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Australian Building Inspection Services (ABIS)
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Australian Building Inspection Services (ABIS)'s posts

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Buying a high rise unit? New, off the plan or established? YES you do need a Building Inspection.

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Frequently asked questions about building inspections

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Looking for a Building and Pest Inspection Report in South East Queensland? Australian Building Inspection Services (ABIS) covers the Greater Brisbane area, the Gold Coast region, Ipswich, Redcliffe Peninsula and the Caboolture region. Our building inspectors are among the best inspectors in the Brisbane area and we provide comprehensive reports after conducting your inspection.

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What Makes a Good Building and Pest Inspection Report?

Nowadays a Building and Pest Inspection has become almost a prerequisite to buying a home. This is wise considering the enormity of your financial decision.  That's why a detailed, independent Building and Pest Inspection Report is an important information tool to assist you in your decision making. But what separates a good report from a mediocre one?

For a start, your Building and Pest Inspection and Report should be conducted according to Australian Standards AS 4349.1 and AS 4349.3. In keeping with these, a Building and Pest Inspection is a visual-only inspection with limited tests including probing and tapping of the property's readily accessible and unobstructed areas only, to detect timber pest activity and damage, structural damage, conditions conducive, which if not rectified may result in timber pest and structural damage, any major defects to the condition of secondary and finishing elements, collective minor defects and any serious safety hazard noticed by the inspector at the time of inspection.

Your report may mention the property's overall quality of construction & maintenance, however it will not include an extensive itemisation of maintenance, decorative and finishing items, but may address these minor items generally or collectively. Rather, the emphasis, from a Building Inspector's point of view, will be upon more significant structural and timber pest issues, together with conditions conducive. As an alert to your solicitor for necessary searches, your report may note whether additions, extensions and improvements have been undertaken. Compliance problems may be alerted, but only for further investigation by an appropriately qualified certifier, because a Building and Pest Inspection is not a compliance audit. Serious safety issues may also be highlighted, although a Building and Pest Inspection is not a safety audit.

Because Building and Pest Inspections are visual-only with limited testing, they are not intrusive. Despite best efforts, a Building Inspector will only be able to inspect areas that they can actually access and see – perhaps providing an opportunity for vendors to occasionally hide issues. For this reason, a good report will clearly set out the inspections' scope and terms and conditions within your report so that you clearly understand the context of your report's findings. Areas that were inspected within the property, inaccessible and obstructed areas that were not inspected, and obstructions should all be set out along with the inspector's rating of the building's susceptibility to timber pests at the time of inspection, the rating of the building's risk of undetected timber pest activity and damage at the time of inspection, the rating of the building's risk of undetected structural damage at the time of inspection and how these ratings were derived. 

A good report should then take you step by step through the property to address safety hazards, and significant defects (and less so, minor items) where each defect should be clearly described with its location, it's extent whether localised or widespread, with an accompanying picture and recommendations including which professional should be consulted for further advice, and in what timeframe. 

A good report should be set out in an orderly, easy to read fashion, with supporting photographs and lots of assisting information. The clearer and more methodical the layout of the Reports, the easier it will be for you to understand its content and read it in its entirety. The more comprehensive, the more information you have to help you make your decision. It's always a good idea to examine a sample report to see what you'll be getting for your fee. Most reputable inspection companies should include these on their website for you to peruse. View our example Building & Pest Inspection Reports.

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Tips for Preparing your House for a Building Inspection

Is your house ready to be sold?

Deciding to sell your house and getting it ready to be sold can be a stressful and emotional experience. Your real estate agent can give you advice about the appearance of your home and what makes it appealing in your particular area to potential buyers. There are also many blogs and books that give great tips including:

http://www.wikihow.com/Sell-Your-Own-House
http://sellingguide.realestate.com.au/
http://reia.asn.au/consumers/selling-a-property/
Listening to the advice of a professional can make all the difference on getting that bit extra. You want your house to be beautifully presented to maximise the marketability. When selling a car you want it to look as clean as possible, along with its service records. The same goes when selling property, only you don’t have a service record book, which is why a building inspection report is a good idea.

There are a few touches you can make to your house that can make all the difference, such as ensuring the inside receives a splash of new paint as well as new carpet or a carpet clean. The other parts of the house that buyers don’t see also need to be prepared and up to scratch to pass the building and pest inspection. These areas include:

under the house
in the roof space
on the roof
inside walls
storage areas
outbuildings: storage sheds or garage
These areas are all important and need to be considered even if they may not be visable during open houses.

For people looking to sell their home it’s a good idea to obtain a building and pest report prior to selling as this can be a useful marketing tool to potential buyers as well as benefiting the seller. Through obtaining a building and pest report it can make it quicker and easier for potential buyers to make an offer. It also provides both parties with a safety net as they already know they won’t find anything technically wrong with the house that could jeopardise the selling process.

You can choose to wait for a potential buyer to request a building and pest inspection, however, it is vital to have your house ready for the arrival of a building inspector.

Checklist:

Sub-Floors

Allow easy access to sub-floor areas and make sure they are unlocked and clear from obstacles.
Remove debris from under your house for easy inspection of foundation and drainage.
If the inspector cannot access these areas, it will be noted on the report.
Furniture

Ensure the house is uncluttered making it easier for the inspector to look at walls and floors. The inspector is not permitted to move furnishing or floor covering due to risk of damaging items.
Allow access to inspect condition of internal flooring especially wooden floors.
Internal roof space

Allow access to roof.
Remove any items stored in the roof.
External roof  

Access by a 3.6 metre ladder needs to be made possible. If the property is two storeys high, access may be possible from a second storey balcony.
If a roof is unsafe to be accessed, it may affect the quality of the report.    
Book your building inspection today through our qualified building and pest specialists here at ABIS, servicing areas from Brisbane right through to the Gold Coast and learn what will get checked in your house when a building inspection is done.

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Home Inspections and Caveat Emptor. What's the Connection?

You've probably heard of the Latin term Caveat Emptor or "buyer beware"... but what exactly does it mean and how does it affect you?

According to Cornell University Law School, it’s “a doctrine that often places on buyers the burden to reasonably examine property before purchase and take responsibility for its condition, especially applicable to items that are not covered under a strict warranty.” It has been consistently applied in the property industry right across Australia.

Ultimately, because the responsibility of your property decisions is yours, caveat emptor is not to be taken lightly. However, there may be exemptions to caveat emptor e.g. where the vendor, or agent acting on their behalf has acted in a misleading or false manner. According to the International Bar Association and J. Duke of Property Observer, this includes "express or implied statements that created a false impression about a property’s characteristics, a vendor knowingly disguising or concealing a physical defect in order to mislead and where a known latent defect, flaw, fault or imperfection is not readily observable or discoverable through the exercise of ordinary care. In these situations, a buyer may be able to seek a refund of their deposit and to rescind the contract of sale".

According to the Commercial and Property Law Research Centre at the Queensland University of Technology, under this common law, "a seller is only obliged to disclose latent defects in the seller's title (e.g. interests registered on the title such as encumbrances, leases and easements). But is not obliged to disclose defects in the quality of the title (such as land restrictions or contamination issues). Nor is the seller obliged to provide a warranty as to the fitness of their property for the purpose for which it was purchased".

This means that, as a purchaser, you must make your own investigations of the property you are considering buying to detect any building defects before settlement because there may be little recourse for compensation for defects discovered after your purchase. And you could end up with a property worth less than you paid for it.

That's why having a building and pest inspection conducted is critical in assisting you to make a sensible assessment of the risks associated with the most significant purchase of your life. Ultimately, your property decision and risk responsibility is yours alone. As this is for your information only and does not constitute legal advice, before signing any contract you are always advised to consult your solicitor.

abis.com.au/online-enquiry-building-pest-inspection

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Arrange a Building Inspection in the Greater Brisbane, South East Queensland Area

http://abis.com.au/online-enquiry-building-pest-inspection

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View our Building Inspection Queensland service areas.

www.abis.com.au

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Will You Print Your New Home in the Future?

The race is on to build 3D printed houses a breakthrough, which will have significant consequences for housing affordability, customisation and the environment.

Already, a Chinese company, WinSun claims to have printed 10 houses in 24 hours for just $US5,000 ($AU6,494) each, using a 3D printer that applies a mixture of ground construction and industrial waste, around a base of quick-drying cement mixed with a special hardening agent. Using a CAD template, large pieces fabricated at the WinSun facility are then assembled on-site, complete with steel reinforcements and insulation to comply with building standards. 

WinSun has further demonstrated the success of its technology with a five-storey apartment building and a 1,100 square metre (11,840 square foot) villa, costing about $US161,000 ($AU209,111) and on display at Suzhou Industrial Park.

According to Michelle Starr of Tech Culture, WinSun argue that their process saves between 30 and 60 percent of construction waste, and can decrease production times by between 50 and 70 percent, and labour costs by between 50 and 80 percent meaning a substantial reduction in build costs and ultimately, increased housing affordability. Using recycled materials in this way, should also translate into more environmentally responsible construction.

In Amsterdam, a team of architects led by Hedwig Heinsmand, has also started construction of a 3D Print Canal House, using bio-based, renewable materials. However, Adam Estes of Gizmodo says that Branch Technology, of Tennessee have gone one better. Unlike the Amsterdam project which will take 3 years to complete, and the Chinese houses which were basic in design, the Branch model emphasises both speed and design, yielding beautiful but realistic structures in a little less time than a normal construction process. 

To do this, they claim to have built the world’s largest 3D printer to create walls of any shape out of conventional construction materials so that architects will have more freedom to incorporate new geometries into their designs. Walls are printed to form a simple lightweight scaffolding onto which denser materials are added, increasing the strength of the overall structure. “When geometry is not an issue, you can do almost anything,” argues Branch CEO, Platt Boyd. Branch hopes to expand internationally and with architects producing a design library which Branch can pull from, they aim to turn design into a structure with just a few keystrokes. 

Dr Hank Haeusler, senior architecture lecturer at the University of NSW thinks that Australians could be living in 3D printed houses in 5 to 10 years with the technology now available to make this a reality. Dr Haeusler said that once the cost of hiring builders reached a “tipping point”, 3D printing would become a more attractive alternative. However “at the moment it wouldn’t make a contribution to affordable housing because technology has not got to the stage yet where it could be used for mass commercial production.
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