FAQs

Its such a small price to pay

A pre purchase building inspection from a qualified, experienced building inspector can mean the difference between peace of mind and being left out of pocket. 

How is a building report useful to me?

Building inspectors do not have a vested interest in whether you buy the property or not. Unlike a report from a real estate agent, a pre-purchase report from First Look Inspections is not focused on selling you anything, merely on providing qualified information.

Will my bank require a building report?

If you’re buying a property, you don’t have to get a building inspection from a qualified inspector, but you when it comes to finance from your bank, you really should.

The property pre-purchase inspection industry in New Zealand is not regulated. However, the Real Estate Authority (REA) recommends using a qualified building inspector who has professional indemnity insurance, understands the strict legal requirements of their role and carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standard, and many banks may insist you also do so.

No longer ticking the box

Many banks are no longer accepting reports from builders and non-professional companies, or reports that use only tick boxes and lack  costings for repairs. They will often ask for a comprehensive report so both you and the bank understand the total financial commitment to the property and its upkeep. They may also require that your inspector undertakes not just a review of the building but also LIM and Title and be able to determine land and environmental risks of the property, as well as the risk of any un-consented works. 

Whether they offer finance against that property or not is at the bank’s discretion. If they don’t see the property as being a healthy investment, then you may not get the finance you need.

Information can mean pre-approval

When you have a house in mind to buy, the bank will want to know details about the condition and some banks may not give pre-approval for houses that may have:

  • Roof issues (rust, significant leaking etc)
  • Old wiring and electrical board 
  • Dux Quest plumbing 
  • Foundations issues such as old totara poles
  • High risk cladding types, such as cladding on a cavity system.

A good pre-purchase building inspection will quickly unearth any of these issues.

What does a building inspection involve?

Our building surveyor will visit the property and conduct a thorough inspection, including non-intrusive moisture testing, inspection of cladding, a check of structural integrity, sub-floor construction, roofing, water pressure, plumbing, fencing, driveways, paths and electrical. You will then get a detailed report with images that clearly outline our findings.

What is a Pre-purchase Report?

Following a comprehensive investigation, a pre-purchase report is a detailed report, written to NZS 4306:2005, includes a council file search, and covers all aspects of the structural integrity of the dwelling.

What is the standard NZS4306?

It provides a general scope of what a residential pre-purchase inspection should cover, reporting outlines, competency requirements and contract requirements.

Do you pass or fail a home?

Pre-purchase inspections will not give you a “pass or fail” for a building. It is not the job of our Auckland building inspectors to have an opinion or advise on whether you should buy the property or sell yours as it is. The job of an accredited building surveyor is to describe the condition of the dwelling honestly and discreetly; how well it has been maintained and highlight any items needing immediate repair or work in the future.

What happens if problems are found during the inspection?

If problems are discovered during inspections, it is not our job to advise on whether you go ahead with the purchase, nor is the vendor required to repair any problems that our property inspector finds. As the buyer, you can negotiate for the repairs to be made before you buy, or simply walk away. If you still want to purchase the house but are unable to get the financial lender to approve the loan until the repairs are made, you may have to make the repairs at your own expense.

Why do I need a qualified building inspector?

Only a building surveyor has the qualifications and skill sets to fully understand the wide range of building code requirements relevant to a particular building. 

Many people believe they have the expertise and building knowledge to comprehensively report on a building’s condition. However, an accredited building surveyor has undertaken a commitment to gain the appropriate qualifications, skill and knowledge; they are dedicated to quality building surveying practices, ensuring consumers are provided the best quality of service.

An accredited building surveyor is certified through training, assessment and peer review, and in New Zealand all BOINZ property surveyors are required to undertake continual professional development courses to maintain their annual accreditation. The accredited building surveyor programme benefits not only the potential purchasers, but provides confidence to the real estate, insurance and banking sectors in relation to the status of a building.

The property pre-purchase inspection industry In New Zealand is not regulated. There is no official requirement for inspectors to have any kind of qualification. 

Your best safeguard is to choose a qualified building inspector who has professional indemnity insurance, understands the strict legal requirements of their role, and carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standard.

What qualifications should a building inspector have?

A building inspector should:

  • Be a fully a qualified building surveyor. 
  • Have a building or engineering background and be qualified in that field
  • Have a proven record for carrying out building inspections
  • Carry full professional indemnity insurance
  • Be completely independent and impartial
  • Write reports that are compliant with the NZ standard – NZS4306:2005
  • Be committed to regular up-skilling.

Why use a moisture meter?

Any indication of a moisture problem can be checked with our electronic non-invasive moisture meter. Moisture testing equipment can take readings up to 50mm into the surface to determine any moisture around external doors, windows and the exterior of showers. Additionally, we will always check the common problem areas, such as joinery, lintels, sub-flooring and all external walls. If excessive readings are measured, invasive inspections may be recommended.

Are all pre purchase building inspections the same?

No, so being careful who you call is important. A misleading report or poorly carried out inspection could leave you mis-informed and out of pocket.

Building inspections that fail to pick up serious problems can be catastrophic for home buyers, which is why the Wellington High Court awarded damages of over $200,000 to homeowners who purchased a leaky home. Based on a recommendation from a real estate agent, they had purchased a poor-quality inspection report from a non-licenced building practitioner and unwittingly made their unfortunate purchase.

Auckland building inspectors you can be sure of

Buying a property can be one of the biggest decisions you make so make sure you contact qualified building surveyors and don’t end up with lots of hidden problems. We’re qualified Auckland building inspectors and at First Look Inspections we take the time to look at every detail to ensure that nothing is missed before providing a comprehensive, easy-to-read building report: a completely accurate representation of the property.

north shore building inspectors

Our job at First Look Inspections is to unearth building issues before they become yours.

First Look

We have Professional Indemnity, General & Statutory Insurance underwritten by Crombrie Lockwood.