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The ultimate guide to pre purchase structural building & pest inspections for the Perth home buyer

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

Are you looking for a professional pre purchase structural, building and timber pest inspection in Perth? If you are a home buyer or a real estate investor in Perth it is important to consider a pre purchase structural and pest inspection. In this article, we will provide some very useful information that may be beneficial in purchasing a home or an investment property. A pre purchase building inspection report is a very useful check that where a professional building inspector provide a report in relation to the structural condition of a home.

How much does a building or structural inspection cost in Perth WA?

Basic Pre purchase Structural inspection and report

from $395

*based on 3 bedroom property on concrete slab within 20km north of Perth CBD

​Comprehensive pre purchase building inspection report and timber pest inspection

from $495

*based on 3 bedroom property on concrete slab within 20km north of Perth CBD

​Structural inspection (retaining wall, cracking in walls etc)

from $495

*based on 3 bedroom property on concrete slab within 20km north of Perth CBD

We hope that this article provides more clarity regarding some of the important considerations in addition to a pre purchase structural inspection. So, if you are considering purchasing real estate in Perth, here are some important tips:

If possible, a pre purchase building inspection report should be obtained before making an offer to purchase a home. It is however very important that the contract that you will sign to purchase the home states contains an appropriate annexure or special condition with a meaning similar to the following: "in the event that building inspection report uncovers major defects as defined in the Australian Standard 4349.1, the seller should be given the opportunity to rectify the defects and make good within a clear and reasonable time frame. In the event that the seller in unable to undertake the remediation work, the buyer should have the choice of terminating the contract (which should be done in writing)."

A quality pre purchase building inspection should focus around a comprehensive overview of the main building and related structures. The building inspection should always include an examination of the following features: the interior of the building, the roof space, the exterior of the building, the sub-floor space (if applicable), the roof exterior and ancillary structures such as sheds, carports, fences.

Consider if you need a structural engineer to inspect or certify remediation work

If you are purchasing a home with the aim of carrying out renovations, a structural engineer can play a key role in your home renovation project and property purchase. While a Perth structural engineer such as Rotaru Building Consultants can assist with your pre purchase structural building inspection report, if a structural issue(s) is found during our inspection, we can provide cost effective engineering advice.

Should you plan on building an extension, removing load bearing walls, adding a swimming pool, carport, shed, retaining wall etc, you will require certified structural engineering drawings for your Council submission. Knowing the extent of the engineering requirements early on may assist with your budget and schedule so that you can plan the renovation work and enjoy your new home as early as possible. A structural engineer can also provide guidance in relation to the protection of services or measures to ensure safe excavation.

How much does a structural engineer cost in Perth Australia?

A structural engineer in Perth with provide a quotation that is based on the number of hours which are required to complete the structural inspection or engineering certification. The typically range is from $150 to $250 per hour. Expect to pay between $495 for a basic structural inspection and report but for complex projects, a quotation is provided which is project specific.

It is advised that you discuss with your settlement agent or property lawyer and fully understand what title insurance is and how it could protect you based on your specific purchase.

If the property that you are about to purchase contains auxiliary structures such as a carport, swimming pool, retaining walls, screen walls, patio and sheds you should contact the local council or shire to check if these structures have been approved. If you are purchasing a home, obtaining copies of the site plan and existing architectural & structural drawings is a prudent step particularly if you are considering alterations or renovations at some point in the future. For more information, check out our article on Retrospective approvals for unauthorised building works.

It is very important to verify with the Seller that the property is free of easements or caveats. Reviewing the property title is a good initial check. If there are easements or caveats ensure that you obtain the referenced documents and that you understand very clearly if any limitations apply. For example, the presence of Water Corporation assets such as a storm-water pipe or a main sewer on the property may affect the future construction of structures such as the location of a new house, shed, garage, carport, swimming pool, or a retaining wall.

Spotting on floors and walls, or loose carpets and tiles can be an indication of water ingress. Cracks in the walls can be structural or non-structural. We have previously written an article on this topic titled Structural and non-structural cracks you might find in Perth -a home building inspection perspective which the reader may find very informative. Our understanding is that builders in Western Australia must provide a minimum of 6 years structural warranty. If you are purchasing a home older than 6 years, reliance upon a quality pre purchase building inspection report will be of a somewhat greater benefit.

In Western Australia, if you are buying a home that was constructed before 1990 and you plan on undertaking renovations, it is prudent that you ask that asbestos containing products be assessed as part of the pre purchase building inspection report. This relatively inexpensive check might influence your buying decision and especially your renovation budget if asbestos containing materials are to be removed. For more information, read our article on Buying a renovation project?

The following are some additional tips to be aware of:

  • In older houses, it is recommended to check if windows can be opened and closed without difficulty;

  • Ensure that there aren't any gaps or missing waterproofing in the tiles;

  • Check the outside areas of the building and examine what maintenance and improvements have been done by the previous owners;

  • If possible, check that there is enough water pressure with each hot and cold taps, and that the drainage is adequate;

  • Confirm if the property has a sewer connection or septic tanks. Verifying the sewer connection can be done by visiting mywater and doing a quick property search;

  • Confirm that all additional structures such as retaining walls, screen walls, patios, carports and sheds have been certified by a structural engineer and approved by the local council;

With older homes, you should expect more yearly maintenance and a good rule is to set aside 1 percent of the value of the home to spend on maintenance every year. For example, if the home is valued at around $500,000 you should allocate on average $5,000 on maintenance per year.

After your pre purchase structural building and pest inspection is completed in Perth (and throughout WA) the buyer is entitled to a pre-settlement inspection. This typically occurs within 5 business days of when you take formal possession of the home. This final inspection allows you, the buyer, to inspect the property during to ensure that the condition of the property is very much the same as when the property was originally inspected prior to the offer being made.

During the pre-settlement inspection it may be found that appliances are not working. If a fixed appliance such as a heater, air-conditioning, range hood or similar isn’t working at the inspection, it is best to discuss with the agent to request it get fixed.

As a final note, ensure that before engaging a building inspector for your pre-purchase building inspection that you have reviewed the inspection agreement. This document is usually supplied with the quote and before the building inspector conducts the pre purchase structural building inspection and it should state very clearly the purpose, scope, acceptance criteria and a clear list of any exclusions which will not be included in the inspection and/or report.

At Rotaru Building Consultants Perth, we are proud to offer exceptional structural engineering services including certified drawings and details for residential structures. Our expertise enables us to offer more than your standard pre-purchase structural inspection service.

If you have any questions about your planned pre purchase structural building and pest inspection in Perth, get in touch with us to discuss your requirements and to obtain a free quote (blog image courtesy of Pinterest).

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Rotaru Building Consultants

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