Recent news stories, such as the evacuation of residents from an apartment block in Mordialloc in Melbourne’s south-east, have highlighted what building inspectors have always known: New-build does not mean defect free. A joint report by Deakin and Griffith Universities has since established that things look just as bleak for new buyers in Victoria, with defects found in 74% of buildings. Most alarmingly, the majority of these defects were not a result of aging buildings but, rather, issues that were present since construction.
UDIA-Victoria’s recent September 2019 Residential Development Index Report indicated Melbourne is heading for a dwelling shortfall with building approvals declining by 21% in FY18/19, with apartment approvals declining by 54%. This is in contrast to Melbourne’s increasing population growth. Alongside the increase in apartment owner-occupiers (from 20% to 50%) is their increasing expectations for apartment dwelling, seeking larger apartments and easy access to more services.
The Attraction of buying Off The Plan
If you are in the process of purchasing an off-the-plan apartment it is an exciting time. Off-the-plan apartment purchases can be very attractive, particularly with the price set at the time of contract signing. Off-the-plan offers more opportunity to input into the property’s final design, customising it to suit your taste. You then get to move into your new property with all the specifications you signed up for, without the hassle of overseeing a build. This property should be an investment in your future. However, there is absolutely no guarantee that a new-build apartment will meet the standards you might expect.
Your apartment is not going to be perfect in every way by virtue of being newly constructed. In fact, given the statistics highlighted in the aforementioned report, there is a very good chance there are some defects. While minor defects may be more of a disappointment than a deal breaker, major construction defects can become costly.
The Importance of Building Inspection Reports
It is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t need a building inspection when investing in a new-build apartment. After all, the project was surely completed by a reputable contractor. That sort of thinking could leave you out of pocket or locked in a dispute with a property developer that may take years to resolve. If you don’t want to get burned when purchasing a new-build apartment, you should seriously consider having a building inspection carried out before the handover of the apartment.
If building work is shoddy or the contractor didn’t complete the job, you may face a scenario where structural defects drive you out of your property. The act of causing defects does not need to be intentional on the part of the builders or property developer, either. There is often a rush to finish these projects on time which can result in oversights. When all these errors begin piling up, it can lead to the types of scenarios that are being reported all over Australia. While property developers rush to reassure potential buyers that all is well, it is still you who is left dealing with the mess if you don’t take necessary precautions.
You owe it to yourself to ensure that your investment is sound when you choose a new-build apartment. This is no different than whether you are purchasing a pre-existing apartment, pre-existing home, or building your own property. A building inspection will provide you with additional assurances that construction is up to scratch and meets all relevant building codes in Victoria. Do not allow any property developer or estate agent to tell you that you do not need a building inspection for a new-build apartment.
When you are buying a new-build apartment in Victoria, hiring a neutral third party building inspection expert is important. Your building inspector should have the qualifications, knowledge and experience to identify any potential defects which could impact on your property or you as the owner. Remember – you may want to sell your apartment one day. Securing a buyer for a property that is suffering from significant structural problems will prove all but impossible.
At Houspect Victoria, all our building inspectors are qualified builders, registered as DBU and/or INL with the Victorian Building Authority. We do not cut corners when creating a report on the condition of your new-build apartment. Call today to learn more.