The Types of Inspections

Building Inspection Types

Many Types of Building Inspections

In Canberra many inspections are Pre-Purchase inspections.  

Basically, a builder, as a third party, can inspect anything you wish him to inspect. Different states have different laws. ACT is different to NSW. Queensland is different. We service ACT and over-the-border NSW.

Model house on drawings for Canberra building inspections.

In ACT it is legislated for the vendor to complete a full inspection package and offer it to each prospective purchaser.  These inspections are:

  1. Building Inspection
  2. Termite and Timber Pest Inspection 
  3. Energy Rating
  4. Compliance Report
  5. The Conveyancing File

There are some spins and variances and leans on the original legislation on when to pay for the inspection. We do not get involved in any of them. They include paying the inspector paid after the sale, paying after three months or sale, paying after advertising stops, paying after 6 months or after the sale, and so on. They are all just minor scams on the original legislation. We just go by that legislation.
Here is a warning to potential sellers. Do not engage any real estate agent who wants to twist existing legislation to get your house sale. A twisted mind can give you a twisted job. So, what else are they changing? And if you look at any inspector’s website, check, do they hide their prices? If so: What else do they hide when they do the job? Potential buyers beware.
The system we use is the original legislated system. We do the job fast, we then issue the reports along with the invoice fast. You then pay for the reports, and we then issue you a receipt. Only then are you free to use the reports as needed.
We encourage home buyers to put pressure on the market to erase irregular inspection industry practices. And for those who do not like that advice we will remind you this wise: If you encourage scamming, you will become the victim of it. That is how the universe works.
In New South Wales the vendor does not have the same system.  The prospective buyers needs to arrange theirs within the NSW system.

Existing Home Inspections

The vendor package in ACT comprises the Building Inspection, the Timber Pest Inspection, the Energy Efficiency Rating assessment, and a Compliance Report, presented along with the current plans approved from Access Canberra.
Homes can be old homes, with heritage qualities to them. They can be quite unique and a joy to inspect.
It can be a new home, a home built twenty years ago or a country heritage home. They will all have their unique problems, some which may or may not impact on the buyer after they sale. During their time they may have been added to and changed.
Generally, older homes are more difficult to inspect and buyers of older homes are more forgiving.

Older Homes and Renovations

But when an older home has been renovated it sometimes needs a third party to inspect it. Sometimes the builders are not registered builders and they cut corners. This happens.
Renovating old homes is not easy and a builder can get into cost troubles very quickly, and so can his trades people.


In the ACT, houses must be inspected by law when put up for sale. We charge $1,447 plus GST of 10% for the usual average full package of inspections for this. GST is always 10% in these pages.
That is the building inspection, the termite and timber pest inspection, the energy rating, the compliance report and the conveyancing file of plans purchased from from Access Canberra.
But if you are just wanting to inspect an existing house that someone else previously inspected, we also do that. It costs $597 plus GST. This can give a buyer peace of mind.
If you have a suspicion that the previous inspector missed some part, then it is important you get it re-inspected. We also suggest that if you are going to bid on a house at auction, you do this. And if you have an idea that the previous owner covered something up, you also need to get the house re-inspected.
This is part of your due diligence as a buyer. We have reports from past clients who have done this and they are extremely happy.

An Example

As an example, we had the report from a big inspection company. It had several things listed in it. I was asked to reinspect, after the client bought it at auction. I came up with dozens of things, as now the house was vacant.
One of those was that the wash trough was not even attached to the wall.
Doors were not fixed, power points were not fixed. These and other covered up items had been obscured from vision.
There was even an undischarged bullet left upright in the overhead kitchen cupboard for the new buyer.
This inspection is up to the new purchasers, if they want it. In this case it is the buyer who engages the inspector.
But note that Class A apartments just need energy ratings performed by the owner. It is always up to the buyer to engage the inspector for these if wanted.
There are many types of other Building Inspections, and below is what happens when you build a new home. You may need us, you may not.

New Home Staged Building Inspections

Not everyone wants a new home inspection. Most builders are very ethical. They really are. So are tradesmen. But sometimes the builds organizationally just start to fall apart. The relationship seems to not work, and the builder gets too many jobs.
His subcontractors also seem unable to get to the project on time. We have seen this when times are very busy. When this happens, you need an inspector.
The builder also sometimes does not have enough resources to check all his work. To a degree he relies on the client or the inspector.

Staged Inspections

There could be over a dozen Staged Inspections. See this other page here for more exacting details.

The Stages

Also see more about building stages below. The five emboldened are our recommended inspections.

  1. Your Building Contract
  2. Slab Inspection
  3. Frame Inspection
  4. Facade Inspection
  5. Roof Inspection
  6. Lock Up Inspection
  7. Pre Lining Inspection
  8. Fixing Inspection
  9. Fit Off Inspection
  10. Painting Inspection
  11. Practical Completion Inspection
  12. Ninety Day Defect Liability Inspection

Some of these above stages get lumped in together. So, the more typical number of inspections run out as follows below, or maybe even less.

Footings and Slab

These inspections usually are the staged inspections to match payment. They can be the footings or foundations and slab. But for structural integrity, it is recommended an engineer do an inspection also. As a builder, that is what we normally do.
In inspecting footings and concrete we may insist that the builder supply copies of the dockets stating the strength of the concrete. But please note, an inspection is not supervision. An inspection is a snapshot of what was there at that moment only. So it is good to have an experienced builder.
And on a two story project there are stairs and the upper level to also check. They are not simple to build, but experienced builders do it easily enough.


This is done as the roof frame goes on, or there is plate height. An inspection can be done then. It depends on the size of the building.

Lock Up

Most likely there is an inspection when the building is locked up. This is the roof on, the windows in and the doors locked. But the walls may not be lined. It all depends on your contract. And that can depend on your bank. Usually it is called lock up stage.
The stages are exact, but approximate. For example, the concrete slab for the garage may be later. So, this should all be accurately outlined in your contract.

Fit Out and Fixing

The walls are in, the cabinets are in and the power points and taps are in, but the rooms are not finished.

Practical Completion

Practical completion is the term used to mean that it is effectively finished, and can be lived in, but we all know there is more to fix and complete before handover.
It also means the house is now occupiable. So, this term is important as we have done inspections and found the house could not be occupied. Plus, the builder may not return for months if it is handed over, and the funds transferred.
It might turn out that the water does not work right, doors are jammed, power points do not turn on, and so on. So, you really want to get this inspection done.
There will be a defects liability period after this, while you live in the house, and you make notes of what needs to be fixed after the three or six months.
Please make sure you have a set time and date for that inspection, or you can make one. Note that it is always the client’s responsibility to make that arrangement.

Label showing free things for inspections Canberra Building Inspections

There are more building inspections and they apply to Commercial and Special Inspections.

Commercial Offices, Factory, and Shop Inspections

Commercial buildings, like houses, should be inspected.  A person buying a commercial property may or may not feel comfortable signing off without one.  We need to make sure the structure, plumbing and electrical works are as best an inspector can inspect.
There are professionals that can inspect the fire services and plumbing, if there are questions arising.  Please understand that we do not get on the roof.  If a roofer is needed you can call one in.  If a roof plumber is needed to inspect guttering or flashing more closely, again you can engage one, at the client’s extra expense. The cost for a small Commercial Inspection is $597 plus GST. Larger inspections are charged by the hour.

Home Units

Home Units do not require a mandatory building inspection like houses do in the ACT.  But it is highly recommended that the inspector be called in at the Practical Completion stage.  Never have we found the inspection a waste of time.  But certainly there is more to fix than the cost of the inspection.
Canberra has been going through an apartment boom. And it seems that companies do not have the quality control that they once had.  And as an example, in one complex we found light fittings fixed in each garage five meters from the ground, unreachable.

A Lot of Work

For the above example, we had to get the builder to get the electrician to hang the light the correct way.  And, on another job, we found a bidet not working at all. Plus, we found once a whole garage cracking.  And we often find doors too tight, or under sliding doors to the balcony tiles have been left out, and so on and so on.
So, if you want a new single storey home unit inspected, that you bought off the plan, then the inspection cost is $577 plus GST. And if you want to buy an existing unit, or want to inspect a new average size townhouse or house, then the price is usually $597 plus GST.

Special Inspections

These can be dilapidation reports, reports on property that may be hurt during nearby earthworks.
There may be inspections done for court cases, insurance works, or law firms.
Generally these are $137 plus GST per hour. Click here on this Special Inspection page for more information.

Expert Witness Reports

If you need legal reports please be sure to see the Expert Witness page.
Written by: Nick Broadhurst, building inspector, registered Class A Builder, Bach. Arch. UWA. For more information on Nick: See here
Our Building and Pest Inspector is registered here at Access Canberra. Our number is 111.

Nick Broadhurst building inspector on top of a roof.

This is our building inspector on a tall building roof. He also does commercial building inspections Canberra.