Consumer protection matters

Consumer Protection is a website run by New Zealand’s MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment). The purpose of the site is to help New Zealanders find out about their consumer rights, how to make good purchase decisions and how to handle issues if things go wrong.

NZ building inspections

mbie on building inspectionsOne of their articles red flags issues on pre-purchase building reports and explores just how important independent building reports are, particularly “when time is tight, or you’ve missed out on several homes”. The article also discusses just how important it is to choose an accredited building inspector to produce the report for you as opposed to “using an ex-builder mate”.

We thought we’d run through the main points of the article because on these issues, we couldn’t agree with the MBIE people more.

What is the point of a pre-purchase report?

A pre-purchase inspection— or building report — looks for signs of any problems. It’s up to you to follow up on any issues the report raises with the seller or seek more expert advice.

According to Consumer Protection, an independent pre-purchase inspection means you can:

  • Avoid expensive mistakes, such as discovering the house needs rewiring.
  • Have greater negotiating power on work that needs doing if it isn’t a deal breaker for you.
  • Prioritise your spending because you’ll know you may need to budget for a new roof before spending on the swanky new kitchen.

Get an independent building report

Some vendors provide a building report. However, Consumer Protection advise against relying on this. Why? Because the vendor is the client, not you. You’re unlikely to have any comeback if the report misses anything, whereas a buyer’s pre-purchase inspection may flag issues not listed in the vendor’s report.

What should a pre-purchase inspection cover?

Building inspectors look for signs of any problems, such as

  • borer
  • rot
  • damp
  • structural damage
  • drainage issues
  • dodgy wiring
  • faulty pipes.

They will take photos of problem areas and comment on them in the report. This includes signs of gradual deterioration as well as things that may be an issue now. A thorough building report will list everything that could be wrong with the property — from minor fixups to major work.

What do the reports mean?

MBIE reinforces that you shouldn’t be afraid to go back and ask what things mean, and we agree wholeheartedly.

Our building inspectors will always be available to explain their findings and our reports as free of technical jargon as we can possibly make them.

Use a qualified pre-purchase building surveyor

The advice from MBIE is to always choose a pre-purchase building inspector who can do a NZS 4306 pre-purchase inspection — the standard for NZ building inspections — and has up-to-date knowledge and skills.

They recommend using a building surveyor accredited by the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand, as we are.

Insurance saves

It is advised to always check for proof your chosen building surveyor has indemnity insurance, as we do at First Look Inspections. Our indemnity Insurance would protect you in the unlikely event we make a professional mistake or miss something during an inspection.

Recommended property surveyors

When you hire a pre-purchase building inspector or other expert, you’re protected by the Consumer Guarantees Act. The person who carries out NZ building inspections must:

  • do a professional job
  • give you the type of report you ask for
  • do it in a reasonable timeframe
  • charge a reasonable price.

We agree absolutely, and we wouldn’t be in business if we didn’t guarantee these things.

    building inspection checklist nz

    Time is of the essence

    We understand that in the current real estate market, you may very well be in in a rush to put in an offer on a property you like, and that it’s natural to want to hurry the inspection. Our building inspectors will try their absolute best to work in with your timeframes, but we will always take all the time required to carry out a thorough inspection.

    First Look Inspections is an independent, reliable property inspection team with vast experience in building and we work right across Auckland.

    Call 021 834 231 to book an inspection.