FAQ : Home and Building Inspections


Some Common Questions We Get Asked:

What do you look for?

There is over 1000 potential defects we need to look for and assess before we finish – this is because of our building inspection software program. SafeHome’s qualified building and pest inspectors carry out the inspection as per the Australian Standards – Major Defects, Minor Defects and Safety Hazards are assessed and included in the report with photographs. It is important for our client to know what sort of money is required to rectify any problems, then they can make an informed decision before deciding to buy.

Our house inspection service in Melbourne covers the sub floor carefully for any visible evidence of cracked slabs, deteriorated stumps, rot and leaking in flooring frames and sub floor, termites in flooring frames and differential settlement in the walls of the home. We also carefully inspect the roofing frame for any major detachment of the framing members, insulation problems over light fittings (fire hazard), borer damage and termite infestation.

We will also inspect all walls, ceilings, internal floor levels, binding doors and windows which may indicate footings problems. We will inspect for timber fungal decay (rot), water hammer or pipe knock, leaking pipes, poor drainage, rusted gutters and down pipes, poor roof flashing, brick cracking and fences.

Do You Inspect Maintenance-type Issues During Your House Inspection?

Lack of maintenance works is the main reason why things can go wrong at a home. Lack of Maintenace eventually results in more defects, thus more money. Maintaining gutters, down pipes, drainage, painting of exposed timber, regular wet area checks for leaks, sub floor inspections of pipes and under wet areas are things that are essential in reducing repair costs. We inspect these areas and report on them in detail, including photographs.

Do We Really Need A Termite Inspection?

Personally, I believe it is essential. Some building inspectors will say that 1 in 3 homes has termites but my experience is that about 1 in 8 will either have past termite damage or live termites – still not good odds. We have seen the damage that termites can do which can reach in excess of $50,000 damage if undetected. A relatively small fee for a pest inspection is worth it when comparing the fee to the cost of the damage they can cause.

We use expensive non invasive instruments to try to locate termite workings, termite damage and termite infestation. The Termatrac T3i is our latest and most expensive instrument with the latest technology which can find termites moving behind walls. We also use a Tramex moisture meter to locate high moisture readings on walls which can indicate a termite infestation.

Why Should We Use Safehome?

We are qualified Building Inspectors recognised by the Building Authority and only one of three pre-purchase house inspection companies in Melbourne who are actually qualified building inspectors. We are not only trained and knowledgeable but be we are experienced have been doing inspections since 2004.

We are able to assist all our clients up until 10.30 p.m. after the inspection so that you are fully aware of the problems.

We are members of the highly regarded and reputable Master Builders Association of Victoria. SafeHome Building Inspections is highly regarded and regularly engaged by prominent Melbourne Buyers Advocacy and consultants which is testament to our high standard of customer service, ethics and professionalism.

Do You Source Out Your Work To Other Contractors With No Interest In Your Company?

You, the client will liaise directly with the inspector as this is our policy. We do not source out any of our inspections to others not directly involved with this company. We do not source out our reports. This means you will have the two building inspectors conducting the inspections, speaking with you on the phone, typing up the house inspection reports, forwarding the house inspection report and photographs to you directly and then talking to you until 10.30 p.m. after the building inspection. We have a vested interest in conducting a very thorough house inspection as our reputation is as important to us as is the house we are inspecting important to you.

We organise the inspection times with the relevant real estate agent to save you time.

Are You Considering Building or Renovating?

We can give advice on this. Any Building works over $12,000 – The builder must be covered by an insurance policy as required under section 135 of the Building Act 1993. It is an offence not to have the insurance and to falsely claim they have.

Builders Warranty Insurance now only covers home owners for defects and incomplete work in cases where the builder has died, is insolvent or has disappeared. In all other cases it is the responsibility of the builder to fix defects or finish incomplete work.

Building Advice and Conciliation Victoria (BACV) was set up to help homeowners and builders work together to resolve building disputes.

Builders must be registered with the Building Practitioners Board for most work over $5000.

Do I Need A Permit To Build This?

The requirements for a permit can be found in Schedule 8 of the Building Regulations 2006 and your local council can also assist. A lot of structures or buildings now require permits to construct and if you do not obtain a permit the council can serve a notice on you as to why the structure should remain. Ultimately you should ask the council before building anything so as not to cost you money getting structures to comply with current Regulations and the Building Code. Garages, carports, fences, pergolas, decks may all require permits depending on area, height, proximity to boundary. Other permit issues are knocking out load bearing walls and opening out window openings, demolition, sheds, swimming pools, re-stumping.

What Does Safehome Inspections Actually Inspect?

We inspect for the following:

We inspect Major structural defects like wall cracking, stump decay or potential underpinning works, carport post rot, balcony rot, decking frame rot, poor or inadequate footing construction.

We inspect for Major defects or defects that are likely to cause further problems if not fixed, like rising damp or leaking plumbing under the home, roof leaking and roof tile cracks. Down pipes not connected to storm water is another problem we often see during our house inspections Melbourne wide.

We inspect for Minor Defects and Maintenance issues like blocked gutters, paint deterioration, down pipe rust, rot in timber.

We look at Safety Hazards, like balcony or decking frame rot, loose wiring under the home, large dead tree branches, poor clearances between insulation and down light fittings.

Termite infestation, previous termite damage, conducive areas for termites to thrive that you need to rectify to keep them away.

Areas we inspect thoroughly are – the land around the home, trees too close to home, the garages and sheds, the boundary fences and gates, the site drainage, wall cracks, the external taps, weather board rot, the eaves, fascia rot, rising damp on walls, the stump footings, the floor and roof joists, the floor bearers, the down pipes, any dampness or plumbing leaks in the sub floor, the weep holes and vents, external and internal doors/windows for binding, the chimney, the gutters/roof tiles, the roof flashing, etc.

Inside the home we check your walls, windows, ceilings, doors, flooring levels, floor coverings, safety switch, type of electrical wiring, the roof frame, your insulation, the toilets, showers and baths, the sinks, the taps and the exhaust fans. Our reports have over 300 potential defects that we need to check.

Do We Need To Book A Time For The House Inspection With The Estate Agent?

NO. You don’t need to do anything. We will organise the entire inspection for you. You just need to sit back and relax. Safehome Inspections will contact the agent and organise the booking and we will keep you informed of our progress.

Are Your Inspectors Qualified To Carry Out Building and Pest Inspections?

Yes, we are qualified Building Inspectors having Diplomas in Building Surveying and Advanced Diplomas in Building Surveying. We are also Qualified Timber Pest Inspectors. We are also registered building inspectors with the highly regarded Master Builders Association of Victoria

Do Your Inspections Include Under The House and In The Roof?

Yes they do. The sub floor and a roof space inspection forms an integral part of the building inspection process and we endeavour to inspect in every accessible area.

Who Calls us When The Inspection Is Finished?

You will liaise directly with the Safehome Building Inspector who completed the building and pest inspection. He is the best person to talk to you and discuss the findings as he actually did the inspection for you. We need you to fully understand our building inspection findings – that is what you are paying us for.

When Will We Know The Results and When Do We Get Our Report?

You will know the result not long after we have completed the house inspection for you. We call you with a quick verbal “run-down” to minimise your anxiety and then we email the report to you on the same day. We can normally email the report to you by 5.30 p.m. the same day and in urgent cases, within 60 minutes of completing the inspection.

Is It true That All Building Inspection Reports Are Hard to Understand?

Our inspection reports have been voted the best in this industry. Our clients have always been very impressed by our report format because or it’s easy to digest and understand and of course, the photographs help enormously.

Tell Me About Your Inspection Report?

Safehome’s Building and Pest Inspection Reports can be 40 to 70 pages long. The building inspection report will include visible structural defects, major defects, minor defects and safety hazards. The report will tell actually you what the defect is, where the defect is located and what you will need to do to have it fixed. SafeHome inspection reports include Photographs of defects which are labelled to help you understand.

How Long Does It Take For You to Complete the Actual Building Inspection?

A while. Our building and pest inspection on a home that is in reasonably good condition with access under the home can take up to 2 and a half hours. Bigger homes can take 2 to 3 hours to carry out a full inspection.

Is Safehome Inspections insured?

Yes, Safehome Inspections is fully insured with professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance. We will email you, your solicitor or your conveyancer our Insurance Certificate of Currency upon request.