Insurers have tended to shy away from the profession in recent years, but with good practises and a willingness to work together, Inspectors can get quality cover at a better price.
Even though Inspectors always strive for excellence, claims are coming from breaches that can be avoided with good practises and planning.
These include but are not limited to:
- Not Getting A Pre-Inspection Agreement
- Combined Reports
- Not Reporting on Defects Properly
- Identifying Defects Incorrectly
- Not Reporting Properly on Obstructions And Accessibility
- Vendor Reports
- How Far Away from The Dwelling Should be Inspected?
- Roof Pitch
WHY DO I NEED A PRE-INSPECTION AGREEMENT?
This document protects you as it sets out the scope and the limitations of your report. It is also a requirement of some insurers that it is acknowledged and failure to obtain acknowledgement may result in a claim being declined.
The combined reports have had recent mentions in several court documents indicating that a combined property and timber pest report was harder to digest than two individual reports. Generally these reports allowed for very little timber pest inspection information and lacked applicable term and conditions.
Best practise should be the production of separate reports, which provide more detail and are easier to understand (and defend).
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT PROPERTIES IN A POOR STATE OF REPAIR
For properties in poor condition, it may well be the case that the purchaser does not fully accept or understand the current state of disrepair.
It’s really important to ensure that you cover all bases and more importantly yourself. Document the current condition, even though it may appear obvious. Without this, you’d have to argue that a purchaser just should have known. As the professional, it’s up to you to make sure they’re aware.
Claimants are most often successful in their claims when there isn’t a complete defect statement. Though this again seems obvious, it is one of the most usual causes of disputes.
Once you identify a defect you are professionally obliged to disclose it and to offer advice on remedial options the client may have (this does not include estimating costs).
- What is it
- Where is it
- What’s wrong with it
- Timeframe to implement recommendations
If the defects are on a load bearing element it should be considered a major defect or noted as a safety issue if appropriate.
OBSTRUCTIONS AND ACCESSIBILITY
It is important to note if the obstructions are localised or widespread, and, where possible, add photos and comment. While it is important to advise where you could access within the dwelling it is equally important to advise where you couldn’t access.
VENDOR REPORTS FOR REAL-ESTATE AGENTS
We understand that for many of you the relationship with real-estate agents is core part of your business. Conducting a vendor report without the vendors named in the inspection agreement means that you are no longer protected by the third-party clause. This is an area of high exposure for the inspector. Whenever possible, include this information, and explain to the Real Estate Agent how important it is to your business.
If you see cracking in a building (brickwork, driveway, slab or retaining walls), unless you are an engineer you should report accordingly and recommend further investigation. Fine cracking should not be dismissed as a benign hairline crack. Failure to note cracking or advising that it is nothing to worry about has resulted in claims.
Whilst many consider that this is excluded and should be considered compliance or code you do have a duty to report on the pitch if there are conditions conducive. If you find evidence of damp you must consider what the cause may be and if the roof pitch is suspect you need to advise that further investigation is required.
HOW FAR AWAY FROM THE DWELLING SHOULD I INSPECT?
AS4349.1 and AS4349.3 say you must inspect where possible up to 30 metres from the dwelling. It is prudent in NZ to follow the same standard.
The above-mentioned points are for your consideration and are not intended as legal advice. If you have any questions about the adequacy of your reports in relation to the standards you should seek legal advice. As part of our service, we can provided reports that have been Barrister checked and that Underwriters will accept as Insurable reports.
GET A QUOTE FOR BUILDING INSPECTOR INSURANCE HERE