Last year, the value of the Australian housing construction market was estimated at $105.4 billion with close to 300,000 new dwellings under construction and a further 40,000 dwellings in approved projects waiting to start. (Source: HIA Window Into Housing 2019).
Residential real estate underpins Australia’s wealth and the construction industry is one of the big economic drivers of our nation.
Building a new home can be an exciting experience when you are confident that things are going to plan.
It is also a big undertaking, as you need to keep a close check on the construction work at each stage to ensure that it is being built to your specifications. Dealing with builders or developers can be intimidating, especially if they use a lot of industry jargon.
New owners can make the mistake of thinking that everything is in hand – after all, the house is brand new and will be inspected by a Council inspector or private building surveyor and is covered by the Builder’s Warranty.
It’s important to note that these inspections focus more on whether the house complies with the relevant building codes and regulations, with less of a focus on workmanship and materials.
While a Builder’s Warranty is a legal requirement to protect you the owner against poor workmanship, failure to complete the project, it can only be acted upon if the builder dies, becomes insolvent or disappears. In all other respects, you are effectively on your own.
It can be daunting to know what to check throughout each stage of the building process – if you’re not familiar with the building process, you may not be able to recognise poor workmanship and materials, or incomplete delivery.
An independent property inspector with sound building knowledge and experience can check your build on your behalf, potentially saving you a lot of time and money in repair bills and costly legal fees.
Key stages in the construction process may coincide with your progress payment schedule and these are where an independent inspection is worthwhile. You can then be assured that progress is satisfactory and avoid possible payment disputes during construction.
The Home Inspection Hub offers a comprehensive and professional service that includes separate inspections conducted at the end of each critical construction stage. In addition, we can also offer a contract review and maintenance inspection to complement the package.
Our five inspection stages cover the following:
Base/Steel Stage Inspection
This stage is inspected before the concrete is poured. This enables the inspector to check the workmanship is to an acceptable standard and that good quality control measures are in place.
We check that:
- steel reinforcing is in place according to structural plans
- all corners have diagonal bars in place and starter bars where required
- damp-proofing membrane is laid and taped
- termite protection collars are in place at penetrations
- step set-downs to garages etc. are in place
Frame Stage Inspection
At this stage, the frame has been completed and approved by the Building Surveyor.
We check that:
- the floor layout is measured against the plans provided and walls are checked for being plumb
- the quality of finish on the slab surface, as this will affect the installation of floor coverings later
- the heater unit is in correct location according to plans and truss layout
- the frame, to see it has been erected correctly and that the trusses are in their proper position and supported by load-bearing walls
- trimmers are fitted above all walls
- the layout, to confirm it is as per plan
Lock-up /Pre-Plaster Stage Inspection
At this stage, the roof coverings are fixed, external doors and windows are fixed, even if only temporarily. Wall cladding may be only partly complete and will be inspected at future stages depending on the build process.
We check that:
- the roof tiles are installed correctly and that the fascia and guttering meet a satisfactory standard. (Roof tiles are only checked provided there is safe access to the roof areas at the time of the inspection. Alternatively, roof areas may be checked at future inspections depending upon access).
- walls are straightened and plumb, corners nailed off
- the brickwork is installed as per plan, with quality workmanship. Note: brickwork is often not completed at this stage but will be checked upon future inspections once cleaned correctly.
- windows are checked for being plumb and level
- plumbing pipe locations are correct to the plans provided. i.e. hot and cold taps to wet areas.
- the electrical rough-in has been completed. We would recommend that you check the location and number of power points, data, telephone and TV outlets before plastering commences
- the insulation is fitted to external walls
- bulkheads are fitted as required
Fixing Stage Inspection
At Fixing stage, internal cladding, architraves, skirting, doors, sinks, cabinets and cupboards of the home are now fixed into position.
We check that:
- all the interior work is now complete – including skirting boards and architraves – and is ready for sanding and painting.
- plaster surfaces are inspected on their standard of workmanship.
- the quality of waterproofing, particularly in the bathroom areas, where so many problems can develop. The waterproofing should be complete so that the tiling of walls and/or floors can begin.
- all cabinetry is located in line with any detailed drawings provided
Final Stage Inspection
The Final inspection (PCI) occurs before the keys are handed over.
We check that:
- flooring is laid and checked
- the fixtures and fittings are installed correctly and drawers and doors are aligned
- appropriate sealing and caulking has been made to all wet areas
- external treatments have been completed and the workmanship is acceptable, including caulking to expansion joints
- the paint finishes are of a quality standard according to Guides to Standards & Tolerances
- all hardware is fitted, including doors
- all plumbing has been completed