‘I can’t afford private building inspections’

If you can’t afford to have independent inspections for your new home, it’s time to re-think your budget.

The unfortunate truth these days is that if you can’t afford independent inspections at the critical stages of construction, you can’t afford to build.

There is absolutely no doubt that if you’re paying for a new home, it should be built to the minimum standard at the very least. However, there are many things that can lead to a disappointing building experience.

Some of these factors include unqualified supervisors managing the projects, supervisors not adequately supported by the builder and or construction manager, builders being stuck in their ways with the mentality of “we have always done it like this” as well as builders cutting costs wherever they can. There is a huge gap between the mandatory inspection stages – once the frame has been approved, the Relevant Building Surveyor (RBS)/Building Inspector typically won’t attend site again until the final stage when they issue the Certificate of Occupancy – so much happens on site between these visits. We are also finding more and more that the mandatory inspections completed are time-capped and things can be missed. Sadly, this leaves the owner to pick up the pieces or take ownership of substandard work.

It’s fair to say that just about all of us pay around $1000 a year to insure our car in case we were to be in accident, we renew this insurance every year and will do forever. Most of us would never even drive a car away without ensuring it was insured should there be an accident.

But many may think twice about paying a small, one-off amount to ensure the biggest investment of our lives is built to a minimum standard. Even after hearing all the horror stories (and we’ve all heard them!).

There is a lot of uncertainty with building a new home. You can’t pick your Site Supervisor and you don’t know if they will remain with the builder for the duration of the build. You don’t know which trades will be completing the work on your home and subsequently the quality of their workmanship.

The one thing you can do to ensure some certainty to engage an independent building consultant to support you throughout the process. Having someone in your corner advocating for you and your consumer rights is priceless.

If your reason for not engaging an independent building consultant at each stage throughout your build is not being able to afford it, it is time to re-assess your budget and find a way. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of having a beautiful, new home, decked out with brand new furniture. New kitchenware, crockery, glassware, bedding, towels, artwork, pantry containers, decorative homewares, and multiple TV’s. Having it ‘all done’ at once is exciting and enticing.

But for the sake of putting up with your old lounge suite, finding some second-hand items or postponing the purchase of a few items to put the funds towards ensuring your home, your biggest investment; one that appreciates, not depreciates, is built to standard is undoubtedly a wise decision.

If your current budget only has room for a final (PCI) inspection, that’s certainly better than nothing, however we advise you to re-visit your budget. Find something you can go without to enable you to have inspections at all the critical key stages as often by final stage, it can be too late. Somethings cannot be fixed or simply will not be fixed by the builder. And many things simply cannot be inspected once they are covered up with concrete, plaster, paint and tiles.

We receive calls daily from homeowners who have noticed major issues which prompted them to pick up the phone, however sometimes this can be too late. Being proactive is key and anyone who has had major issues identified with their home understand how stressful and emotionally taxing it can be. Most would without a doubt have paid double to not have had this stress and building experience tainted.

Typically, a package of the critical inspections (pre-pour, frame, pre-plaster, waterproofing/fix and final) ranges from 1-2% of the overall build cost. Build size, cost, location, number of storeys and builder selection can all play a part in determining price. Re-inspection of rectification work can also be very important as of course you want to ensure that any non-compliant items are fixed… and fixed properly.

If you are looking around and comparing quotes, there can be huge differences in pricing between inspection companies along with very valid reasoning why some are higher. The old saying ‘you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’ can be very true. Click here to see out top 12 questions to ask when hiring a private building inspector.

Sometimes the cost of independent inspections can be factored into your construction loan, it can be worth speaking to your mortgage broker to see if this is possible for you.

If you’re building an investment property, the cost of the inspections can be added to the base cost of the home and can be used to reduce your capital gains tax if/when you were to sell the property.

Fortunately, some people can have a wonderful building experience. Construction flows smoothly without delay, there are no major hiccups, the communication is excellent and any minor items that are picked up throughout the build are rectified. This is best case scenario and one we’re very happy to have. We are always pleased to be able to congratulate a Site Supervisor on a well presented home. We have never had a client say our inspections were not of value. Clients are very pleased to know that their home has been well-built with pride and passion.

Our Quality Assurance inspections can be compared to a type of insurance for your new home and your peace of mind. Purchasing insurance is a way to protect yourself, manage and reduce your risk of uncertain and unwanted events occurring.

At the end of the day, our passion is quality construction and helping our clients have the best possible building experience. Independent building inspections and expert support add a lot of value for homeowners throughout their building journey.

Have a question about how we can help ensure a better build? We’d be pleased to assist, please contact our friendly team today.

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