Interview with BPI Gold Coast North Building Inspector, Trent Thomas

 
Today, we talk to BPI Gold Coast North Owner, Director and Building and Pest Inspector Trent Thomas about his most commonly asked questions.

bpi gold coast

What does a building inspector check?

When we undertake a building and pest inspection we check everything from structural to cosmetic damage. So we’ll be checking in the roof space for any movement within your rafters or your trusses.

We’ll be checking for little things like sealant around your shower bases. We’ll be checking for leaks in taps. Also, external damage, be it cracking in your brick work or rotting in your fascias. We pretty much do everything we possibly can through a visual inspection, and we leave no stone unturned.

Is it a similar procedure between a brick or a timber house, a similar kind of process that you do?

Yeah. When we do undertake the building and pest inspection there’s definitely a process. We generally inspect the interior first, ensuring that all the walls are plumb. This will give us an indication of whether there was any subsidence or movement within the actual property itself and this happens with both brick and cladding homes.

From there we move externally and then into the roof space and then onto the roof exterior.

So, regardless of the material used to build a property, it’s the same process.

And what about apartments and units? Do people still need inspections on apartments? And, I guess the process is different?

It is a little bit different obviously because there is less area to inspect. If you’re a middle apartment you’re not really going to have a roof space or a site to inspect so we’ll come in and we’ll inspect the interior.

If there’s a roof cavity, we always check that out as well. And we’re also checking for things on the site like if there’s a garage associated with the property or we’ll be checking balconies and balustrades to ensure they comply and they’re up to the current standards.

It’s a little bit less but still, nonetheless, it’s essentially same process. Just a few areas that are missing.

And what do you say to people when they say: “Do I Need a Building and Pest Inspection?”

Look, we obviously say you don’t have to have one. But it is highly recommended for the time that it takes us to undertake the inspection we can identify some pretty significant issues.

It could very well save the person a lot of money or a lot heartache if they go and purchase this property and find out those issues later on. So, once again, it’s not compulsory but very highly recommended.

How long does the building inspection take and what affects do the time that it takes?

It varies on the size of the property. A general four bedroom, two bathroom home takes around an hour and a half. Things that can affect it is if we do find termites within the property or significant movement such as subsidence in the land itself.

Or deterioration in the piers or posts, then that’s caused the property or the actual structure to shift. They’re the sort of things that can cause it to take a bit longer. Or if the condition of the home is just extremely poor and there’s just a lot more things to note down. That can also take a bit more time.

But it is highly recommended for the time that it takes us to undertake the inspection we can identify some pretty significant issues and it could very well save the person a lot of money or a lot heartache if they go and purchase this property and find out those issues later on.

What, if I buy a property and I want a building and pest inspection. Who arranges it and how do people get access to the property?

So we are more than happy to organise access for the agent or the tenant or whomever the seller is. If the purchaser is looking to arrange access, simply because they know the times they’re available and they want to try to organise with the agent themselves,

I’m more than happy to do so. So it just comes down to the individual as to what they want to do basically.

Do people need both the building and pest inspections or is just the building sufficient?

Look, once again, as they are simply a recommendation but not compulsory, you don’t have to do both. It’s obviously advised to do them together.

For the small bit of extra cost and extra time that it takes us to undertake one or the other, we’re already at the property, you’re better off getting them both done to ensure that the property in which you’re purchasing is safe from termites and structurally sound.

Do I need thermal camera imaging? How does it work and what is it mainly used for?

Thermal imaging allows us to detect leaks within showers. So if all the waterproof membrane behind the tiles isn’t up to scratch and there’s some grout or something missing, we’ll pick that up.

If there’s a leaking tap behind the shower itself we can also pick that up. And we confirm that with the moisture metre. But it can also pick up termite nests within the property.

It can pick up horizontal damp within the property as well. So it’s a very useful bit of equipment and it just allows us that extra bit of confidence in reporting on the condition of the property. Gives the buyer confidence as well.

How long does it take to get the report after you do the inspection?

At the absolute maximum we’ll have the report back within 24 hours. Generally the report is returned in the same day. So, if you got an inspection at nine o’clock in the morning, we usually have it to you well before nine o’clock that night.

And does the report go into a lot of detail? Are there photos? Is it easy to understand?

The reports which we provide have heaps if photographic evidence. We basically break it down into different sections, whether it be ceilings, walls, interior, exterior, so it makes it very easy to read and understand.

We don’t use all the confusing terminology. We break it down so anyone can understand it. And if there is something within the report itself that somebody doesn’t understand, we invite them to give us a call. We’re more than happy to spend some time on the phone with them and go over any details on the report which we’ve found.

For the small bit of extra cost and extra time that it takes us to undertake one or the other, we’re already at the property, you’re better off getting them both done to ensure that the property in which you’re purchasing is safe from termites and structurally sound.

Do you go to the subfloor and the roof void and inspect in those areas?

Yes, so we inspect absolutely every single accessible area. And if it’s subfloor we’re in there. Obviously getting access is the main issue but we definitely inspect the subfloor, the roof void – everything.

And can people come around with you during the inspection?

Yes they can. We generally advise the buyer to come approximately 40 minutes into the inspection. That way we have a better idea of the property and we can go over any of the findings.

Then if they have any questions or concerns with regards to the property, they can show us around and point them out, which we, more than likely, would have already picked up. Or, if we hadn’t already inspected that area, would likely pick up. That’s sort of how we go about it. But yes they are more than welcome to come anytime they like.

If you do find defects, what’s the process of getting them rectified? Is it something that you organise?

We have a list of trades in which we can recommend. Basically we’ll give them a better understanding of the specifics and then we’ll recommend some people.

We actually recommend that the buyer find their own trades also to get quotes and leave it up to the professionals to do it. But we can give them a pretty good idea as to whether it’s a significant issue that they’re going to have to look into or it’s a minor thing that they can fix themselves.

What If I’m selling my property? Should I get a building and pest inspection in that situation?

It does save a bit of time. It allows you to know what’s already wrong with the property so people can’t come back and say to you “look, we found these issues with the property. We want to negotiate accordingly.”

Or they can’t come back and go “we want to get out of this contract because of this”. You’ve already given them the report and they already know what they’re getting themselves into. So, it is a good thing to do. But it’s obviously not essential.

A lot of the time the buyers like to get their own inspections so that they can see it as being a bit bias when the seller gets it themselves.