This building inspection report is the one you get before you buy a property. A pre–purchase property inspection 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 a faulty roof to name a few. It is usually carried out before you exchange sale contracts so you can identify any problems with the property which, if left unchecked, could prove costly to repair. Throughout this web page we will refer to the report as a ‘building inspection report’.

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 can be advisable to get a separate pest inspection report done before you buy a property.

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.


The  building inspection reports will adopt a standard format, Photographs are included. The report complies with the Australian Standard (AS 4349.1).

The 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 or the inspector may recommend a more invasive inspection. The inspector may refer you to obtain an additional assessment of the property from a suitably accredited specialist, eg. pest inspector, structural engineer, geotechnical engineer, surveyor, solicitor, electricity supply authority or water supply authority.

The consultant will 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.

You may also like to ask that a particular part of the property, or certain items, also be inspected, such as:

The following would normally be included in a building inspection report: garage, carport and garden shed, separate laundry or toilet, small retaining walls (ie. non–structural), steps, fencing, surface water drainage, storm water run-off, paths and driveways.  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.

While the report will give you valuable expert advice, it will not cover everything.

The consultant normally would not check things such as: footings, concealed damp-proofing, electrical wiring and smoke detectors, plumbing, drainage and gasfitting, air conditioning, swimming pools and pool equipment, watering systems, fireplaces and chimneys, alarm and intercom systems,  carpet and lino,  appliances such as dishwashers, insinkerators, ovens, ducted vacuum systems, hot plates and range hoods,  paint coatings,  hazards, every opening window, television reception.

Most properties will have minor defects such as blemishes, corrosion, cracking, weathering, general deterioration, and unevenness and physical damage to materials and finishes. The report will make an overall assessment  of minor defects but will not attempt to detail all minor defects. f you want the consultant to report on minor defects and imperfections you will need to ask for a ‘special–purpose’ property 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.

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.

Pre-Purchase Combined: The combined pre-purchase Pest and building inspections offers the same detail as separate pest and building inspections. However the combined report allows cost savings to the customer.