Building Inspections Perth & Cost Effective Pre Purchase Structural Inspection Reports

Structural Engineer Inspection Reports in Perth and the South West of Western Australia

A structural engineer inspection involves the visual assessment of accessible areas of a building to determine the structural adequacy of an existing structure and to identify major defects to the building or structure. We specialise in residential & commercial buildings, structural construction, inspections, diagnosis & repair, foundation damage, leaning, buckling, cracks in homes & walls, bowing and cracking, chimney inspections & safety concerns, causes and cures for rot, mould, & termites in buildings, sinkholes at building sites, stair and rail fall & trip hazards, & also special inspection methods for modular homes. The cost for an average inspection is several hundred dollars but the value in the information provided can far exceed the initial cost. 

Cost effective pre purchase structural building and pest inspection reports for Perth and the South West

A pre-purchase structural building inspection and report for residential buildings is conducted in accordance with the Australian Standard AS4349.1-2007. The inspection is visual in nature and does not involve destructive testing or dismantling. The cost of the inspection is minimal compared to the value it can provide to home buyers. The structural building inspection report is a written account of the property’s condition. It will include any significant building defects or problems such as rising damp, movement in the walls (cracking), safety hazards or a structural concerns in the roof space. It is usually carried out before settlement so that the buyer can identify problems which, if left unchecked, could prove costly to repair. In addition to a building inspection report, we are able to also provide certified structural engineering advice on how to rectify structural defects throughout.  For more information refer to our ultimate guide to pre-purchase structural building inspections for the Perth homebuyer.

The following are the top 5 defects that we encounter during pre-purchase building & structural inspections: 

  1. Cracking of various types in walls, ceilings and floors. While minor cracking will occur in a significant proportion of buildings, important parameters are the crack width, crack depth and deviation from verticality in the walls. These parameters require the expertise of an experienced structural engineer to ascertain the structural adequacy. 

  2. Retaining walls experiencing structural defects. Excessive deviation in verticality can constitute a major structural defect if it is outside of the tolerances stipulated in the National Construction Code (NCC).

  3. Roof interior defects, deficient fixings, inadequate or missing tie-downs, safety hazards & major structural defects. 

  4. Corrosion of lintels, columns, posts and other building elements. A difference in steel thickness from the original thickness that varies by 10% or more, is likely to adversely affect the structural adequacy of the structural elements and can compromise the main building.

  5. Drainage related problems in relation to down-pipes not being connected to soak-wells, paving grade directing water towards the building foundations and blocked sub-soil drainage systems. 

Home buyers must navigate a multitude of decisions during the buying process and this can be made more difficult when purchasing in a hot market. While a pre-purchase structural inspection report offers some protection in the event that safety hazards, major defects or structural defects are identified, there is often a range of maintenance activities which are not covered by the standard REIWA Offer and Acceptance Contract, or defects that are outside the scope covered by AS4349.1 Pre-purchase inspections – Residential buildings. Examples include fencing that requires replacement, corrosion in non-structural building elements, fretting clay tiles, repointing of tiled roofs and non-structural but difficult to reach wall cracking requiring scaffolding.

With older buildings, it is important to allow a certain amount of funding for yearly maintenance. We have found that neglecting maintenance in residential buildings has a compounding effect over time therefore it often requires a larger capital output than the initial preventative maintenance cost. Retaining walls in particular can be very expensive to rectify particularly if access for machinery is limited or if existing structures are present adjacent to the retaining wall.


Typical examples of defects we encounter during our pre-purchase inspections in Perth which may be difficult to spot during a home open, include corrosion at base of patio posts, cracking in external walls, significant leaning in masonry walls, trees in close proximity to building foundations, roof issues including a twisting roof strutting beam without lateral restraints and tiled roofs requiring restoration. In general, most of the defects can be rectified but this comes at an additional cost which should be factored in prior to making an offer on a property.

When it comes to pre-purchase structural and pest inspections, our key service advantages include: 

  • each structural inspection is performed by a Chartered Professional Engineer or a Registered Builder;

  • we are able to provide competent advice to remediate structural defects;

  • we can assess and certify unauthorised structures such as patios, sheds, retaining walls, home extensions and other residential ancillary structures; 

  • each pre-purchase timber pest inspection is performed by a qualified inspector;

  • we use the latest technology which includes moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras;

  • site data is efficiently collected onsite using custom made software, allowing reports to be automatically generated to ensure accuracy and a quick result.

Perth Sand Penetrometer soil compaction testing certificate Perth

Compaction testing is an essential check to ensure that a building or structure will perform adequately with minimal settlement and cracking. As chartered professional engineers, we can assist with compaction testing and provide a compaction test certificate with cost starting from $180. This applies to all locations within 30km of the Perth CBD.  Outside of this we prefer to quote on a case-by-case basis, as there may be a minor uplift for travel time. After a site visit has been conducted, we will provide the compaction test certificate within 12-24 hours.

Concrete panel and post retaining wall inspections and structural engineering certification

If you are looking for a cost effective retaining wall solution you may consider a concrete panel and post retaining wall. Locally manufactured posts and panels provide a range of colours, patterns, and textures to suit any architectural requirement. However, the posts are much more sensitive to surcharge loading and adequate compaction is required to prevent rotation of the footing and excessive leaning. Steel posts, typically 200UB18 sections can be used to retain up to 3.0m of soil. Concrete panel and post-style retaining walls are very poplar in the Perth Area and there several local manufacturers. Before construction, a structural engineer must confirm the suitability and design of retaining walls. If installed incorrectly it is common to see visible leaning which may indicate a serviceability failure or even early structural failure. Our structural engineers can assist with cost effective inspections and provide a report detailing the causes which are causing issues and possible solutions. We can also assist if required with architectural plans or drawings such as plan view of the proposed retaining wall including all dimensions of the proposed structure. Elevation view (1:100 scale) of the proposed retaining wall, heights of the proposed retaining wall, existing ground levels at the boundary and the proposed finished ground levels and specifically tailored for each Council & Building Permit Application.

Dilapidation inspections

The purpose of a dilapidation building inspection provides an accurate record of the condition of the existing surrounding buildings and structures. This building inspection is particularity useful if construction activities will be undertaken on the adjacent properties. A dilapidation survey will record the condition of a property by visual means only and provide a document which could be used as a basis of assessment should it be alleged that work on the construction site at has caused damage to an adjacent property. 

Forensic engineering & building inspection

This type of inspection involves failure analysis and the evaluation of structural issues with the purpose to ascertain the cause of the failure and determine options to remediate.

Pre purchase new building inspection

For newly built homes a building inspection report is complete at various stages and in particular at practical completion. The report details the main issues which you will need to get the builder/developer to fix up the certificates we recommend you ask for to verify the quality of the building work the little irritating things you need to be told about such as badly scratched glass, cracked tiles, sloppy workmanship. 

Cracking in house walls & floor structural engineering inspection Perth

If you are concerned about cracks in a house we can conduct a structural inspection to determine the cause of the cracking. There are many reasons that can result in cracking. The structural inspection will focus on the source of cracking.  Cracking in walls in a residential house can often depend on the soil conditions. Walls in a house may crack for various reasons and we can advise if the cracks are structural or non-structural as well as advice on house to rectify the cracks. The main aim of the structural engineering inspection is to assess the particular situation and provide specific guidance on repairs. 

Roof inspection -  attic conversion or removal of load bearing walls

If you decide to create additional storage space in your roof, we can conduct an inspection of the roof frame and advise how the existing structure can be modified. This usually involves a more detailed analysis of the overall building. A structural roof inspection is a critical check if load bearing walls are to be removed. This inspection will determine the best approach to ensure that the structural adequacy is not compromised. 

Site inspection and compaction testing using PSP

Before constructing a new structures such as a retaining wall, swimming pool, shed or pouring a slab or a foundation, achieving adequate compaction is very important. We can inspect the site preparation and verify the compaction with a Perth Sand Penetrometer (PSP) and issue a compaction test certificate within 24 hours. Compaction testing will be undertaken in accordance with AS1289 and PSP provides a reliable method for testing the compaction of soil for residential foundations.

Structural inspection and certification for unauthorised structure (for retrospective approval)

If a particular structure such as a patio, retaining wall or shed has been constructed without the necessary approval from your Perth Local Authority, we can inspect and determine the structural integrity of the structure and provide you with certified engineering documentation so that approval is granted by the Local Authority. If it is determined that remedial work is needed our experienced professional structural engineers can provide advice so that Local Authority requirements are satisfied. 

Retaining wall structural inspection report Perth Metro

If you have an existing retaining wall and you are planning alterations, extensions, new structures or you have concerns regarding the structural adequacy of the retaining wall we can undertake a structural inspection. We have extensive expertise in the design and failure analysis for all types of retaining wall including limestone retaining walls, concrete panel and post retaining walls, brick retaining walls and concrete cantilever retaining walls. Check out our blog article on Perth retaining wall inspection, design guidance, structural engineering details & construction.

Pre purchase timber pest inspection and report

The cost of a termite inspection in Perth is very small when compared to the significant damage that termites and other timber pests can produce. Therefore a termite inspection in accordance with AS4349.3 is very important if you are purchasing a home. We can assist with a pre purchase timber pest inspection report to ensure that the property is not infested by termites or other timber pests. All inspections are undertaken by a qualified inspector with pest control operator’s licence and registered in Western Australia. 

Other engineering inspections

Our building inspection Perth services include residential and commercial properties. Our experience span across various construction systems such as timber and steel framed houses, precast concrete, and modular timber framed houses. Some of the typical defects that we find include foundation cracks, retaining wall defects & failures, undermining issues during construction, cracks due to shrinkage or reactive soils. If you require a structural engineer inspection in Perth or the South West with requirements not described above, please contract us

Why choose RBC for your pre purchase structural building inspection in Perth?

  • Our structural inspections are conducted by registered builders or professional structural engineers

  • Professional indemnity insurance

  • Clear pre-purchase building inspection agreement listing inspection exclusions

  • Full inspection of safely accessible roof space

  • Specialist advice regarding retaining wall structural adequacy and assessment of cracking in wall and floors

  • Time on site 2 to 3 hours

  • Report turnaround within 24 hours

  • Moisture meter as standard equipment

  • Thermal imaging available

  • Urgent service and attendance available

  • Members of the Institute of Engineers Australia

  • Ability to assist with future engineering details, approvals, renovations, Q&A and troubleshooting

  • Booking online via our website 24 hours 7 days 

  • Site data is efficiently collected onsite using custom made software, allowing reports to be automatically generated using our in-house technology to ensure accuracy and a quick result

  • Independent building inspector for Perth and the South West who can assist home buyers and property owners with renovation advice, home inspection services, building inspections in Perth and the South West, structural engineer advice and cost effective structural pre-purchase home inspections.

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