Pro­fes­sional check be­fore buy­ing

Matamata Chronicle - - Building -

You have found a home that you are keen to buy and want to take it to the next stage. A pro­fes­sional prop­erty in­spec­tion is rec­om­mended next.

Why have a build­ing sur­veyor in­spect your house?

A pro­fes­sional in­spec­tion of a home should iden­tify mat­ters that need at­ten­tion.

Who are build­ing sur­vey­ors?

The prop­erty should be in­spected by a qual­i­fied, ex­pe­ri­enced build­ing sur­veyor. You can find one in the Yel­low Pages un­der Build­ing Con­sul­tants or Build­ing In­spec­tions.

An in­spec­tor should have prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence in the build­ing in­dus­try, be a mem­ber of a rel­e­vant pro­fes­sional or trade or­gan­i­sa­tion, or hold rel­e­vant build­ing trade qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

Mem­bers of the New Zealand In­sti­tute of Build­ing Sur­vey­ors meet th­ese cri­te­ria.

Check the per­son or com­pany you hire has the qual­i­fi­ca­tions and ex­pe­ri­ence to give a report.

Some mem­bers of the fol­low­ing pro­fes­sions are also qual­i­fied to un­der­take build­ing sur­vey work:

In­sti­tu­tion of Pro­fes­sional Engi­neers New Zealand www.ipenz.org.nz.

New Zealand In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects www.nzia.co.nz.

New Zealand In­sti­tute of Build­ing Sur­vey­ors www.build­ing­sur­vey­ors.co.nz. New Zealand In­sti­tute of Quan­tity Sur­vey­ors www.nz­iqs.co.nz.

Make sure the in­spec­tor has pro­fes­sional in­dem­nity in­surance to cover le­gal costs and dam­ages. This is im­por­tant if you bring a claim against them for pro­fes­sional neg­li­gence where you act on ad­vice they give you which proves to be in­ac­cu­rate.

The four gen­eral ar­eas iden­ti­fied in a prop­erty in­spec­tion are:

Sig­nif­i­cant de­fects. Par­tic­u­lar at­tributes of the prop­erty. Grad­ual de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. Sig­nif­i­cant main­te­nance needed. The in­spec­tion is done vis­ually and is non-in­va­sive, mean­ing it can­not pick up prob­lems be­hind walls.

Who pays and how much does it cost?

The per­son who com­mis­sions the report pays for it.

It is im­por­tant that the in­spec­tor en­gaged by you or the ven­dor is in­de­pen­dent of both buyer and seller.

What gets checked?

A prop­erty in­spec­tion will in­spect the parts of the house which are rea­son­ably ac­ces­si­ble, as well as those ar­eas that you specif­i­cally re­quest.

The nor­mal in­spec­tion will cover:

In­te­rior ser­vices. Ex­te­rior – roof. Roof space. Sub­floor. Site po­ten­tial for flood­ing. Drainage. Site con­di­tions (re­tain­ing walls, trees, or slopes etc). Run-off from ad­ja­cent ground. Other build­ings such as the garage. Prop­erty in­spec­tions should in­clude a list of the ser­vices, and com­ment on their gen­eral con­di­tion. Stan­dards New Zealand has devel­oped a stan­dard for the in­spec­tion of res­i­den­tial prop­erty.

Con­tact SNZ for the new stan­dard.

What de­fects will the in­spec­tor look for?

Nails pop­ping. Dam­aged sur­faces. Crack­ing. Damp­ness and damp dam­age. Leaks. Squeaky boards. Rot. In­sect in­fes­ta­tion. Un­even sur­faces. Loose grout­ing, tiles and sealants. Stur­di­ness of stairs and hand rails. Glaz­ing.

They will also look at the op­er­a­tion of:

Me­ter box, lights and switches. Plumb­ing, for ex­am­ple, toi­let flush. Doors, draw­ers and join­ery. Me­chan­i­cal or pas­sive ven­ti­la­tion. Water out­lets. Heated towel rails. Heat­ing.

Resid­ual cur­rent de­vices and shaver sock­ets.

The me­ter box will give an in­di­ca­tion about whether the house has been rewired or not.

If the house you are look­ing at has the old style of me­ter box with old-type fuse fit­tings (eg. ce­ramic fuses), it might pay to have the wiring checked by an elec­tri­cian. Ask­ing for a spe­cial-pur­pose sur­vey Build­ing sur­veys won’t usu­ally in­clude any­thing that is con­cealed, such as the un­der­ground por­tions of the foun­da­tions, elec­tri­cal in­stal­la­tions, un­der­ground or con­cealed plumb­ing and drainage and gas fit­tings.

Nor will it usu­ally in­clude air­con­di­tion­ing and heat­ing units, pools and spas, fire­places and chim­neys, alarm sys­tems, soft fur­nish­ings and ap­pli­ances.

You can specif­i­cally re­quest an in­spec­tion of th­ese ar­eas and items.

You can also ask for com­ment on lo­cal­ity as­pects, for ex­am­ple:

Com­mon prop­erty ar­eas and ser­vices. Neigh­bours. Sun­light, pri­vacy, views. Noise and nui­sance from flight paths, rail­ways and busy traf­fic.

Soil tox­i­c­ity, lead in paints, the pres­ence of as­bestos, and other con­tam­i­nants. Se­cu­rity in the neigh­bour­hood. Swim­ming pool fence com­pli­ance. En­ergy ef­fi­ciency. Any is­sues about her­itage pro­tec­tion (you can re­search this your­self at the coun­cil).

If you don’t want to do the re­search at the lo­cal coun­cil you can ask the in­spec­tor to look into any pos­si­ble il­le­gal or unau­tho­rised build­ing work, such as work done with­out build­ing con­sent.

You can ask for a re­view of the plans to check sew­er­age and drainage in­for­ma­tion, and to see if the sec­tion had a proper sur­vey.

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