by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B
Home buyers must always ensure, when contracting subject to satisfactory building inspection reports, that adequate time has been provided for this in their contracts.
In my experience, the ideal time is 30 days from the contract date. This allows for the inspector to make his inspection, prepare his report, deliver the report to you, and for you to consider it. 30 days also allows time for any supplementary inspections which may be needed from other professionals, and for you to find out the likely costs of rectifying any matters of concern raised in the report. Finally more time is needed than the agents’ usual period of 14 days because buyers who have received a less than satisfactory report may wish to renegotiate the contract price with the sellers.
The most important thing a buyer should do when selecting a building inspector (and definitely not one recommended by the seller’s agent) is to ask for a sample copy of the inspector’s standard report. You may be horrified to find that the sample report contains more pages detailing what the inspection does not cover (and what issues are excluded) than any actual reporting on the property inspected. Below are parts of the exclusions and disclaimers from a building inspection report which a client of mine recently received. Nevertheless the inspector described the property as “structually sound”. Be afraid, very afraid.