Why Do I Need a Building Report?

Posted: 7 November 2017

When you buy a home it is likely to be the single biggest investment which you make in your life time for most people. 

For that reason many buyers choose to have a condition inserted in the agreement for their own protection which allows them to obtain a building inspection report on the property they are buying. 

The cost of such a report can vary between $600-$900 in our experience but when you weigh that up against the purchase price it is in our opinion still a small outlay to ensure that you are not buying a home with serious matters relating to its structural integrity.

The purpose of such reports is not in our opinion to nit-pick over every loose screw or jamming door but, to highlight major items of concern which might see you want to choose not to buy the home or, allow you to ask the vendors to attend to remedial work before you do buy the home. 

The temptation for many buyers is to have a mate or an uncle who is a builder do the inspection for them to save money. There are good reasons why you should not go down this particular path and we will highlight those reasons in this article. 

The general terms of sale (the standard terms in the pre-printed form commonly used) state at clause 10.3 that "the report must be prepared in good faith by a suitably qualified building inspector in accordance with accepted principles and methods".

That same clause then goes on to say "if the purchaser avoids this agreement for non-fulfilment of this condition pursuant to sub clause 10.8 (5) the purchaser must provide the vendors immediately upon request with a copy of the building inspectors report.

So if you have had a friend or an uncle who happens to be a builder inspect the property for you to save money and you subsequently wish to cancel the agreement relying on the building inspection clause you may have problems because you will not have had the report completed following "accepted principles and methods" and more often than not there will be no written report to provide to the vendors on request. Even if there happens to be a report it will almost certainly not be prepared to the required exacting standard.

The easier choice in our opinion is to recognise the quite small cost of a building report in the context of a home purchase and to engage the services of one of the many qualified building inspection companies providing such services in Christchurch. In the long run it may save you money!

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Find out more about our Christchurch legal team. Kannangara Thomson provide up-to-date legal advice on everything from family law and wills to corporate and commercial law.

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