condition of the property
  • a list of any significant problems that need fixing
  • if necessary, a recommendation that a further inspection or assessment be carried out by a suitably accredited specialist, e.g. pest inspector, electricity supply authority, water supply authority, structural engineer, geotechnical engineer, surveyor or solicitor.

The summary

The summary is possibly the most important part of the report. It should give you a brief summary of the major faults found in the property and its overall condition considering its age and type.

Things not included

A building inspection report usually will not include:

  • parts of the property that were not or could not be inspected
  • matters outside the consultant’s expertise
  • an estimate of repair costs
  • minor defects
  • termite detection.

A building inspection report should not be seen as an all-encompassing report dealing with every aspect of the property. Rather it should be seen as a reasonable attempt to identify any major problems that are visible at the time of the inspection. The extent of any problem will depend to a large extent upon the age and type of property.

Factors affecting the report

There are certain conditions you should be aware of that will affect the final report. These include:

  • problems that are difficult to detect due to weather or other conditions such as rising damp and leaks
  • the information you provide to the consultant
  • the specific areas of the consultant’s ‘expertise’ as specified in the report
  • problems that may have been deliberately covered up to make an area appear problem free.

It may be difficult to detect leaks and other problems if services, such as water, have not been used for some time. For example, if the shower has not been used recently, leaks or dampness may not be obvious.

Using the report for other purposes

This type of building inspection is carried out specifically for the information of home buyers. Its main purpose is to give you an expert’s view of the condition of the property you are interested in buying.

It is not intended to be used as a certificate of compliance for any law, warranty or insurance policy against future problems. Nor is it intended to estimate the cost of fixing problems. If you want the consultant to estimate the costs of necessary work you will need a ‘special-purpose’ property report.

It is normally the role of your conveyancer or solicitor to deal with all law-related matters. The building inspection report cannot comment on things like the location of fencing in relation to boundaries, as this needs to be done by a registered surveyor.

Ordering a report

Most consultants will need a minimum of 2-3 days notice to do a building inspection.

When ordering your building inspection report, make sure you give yourself enough time to make a decision. You should get the vendor’s permission to have the property inspected as early in the sale negotiations as possible. This will help you decide if the property is worth buying. There may be little point in spending money on conveyancing until you know the condition of the property.

Inspections done during the cooling-off period

When you buy a property in NSW there is a 5 business day cooling-off period after you exchange contracts. During this period, you have the option to get out of the contract as long as you give written notice. The cooling-off period starts as soon as you exchange and ends at 5 pm on the fifth business day.

A cooling-off period does not apply if you buy a property at auction or exchange contracts on the same day as the auction after it is passed in.

If you want to get a building inspection done during the cooling-off period, make sure you give the consultant as much notice as possible. They will have to do the inspection, prepare the report and still give you time to make a decision. If you decide not to buy the property you will also need time to get a letter to the vendor or their agent, saying that you are withdrawing from the contract.

Other types of reports – What You Need To Know About Building Inspections Gold Coast

Special-purpose property reports

A special-purpose property report would normally cover the same items as a building inspection (pre-purchase property inspection) report but it may also include:

  • an estimate of the cost of fixing major problems
  • a list of minor problems
  • a recommendation of the repairs and maintenance work needed.

Check with the building consultant on what information they normally include in their pre-purchase property inspection reports and inform the consultant if you require additional information.

Pest inspection reports

While the building inspection report should identify any visual damage caused by termite activity, it won’t include the detection of whether termites and other timber destroying pests still exist.

You should consider getting a pest inspection done as well as the building inspection, especially if the property is located in an area where termites are known to be a problem.

Pre-sale (vendor) building reports

Vendors will sometimes get a building report on the property they are selling so they can give it to interested buyers. While this can be helpful, it is better from your point of view to get your own independent report.

If you are not satisfied

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the report or your dealings with a consultant, you should first try and resolve the problem with them or their company. If they are members of an industry association you may be able to get help from that association to resolve the dispute.

If you buy the property and later find that there are problems that were not identified in the building inspection report, you may need to seek legal advice about your position, particularly if the consultant’s negligence ends up costing you a lot of money.

If you can show that the consultant was negligent in doing the inspection, you can take legal action against them.

It is therefore strongly recommended that you only use consultants that have adequate insurance cover, particularly for professional indemnity.

Fixing problems

If you end up buying the property you may need to organise repairs or renovations before you move in. If this is the case, there are some important things you should know. When using a builder or tradesperson for work where the value is over $1,000 the builder or tradesperson must:

  • be correctly licensed with NSW Fair Trading for the work they are doing
  • provide you with a written contract where the value of work (labour and materials) is over $1,000
  • give you a certificate of home warranty insurance before taking any deposit and before starting the work if the job costs more than $12,000.


Remember, investing in a thorough building inspection ensures you have a comprehensive understanding of the property’s condition and minimises potential risks or surprises. Take the time to select a reliable building inspector, and you’ll be well on your way to making an informed decision and protecting your investment on the beautiful Gold Coast.

Feel free to contact us to chat about gold coast building reports!  We’re happy to help.

Call Jed Rogers now 0448118063 or contact us to book your building and pest inspection with Gold Coast Building Inspections.

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What You Need To Know About Building Inspections on the Gold Coast