Building a home is a huge undertaking, from the planning stage right through to completion. Unless you are building your home yourself, most of the work will be carried out by builders. Once the work is complete, you will naturally want to check for any defects. However, other than superficial defects, there is no way you’re likely to possess the required qualifications or experience to identify defects and report whether the build is up to standard. Handover inspections allow you to have your home or unit checked thoroughly by an independent inspector before you sign off with the contractor. As a home owner, it is important to have a handover inspection completed on all new homes or unit builds.
A handover inspection is conducted before you sign the final papers with your contractor. Having an inspection carried out before you take ownership is extremely important. If you wait until after you have released the contractor, you are leaving yourself at risk of post-build costs to rectify defects. A contractor may argue that they are not responsible for any defects found after-the-fact, which could result in a long, drawn-out dispute process (or a possible VCAT hearing) with the construction company, and you may foot the bill in the end.
As a handover inspection is carried out when the contractor’s construction work is fulfilled, you are then entitled to have any defects rectified. Furthermore, the contractor cannot prevent you from having a handover inspection carried out, so long as it is in done within the conditions of your contract. An experienced Building Inspector will co-ordinate scheduling of any inspections, so building works are not interrupted.
Handover inspections can include checking foundations, exterior and interior walls, roofing, cladding, ceilings, fixtures and fittings, etc., to ensure the work meets any relevant standards and is being carried out to your specifications. When you have a handover inspection carried out, it is best to employ an inspector who is also a registered builder. Doing so will ensure that the inspector has extensive knowledge of exterior and interior structures, and has the capability to easily identify any defects or work that does not comply with industry standards.
The scope of the inspection is based on three criteria; the property been built both to plan and to specifications; it meets Australian Standards and Tolerances; and the workmanship is satisfactory. A thorough independent inspection will allow you to complete your property handover with more confidence. After the contractor is off the job, it is often difficult to have any defects rectified. If you have not yet hired a contractor, it is also a good idea to ask about warranties and other guarantees they provide for their work. That includes provisions for allowing an independent handover inspection as part of your contract.
After the property handover inspection is complete, you will receive a report detailing any defects and work that does not comply with regulations. However, the contractor may not like having the quality of their building work challenged. That leaves you in a position where you have a list of defects, with a contractor possibly disputing some of the findings. In such cases you are entitled to make a complaint with the Victorian Building Authority or via VCAT. If the contractor knows that the defects are legitimate, the suggestion of making a complaint may be enough to change their minds.
Once all defects have been rectified, you can confidently take ownership of your new property. You will have the peace of mind of knowing that your home is not going to fall down around you, and you can start concentrating on furnishing your new home and enjoying your property. Houspect employ Building Inspectors who all have a working history as qualified builders. We can carry out your handover inspection and ensure that you are getting the home you paid for and feel confident that it meets Australian Standards.