Building Inspectors Risk Litigation Due to Inadequate Training 10

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Monday, September 7th, 2015
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In 2009, the building inspection industry took a backward step because of a law that quietly deregulated the industry in NSW.

This change allowed almost anyone without an adequate understanding of the laws and regulations to start a building inspection business. For the property owner, who may not be aware of this fact, it left them open to financial loss if an inspector missed defects of a property due to lack of knowledge.

Under AS:4349.0-2007 & AS:4349.1-2007 & AS:4349.3-2010 there is currently no Australian Standard requirement for a pre-purchase pest and/or building inspector to have professional indemnity (PI) insurance in place, furthering the risk to the property owner.

Building inspectors must be able to comply with the Standards of the industry including:

  • Australian Standards for building inspectors
  • Spotting defects
  • Report writing
  • Contracts and fee agreements
  • Avoiding disputes

The AS 4349 Series is the workbook that every building inspector should have on them at all times, as failure to comply with the guidelines set out in these standards can result in severe legal penalties. If defects are not noticed, this could mean depreciation in the value of the property owner’s home and cause the owner to enter into litigation with the building inspector.

Correct report writing is another aspect of training for building inspectors, which helps them to understand how to create reports, file them according to the Australian Standards and collate all evidence, including photos and diagrams. Likewise, if the building inspection business employs staff that write reports, they too will need a thorough understanding of the laws.

The risk of litigation is high in property inspections, as the industry centres on the greatest investment that a person can make – the home. When things go wrong, it is the inspectors – those who give the green or red light for a property – who are often in the line of fire.

It’s incredible to think that an industry so full of risk is not regulated.

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10
  1. Barry Mills

    An egregious blunder on the part of the state government – why in the hell would anyway want to deregulate a field as vital to the safety of built assets as inspection?

    • Howard Ryan

      Barry, I have tried to get this message across to both sides of Government since 2009. They don't care mate so I have taken it upon myself to let the general public know about the pitfalls in engaging unqualified property inspectors. Howard Ryan

  2. Bob Massie

    From the viewpoint of any prospective home-buyer or owner, the idea of there being no mechanism to guarantee that those who inspect their buildings have the knowledge, skills and experience to do so thoroughly and properly is beyond belief.

    A proper certification scheme is needed and should be instituted as an immediate priority.

    • Howard Ryan

      Bob, Exactly mate. To have a car inspected prior to its purchase it must be done by a qualified mechanic but to have a house inspected a TAXI Driver can inspect it…..go figure! Howard Ryan

  3. Charles Litho

    If I was building a brick veneer house today and I wanted to allocate the money to get the best result, I would not be spending it on the Inspector. In the past a Master Carpenter working on a job would call for an inspection, would have the Inspector call out from the car, is everything OK and drive on. The Master Carpenters used by owner builders would even watch the concrete pour, and, make sure the levels were correct. The setout was done right, the base bricks were right, the frame was right and everything else would follow in the right way.
    Ten thousands inpections could not undo bad workmanship.
    We need to recognise skill levels in our trades and pay for it. We need as a society to show respect for every person doing his job very well. The work done by a skilled person glows as you walk past it forever.
    We need to cheer the real hero's of our society, not the people who roll balls on the ground or screech like mad cockatoos. The treasures of our nation are not used to motivate people to improve and take great joy in doing the job right. We are taking away from people and ourselves when we do not recognise them.

    • Howard Ryan

      Charles,
      I understand how you feel mate but I don't agree what you are thinking, should you not be understanding a process of construction then it would be prudent of you to engage an expert once you have researched their integrity.

  4. Anne Paten

    Howard, in Victoria we do have regulations and no-one is supposed to work as a 'Building Inspector' unless qualified and registered. This is the law under the Building Act 1993. However, the Building Act not enforced and thus it is breached by many hundreds who act 'Inspectors', inspecting houses and taking many millions of dollars illegally from owners every years. The Building Commission refused to prosecute anyone in its 20 years – this issue raised in the media frequently from 2002 onwards. I have raised this issue with the 'new' VBA formally in writing on several occasions this year – same reaction – outright refusal to enforce the law.

    So we have imposters, pretending to be something they are not, breaking the law and literally stealing from owners year after year. Many have had no work in the building industry, much less do they have any qualifications, skills or knowledge of anything 'building'. This is the Vic and Ozzie building way! Laws and regulations are ignored, no penalties in this lawless industry. So owners are at perilous risk of losing their life savings and their lives. All Government approved! Reason? No-one cares about people – only business – at any cost!

    • Howard Ryan

      Anne,
      This is only in relation to certification and not Pre-Purchase Property Inspections. The VBA is very vague as to their description of a property inspector. Howard Ryan

  5. mark whitby

    Howard,

    Do you mean building consultants and not building inspectors?

    Mark

    • Howard Ryan

      Mark, good point mate, it actually applies to both. Howard Ryan