The NZ Standard for Inspections
Bruce Symon, Realsure Director
Realsure Helps Set The Standard
There is a standard for property inspections, however, compliance is not mandatory. A BOINZ Accredited Building Surveyor is accredited to the Standard, through an accreditation process. All Realsure property inspectors have Accredited by Building Surveyors.
Events in the building industry relating to weather tightness (Leaky building) and house inspections are often hot topics on television, in the papers and magazines, and high light the need to introduce consistency and reliability into Inspections of residential properties, among other matters.
New Zealand Property Inspection Standards were established primarily to meet the needs of the Pre-purchase and Pre-sale Inspection Industry in New Zealand. Realsure Ltd was approached in June 2003 by Standards New Zealand, to discuss the establishment of New Zealand Property Inspection Standards. At the time, Realsure Ltd was complying with an Australian Inspection Standard, being the only recognisable standard for the Industry. As a result of this request, the co-founder of Realsure Ltd, Bruce Symon and other industry officials were asked to sit on the Expert Committee to develop the Property Inspection Standards for the New Zealand Building Inspection Industry.
The standards were completed, and from the end of February 2005 are to be used to form the basis of any Pre-purchase and Pre-sale inspection.
The Standards were designed to introduce “consistency and reliability into the inspection of residential properties” In layman’s terms it sets out the minimum standard of competency, inspection and reporting levels required to provide a basic level of protection for the consumer.
The primary purpose is to identify significant defects or maintenance, gradual deterioration, or particular attributes that are visible at the time of the inspection.
A significant defect is defined as a matter which requires substantial repairs or urgent attention and rectification, in other words, things that might cost you tens of thousands, or requires urgent repairs.
Examples of these might be that given the age of the property the original hardwood piles are due for replacement, so recommend consideration be given to re-piling or the condition and age of the roof are such that we will recommend obtaining quotes for repair and replacement so you can choose what suits you best.
The sale and/or purchase of residential property is an important decision and should be contemplated only in the knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the property. In order for these decisions to be regarded as informed, completely independent and objective advice is often required.”
“It is intended that the Standard will also deliver the following public good:
a. Give credibility to the Property Inspection sector by:
“i” Setting levels of competence,
“ii” Maintaining nationwide consistency;
- Benefit all parties with an interest in the property; and
- Identify deferred maintenance issues, as well as other defects.”
Extracts from NZS 4306:2005.
The inspection is a visual, non-invasive inspection of what is in clear line of sight of the inspector, and reasonable access is determined. This means that furnishings or stored items will not generally be moved and limitations of access such as minimum ground clearances for foundations, or height restrictions for roof access are all outlined.
The standard sets out what the inspector is required to look at, and what he must look for when viewing those areas. However, there is a flexibility that reporting can be on an exception or information basis, which means that reporting levels can vary dramatically – and they do.
Some Inspector’s and Inspection Companies may not be able to meet the competency, reporting levels, and other requirements of the standard – Realsure guarantee to meet the requirements of the standard.
If you choose to use an Inspector who is not compliant with the NZ Standards – you are risking your home as an investment, and potentially a safe and healthy place to live.
In a broad overview:
- That the inspector has relevant technical qualification and experience – to the building industry. It is our opinion that a relevant technical qualification is a person who at the minimum has completed their apprenticeship, or perhaps ideally has a trade or advanced trade, or National Certificate in Carpentry. Recognition is also given to a member of a professional or trade organisation, such as a qualified Structural Engineer, Draughtsperson or Architect, or Building Surveyor, with practical experience in the industry.
- They must have professional indemnity insurance, among the other usual business insurances. This is the insurance that may protect you if they were found to be negligent or clearly incompetent.
- You must be provided with, read and accept the companies Terms and Conditions and receive a Letter of Engagement confirming the agreement, prior to the inspection be carried out. However, this helps to ensure all parties have a clear understanding of the scope and limitations of an inspection and therefore reasonable expectations.
- You must be provided with a written report plus a 2-page self-certification NZS Certificate. This certificate indicates what the inspector covered, on page one, and those areas applicable to the property on page two, and is signed by the Inspector stating that they have a) worked to the standards and b) are competent to do so. There required qualification or organisation must be stated on this.
- And, they must consider Weather tightness if applicable. At Realsure, we provide you with a Weather tightness summary identifying any known risk details pertinent to the property being inspected. Some simple clues to determine whether the Inspection Company you’re working with is working to the Standards:
a: You will be required to sign an agreement stating the Standard compliance among other matters before an inspection can be carried out.
b: You will receive written verification of engagement of the booking stating important terms and matters.
c: The Inspection will be carried out by an Inspector with a relevant technical qualification – ask about it.
d: The Inspection Company will be fully insured, including Professional Indemnity.
e: You will receive a written report.
f: You will receive a Certificate of Inspection with your report.
Realsure Ltd was the only Practitioner specialising in Pre Purchase or Pre Sale, Property Inspections on the Expert Committee for the development of the New Zealand Property Inspection Standards – think about it – why would you go elsewhere?